Monday, February 18, 2008

How do you study your Bible?

One question I get a lot is how do I study my Bible?

For a long time I didn't really - I just read Chrisitan books that had portions of scripture already digested and explained for me. Now, don't think that I'm knocking the value of Christian books ... they have been invaluable to my walk with Christ! And they continue to be. However, I also needed to get into the Bible myself and allow God to meet me and teach me there. It felt hard to get started though.

Then one of my mentors told me a very a freeing thing. She said, "Don't worry about the where or the how, just open your Bible every day and read something." "Ask God to make that time beneficial, and trust that He will do so even if you don't feel like its very effective at the moment." I started doing that - and many days I sensed that I had experienced something of God in those moments of time. Other days, well, not so much, but I didn't let that deter me.

Soon I began using pre-packaged Bible studies. I've enjoyed some by Beth Moore like Jesus the One and Only, and also Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God. I attended BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) a couple of years, and CBS (Community Bible Study) one year. These were more instensive than I was used to, but the great thing was childcare was provided which made it possible for me to go. I know how hard it is to make time for Bible study when you have little ones at home. These studies all helped me to see the value of moving beyond my just-open-and-read approach, although I still do some of that.

In more recent years I became a little more intentional about digging into the Bible myself without a book or prepackaged study to guide me. I guess I was looking for a more organic experince. I've been exploring different methods for this, and found many of them valuble. Some help me to memorize a verse easily. Others help me to follow a theme over the course of time. Others still, help me to understand the full context of a particular verse or teaching. If you search my blog for the tag "time with God" you'll find a couple posts about it. Let me know if you'd like to hear more ideas from me on this topic.

The better I undersand God's word and thinking - really encounter and understand it for myself - the easier I find it to apply and obey. If you read my devotion at P31 today, you'll realize my daughter and I are actually a lot alike!!

I'd love to hear what works for you. What tips, tools, or resources can you offer for studying the Bible on our own? What's your Bible study journey been like - where are you on the road?


  1. Hey Rachel!
    I loved your devotional today on P31--really great!
    The story with your daughter was really good.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings & Hugs~

  2. Studying the Bible is an area I struggle with. . .it's easier to just read a book that tells me what scripture says. I would love to read more on your blog about how you have learned to study God's word directly. Thanks for sharing your insight today.


  3. I enjoy digging in my Bible commentary as well as my Hebrew Greek word study Bible. A fun thing I got for Christmas that I thoroughly am enjoying is my Archaeological Study Bible. It is fun to pull in these additional resources to have a better understanding of the time period.

  4. Hi Rachael
    I need your help how do you deal with your child telling you he is attracted to both boys and girls and that he was force to be with another boy is there hope for him

  5. Dear Anonymous,

    My heart goes out to you and your son. Not knowing any details, I cannot advise you. But I strongly encourage you to call Focus on the Family's counseling department at 719-531-3400 ext. 7700 for guidance. Call TODAY.

    Also, Dr. Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys may be of help, and your local library probably carries it or can get it for you.

    There is hope! I pray for God's hand to rest upon you and your son, to guide you, and to give you both wisdom of His loving plans for your life and family. In Jesus' Name.

    Sincerely ~ Rachel

  6. Hi Rachel,
    I would love to hear more from you on this topic.
    Also, how do you study and decide what your messages are about for your speaking engagements?

  7. Hi Rachel,

    My journal with God has taken many forms including what you've listed. So, I've decided to take a different journey since 2003. I started with Genesis, committed to read just one chapter a day until I reached Revelation. I'm at Isaiah right now. I read the whole chapter. I write one verse of that chapter that really speak to me that day. Then, I do the cross reference-need study Bible to do this. I write all those verses down. Some verses takes me weeks to do them, but I'm getting all of the same subject/ideal talk from God. Sometimes, one verse turns me to a total different subject or theme. It is awesome. I've learned so much. Sometimes I find a Bible verse that speaks out to a person's situation and I hand it out to that person. Weeks, months and years go by, they come back and thank me, and I have no clue which verse I sent to them, but God uses me as a tool for it. It is great when someone comes back and say, "I want you to know how much your comment (or the verse) you gave me has helped me." Then they go on to tell me their story. It is wonderful. That's all I need to keep me going with the Lord.

    Anyways, thanks for your tips.

  8. I just found your site from a friend's email.
    i really enjoyed it!
    Right now I am doing the Bible in A Year reading. It has been a bit tough at times but at least every other day (if not every day) I find some verse or verses that relate to something I am dealing with right now.
    Thanks for the site!

  9. Hello Rachel,

    I rec the encouragement for today everyday and found your encouragement to be duly needed as I too deal with issues of being obiedient to god's will for my life and most of all finding the time to spend with dog and delving into the bible. I appreciated your honesty and found myself realizing that I am not the only woman faced with finding time for god and how. You have truly inspired me to do just what you said MAKE the TIME! Thank you, God Bless and continue to use your gift of encouragement as a reflection of God's Grace in your life for other women such as myself.


  10. hey Rachel. I love your posts and devotion. I was wondering if you could discuss more about speaking blessings over your family. you mentioned it awhile back and I am curious of the way you go about doing that. thanks.

  11. Rachel,

    I'm up unable to sleep so I'm getting caught up on all I missed today while at the hospital. I loved your devotion and your blog post. For so long I made studying the Bible harder or more complicated than it should've been. I thought there was some magical way or 'right' way to do it. I'm glad you mentioned the changes you've made over the years and the variety of ways God has directed you to get into His Word.

    I love ya girl!

  12. Thanks for your tips today, Rachel. I, too, struggle with "how" to get into God's Word. That is something that is really missing in my life and I think about how I need to change it, but I'm intimidated about how to get started. Your blog helped me realize that it doesn't have to be something structured...just read His Word. I'm going to make it a point to spend time each day just reading His Word and then maybe I'll begin one of the Bible Studies on my own. I feel like I always get more when I have some guidance from someone else, but with working and being a "mommy", I just can't seem to get to a Bible Study. Thanks for your encouragement. I look forward to more tips from you and from your fellow bloggers! Blessings!

  13. Hi Rachel..I used to think it was just so hard to open the Bible and do just that.. But as we grow spirtually, we see the importance of it and we begin to understand it more. To me, its like a must. I don't get to it everyday for some reason or another, but I try. Being in a small group Bible study is wonderful to. Right now I am doing Beth Moore's Stepping Up..and if anyone is going to get you reading all through that Bible, its going to be Beth Moore! I also like to have different translations. I keep my NIV close in case there is something in my NKJV that I don't thoroughly understand. My friend uses a commentary and I do not have one, but its on my list. Thanks for your devotions!

  14. Thanks for sharing in your blog about studing the Word. I find it very hard to just open it up and get into it. Something I really need to work on. I've always found it easier to open up a book- in which there are so many good books out there and read the book and in each chapter there's always a plce where they refer to the word and have you read a chapter or two. I find it easier to understand it that way. I wish I were able to just open the Bible up and read it, absorb it, and understand it, and then live it. Thanks for sharing. God Bless!!

  15. Rachel,

    This is a great post. You are so right in that there are many, many ways to study our Bibles. I am like you and so many others. I have done studies, read topical books, gone to in-depth groups like BSF and CBS. My favorite thing to do now is choose a topic that I am struggling with or want to grow in and look it up on and then read all the verses on that topic. Other times I'll choose a person in the Bible and study their life.

    Can't wait to read what you have to share next :>

    Love you!

  16. Rachel-I read a chapter a day from a particular book in the Bible. I have a bible multi-colored pencil that I use to highlight parts of scripture. For example, verses describing God are highlighted in purple, scripture on grace in orange, scripture on God's commands or instruction in red, etc. I am currently in Isaiah. I also read daily from Praying God's Word Day-By-Day by Beth Moore, and Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Blackaby. I also journal daily-in the format of a prayer to
    God, usually praying back the scripture I read. I also am working on scripture memorization following a study from Donna Partow's 90 Day Journey to Renewing Sprit, Soul, & Body: Becoming the Women I want to Be. I pray each morning with my husband before we go to work and I drive in silence, talking and listening to God. I know it sounds busy but it's not. I spend 30 minutes to an hour each morning with God (not including the drive time) and it's never enough!
    In His Graces~Pamela


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