Thursday, April 21, 2016

Upping My Bible Study Game

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I grew up as a Pastor's kid. In high school I was president of the Christian Club, worked as a Bible camp counselor, and went on mission trips. After graduation, I attended a whopping four years of Bible college earning a Bachelors in Bible. My life has been, in many ways, saturated by the Scriptures.

And yet.

I can't say that serious Bible study is a part of my current, every day life. I read through the Bible every year, oh yes I do. Most days find me with my Bible cracked open for at least a quick read. Making printable monthly Bible reading plans has meant a lot of time spent with my concordance. And reading through Tim Challies' 2016 Reading Challenge has meant I'm picking up Bible book commentaries and other theological works.


Bible study can be confusing. If I read a commentary alongside my daily Scripture reading, does that count as personal study? Or if I work through a study book with the women's group at my church? So many tools and resources... and the idea of studying the Bible can become overwhelming. Where does one even begin?

Recently a bookish pal loaned me her copy of Jen Wilkin's Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and Minds. It was excellent- well written, completely relate able, absolutely doable.

Jen begins with a look at some of the bad habits Christians tend to have when it comes to reading their Bibles. She gently corrects them, then points us to a better way. Her plan for studying the Scriptures with the 5 "P's" {Purpose. Perspective. Patience. Process. Prayer.} certainly isn't easy; but it is doable.

I love how Jen openly acknowledges the difficulty we as women will have with making time for serious Bible study in different seasons of our lives. Raising small children, caring for elderly parents, bouts of illness, etc, can make it tough to be a diligent student of Scripture. But by God's grace, she challenges us to be faithful with the little moments we do have. She also equips us with a solid set of steps to follow. No wondering where to begin or what to do next!

If, like me, you struggle to know how to study the Bible for yourself... if you rely too heavily on the interpretations of other Bible readers... if you breeze through difficult passages and just hope to figure it out some day and "trust the Lord" in the meantime... I think you'll find this book to be a true blessing.


How many times have I looked to a commentary or listened to a sermon to understand an incomprehensible passage? I listen and think "oh! That makes sense!", but one week later still couldn't explain it satisfactorily, let alone remember the offered explanation. Truly studying Scripture out for myself is the only way to properly digest it and come to a place of better understanding.

With a large book and an infinite, incredible God to ponder, I'll never have the entire Bible mastered. But this invitation to swim out into the deeps has challenged me to make a beginning and just jump in.

Here's to many beautiful endeavors at knowing and loving God more through the study of His Word.

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