How do you study the word of God? In today’s post Steph offers several tips on how to dig deeply into God’s word.
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How To Study The Word Of God
Today’s devotional, if you can call it that, is going to be a little different. I’ve often encouraged you to “dig deeply into God’s Word.” But just what is that? What does it look like practically speaking?
There are a number of tools available and I’d like to talk about some of those.
I know you’re all far too polite to say, “Well, d’uh!” And I thank you for that. If at all possible, I would encourage you to get hold of a physical copy of the Bible. As you know, I use the English Standard Version. There are several other versions available as well, but I would encourage you to choose a reliable translation rather than a paraphrase as your go-to copy. I have several electronic versions of the Scriptures as well, but it’s just not the same.
Highlighters in Various Colours
Some of you may resist the notion of marking up your copy of God’s Word, but I find it’s a wonderful way to interact with the text. And if you use different colours for different topics, you can see at a glance the main subjects on each page. Recently, when studying prayer in the New Testament, I found myself underlining the entire 17th chapter of John, referred to as Jesus’s high priestly prayer.
I know there are Bible apps, such as biblegateway.com, that offer a multi-colour highlighting option, but there is something different about the tactile sensation and the connection to our brain about highlighting in a physical copy of the Word. (There’s brain science behind it, but 1) I’m not educated enough to dive into it, and 2) this isn’t really the place to do so.)
A High-Quality Pen
When writing in your Bible, it’s important to use a pen that won’t bleed through the paper. (If you are reluctant to do so, you can purchase a journaling Bible that has a specific place on pretty much every page to make notes. You may also have noticed that Bible journaling has become quite the phenomenon. Some people express their creativity right on the page. Some Bibles come with verses in decorative fonts and pictures to be coloured. As much as I’d love one such edition, I know I wouldn’t find it helpful, but many people do.) For simply writing in your copy of God’s Word, I recommend pens that have acid-free, archival ink. You may find that an ultrafine Sharpie will suit your purposes quite nicely, but test it in an inconspicuous place before committing.
A place to record your thoughts, whether a physical notebook or an online alternative, is helpful. As we record our insights, it will help us remember what we’re learning. I have both physical journals (and lots of them) and countless Word documents. Some people go back over what they’ve written. And some of us don’t. However, I still believe there is value even in making notes at the time. I would also recommend taking notes while you’re listening to the pastor’s message or a message online. Most of us will remember what we’ve been taught far longer if we write it down.
Maybe you’ve heard this term referred to as the time set aside to read God’s Word and pray, but it has become so familiar you don’t even give it a second thought. Quiet time refers as much, if not more, to the state of our mind rather than the state of our surroundings. It’s wonderful if you can get away from life’s distractions and solely focus on the Lord. However, for some people, that’s almost impossible. It has been said that centuries ago, Susannah Wesley would pull up the outer layer of her dress over her head to create an impromptu prayer closet in the midst of her plethora of children. Quieting our minds, even for a short while, is something we ought to practice regularly so we can focus on God and His Word.
Bible Studies and Reference Books
Although I have plenty of both, I left mentioning them until now because all we really need is a copy of God’s Word and a willingness to learn what it says and how it applies to our life. There are a mind-boggling number of resources available. Logos software, for instance, has a vast library of classic and contemporary study books as well as many other tools. Personally, I would find it overwhelming. Our pastor, however, uses it for research and sermon preparation. And my husband is enjoying the free version. I encourage you to consider the Bible study and reference materials that will truly help you mine God’s Word for the treasure that is there. However, if you find yourself reading these materials more than you do the Scriptures, you may want to re-evaluate.
A Company of Fellow Treasure Hunters
As I’ve often said, we’re not meant to go it on our own. It’s important to belong to a community of believers, your fellow treasure hunters. God doesn’t give us insight and understanding to hoard. He wants us to share with others. Plus, He stresses the importance of humility. No matter how educated and diligent, I don’t believe any one individual or group of individuals has unearthed all the treasure to be found. We need one another.
Thank you for being part of the HopeStreamRadio community. And thank you for listening. Together, let’s hunt for treasure, the kind we can store up in heaven.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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