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?