Monday, March 24, 2014

Words on Words: How I bible study.

I'm not an expert in studying the bible. But, I can say, over the years I've realized certain tricks make me better at approaching His word. These aren't foolproof and aren't exhaustive, but they've helped me. 
Obvious, it seems. But without note taking, my focus is shit. So, I take them always -in church, at work, during bible study. They're valuable in tracking my thought process and allow for me to come back later and see what it is I was working through at any given time. It's interesting to see the way God works even if just through my random notes throughout the course of my reading. 

My bible study notes also hold amazing blog fodder for times when I'm feeling really uninspired. Going through and inspecting my thought process, sometimes disagreeing with it or editing it, others being reminded of my deep-seated beliefs, is refreshing to a mind bogged down by same old, same old. 
I do my bible study at night before bed 5 days a week. One night (usually Fridays if we're being transparent here) I miss it altogether. That means Saturday I'm up early making up for it with a morning study. Oh how I love those morning studies with a cup of coffee in hand. They look like time on the couch with cozy blankets, sometimes I cuddly dog, and a journal with my notes. Sometimes I play worship or classical music to change up the ambiance depending on my mood. 

Now that we have an awesome patio table (happy birthday to me, love Mr. T) I find myself gravitating out there in the afternoons. Sitting under the warm spring sun it's hard not to feel Him near. Plus, I'm getting some much-needed Vitamin D. 
Back to the notes: I try to find tweet-worthy nuggets. Not because they all belong on Twitter, but it's a way that my brain thinks with all the social media overload I'm subject to daily. Instead of fighting that mental tide, I'm using it. I take the passage that I'm reading and attempt to break it down into smaller, applicable blocks. Sometimes it goes well, others it's a fail. But the exercise is a good mental challenge. 

This is often where my God posts (i.e. Doubt&Devotion) start. I'll find a snippet and hold onto it in my heart throughout the next couple days, then suddenly that truth shows up over and over again. Boom: blog post. 
Not every supplement or devotional is right for every person. I've met a few that are too cliche Christian language for me. However, I truly happen to love Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon. It has two devotions per day (thick theology, but amazing points) and, if you're more the smart phone type, they've got an app as well as daily emails you can receive. I also love the Naptime Diaries 40-Day Journal (that I'm using for Lent, but is date free so you can use it whenever). Jesus Calling is helpful and encouraging too. 
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How do you do it? This bible study thing.
What are your favorite ways to focus in on Him and His words?

19 comments:

  1. Brittany RasmussenMarch 24, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    PERFECTION. Love this. Its been a hot minute since I picked up my bible if we're being real honest here, so I needed a reminder of the goodness of spending time in His word.

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  2. Ugh.. can we be honest? Whenever I pick up the Bible and read I feel amazing. But I struggle finding the time, which we both know is bullshit, because we both know i have plenty of time. My goal this week is to do 3 days. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. I so needed this. I have been doing really well 5 days a week and then the weekend comes and it just goes out the door. I am so thankful for you and all the wisdom you share with your bible studies.

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  4. Yes, I love this. These are such great tips. I must admit that I am hot and cold about my bible study. I always seem to have excuses or put it off. Which is stupid. I always feel so much better when I am connecting with His word on a daily basis. I need to focus and commit to bringing it back into my daily life with consistency.

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  5. Studying His word in the warm, bright southern sunshine is just divine!! Thanks for sharing your routine! Ps. your handwriting is adorb!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your tips. I like to take notes too. I have the ESV journaling bible so I take notes right in the margins and then right out any really detailed thoughts in my journal. I also supplement my reading with Praying Through the Bible which I really like. Thank you for sharing Morning and Evening - I had never seen it before, and I will totally have to check into it!

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  7. Great tips. I am trying to get back into the swing of doing my daily devotionals. It's amazing how great you feel after you do it. xo, Sarah @movingeastonwest

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  8. I always love reading about how other people read their Bible and pray. I have a system that works for me but the cool thing about God is that he knows us each as individuals and so we are able to use the individuality to form a relationship with him that is just us! Great post! :)

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  9. Girl, how is it SUCH an easy habit to fall out of but getting back in the swing of things can be so challenging? It's like running I suppose! :)


    Let's hold each other accountable?

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  10. Girl. YES. I feel the EXACT same way. I get in the groove of making quiet time a priority. Then I fall out of it by making every excuse in the book. I do try and set up little rewards for myself: like a new journal, or highlighter, or pen set... Right now I'm looking for a new bible with bigger margins (hi notes) but haven't found one I love... :)

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  11. The weekend is SO HARD. Friday nights are almost hopeless... Which has had me trying to fit in it in the mornings but I just haven't been disciplined about that. I'm hoping that with the summer coming I can start reading outside on Friday mornings... Sunshine never hurt a girl! :)

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  12. Tabitha, I'm SO hot and then SO cold. It seems there's never an in between. I realize that it's natural and comfortable for me to fit it in before bed and I used to feel guilty when other people would rise early to do so... But that's what works for me and God made me an evening girl so I shall stick with it! :)

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  13. Isn't the sun THE BEST? We spent four hours on our patio under the sun last weekend and it made me SUCH a happy girl. :)


    And, my handwriting. Thank you! That's SUCH a compliment. SUCH a compliment.

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  14. Ok wait. Which ESV do you have? I just ordered one but the font is MINIATURE and there's NO WAY I'm going to be able to read it... It'll be a return (thanks Amazon Prime) and I've ordered another in it's place but I'm so frustrated by the whole thing! :) And this Praying Through the Bible is a MUST LOOK on my list now too. Thank you so much for sharing what works for you.

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  15. Getting back in the swing can be SUCH a task girl. I hate doing it but it's always worth the struggle! :)

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  16. Yes, God does make us all different. I struggled for a long time with the fact that I don't read the bible first thing in the morning because in my head that's what all the best Christian girls do. But for me, the evening, at night is better, is more comfortable, is natural. And so, that's when I do it! :)

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  17. This is the link to the one I have (except mine is brown leather): http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Bible-Standard-Journaling-Original/dp/158134838X/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395959086&sr=1-15

    Here's the link to the Pray Through the Bible book: http://www.amazon.com/One-Year-Praying-through-Bible-ebook/dp/B000S1LYZ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395959197&sr=1-1&keywords=pray+through+the+bible+one+year+bible

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  18. Feeling like I'm failing at Bible Study because I don't get up at 5 a.m. is still something I struggle with! I usually take time in the evening to journal and read some scripture before bed. But sometimes if the mood strikes me I'll do it in the afternoon because that's what works for me. I get so much more out of it when I read/write when I'm in the mood vs when I force myself to make it happen just because all the "best" Christians spend time with God before the sun is up!

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  19. I'm finally getting into a habit right now on bible study. It feels good. We just now need to find a church family to belong to.

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