In September, A Beautiful Blog is putting you through Boot Camp – Bible Boot Camp, that is. We’ll be featuring stories on how to get your faith in shape so you can get more out of your time with God and strengthen your spiritual muscles.
by Paige Eavenson
I’ve spent most of my life as a regular attendee of some sort of Sunday School or Bible study. While I’ve yet to become a Bible scholar or get a doctorate in Theology, I have learned that if you want to see true change in your life, investing time in studying your Bible is a must.
You might be thinking, but why even study the Bible? What’s in it for me? Everything! You just name your problem and chances are God has an answer for it in the scriptures. Once you discover the life changing power of God’s word you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.
Hebrews 4:12 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) says,
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow thoughts and purposes of the heart.”
In a nutshell, the Bible is alive and ready to help you with your everyday trials and tribulations. What it has to say is still applicable to your life today, and if you’ll take the time to study it and apply it to your life, you’ll see changes that only God could have made.
So where should you start?
1. Pick a Bible – There are many different Bibles to choose from these day. I personally have used the NIV New international Version, NKJV New King James Version, Life Application Bible, Amplified Bible and The Message. Each Bible contains the same scriptures, just different translations. You can also get what’s called a parallel Bible and it has several translations all in one Bible. Pick a verse and read it in each translation and see which one speaks to you the most.
2. Pick a topic to study – I like to pick a topic that I am currently struggling with. As a wife and mother of young children, I’m often dealing with emotions ranging from joy to anger all in one day. If I’m particularly struggling with anger I’ll turn to the concordance in the back of the Bible, look up the word anger and it will lead me to specific scriptures on anger. I’ll then highlight them or write them on an index card to memorize and keep with me when I’m on the go.
3. Purposefully set aside time to study – I personally schedule time and a reminder notice in my calendar to study and “Meet with Jesus” as I call it. Early morning before everyone awakes is best for me, however when that doesn’t work out I just try to snag any time I can get with Jesus throughout the day. Whatever you can do is better than nothing. In time you’ll start to reap the rewards of time sewn with God.
4. Gather necessary materials – Grab a new journal, pen, Bible and warm cup of coffee or tea before you sit down to study. You want to have everything you need to get started so you’re not frustrated before you even dive into the Word. When those random thoughts of what else you have to do for the day pop in your head, jot them down in your journal then go back to reading. When a scripture stands out to you, highlight it or make note of it in your journal. This is simple stuff, but it really helps you to stay focused and see where God is speaking to you through the scriptures.
5. Prepare your heart – Take a moment to pray and ask God to speak to your heart through what you study. Listen to some worship music before you start or soft piano music while you read. I can’t imagine anything that pleases God more than you wanting to spend time with Him and learn more about Him. So prepare your heart and mind to hear from the creator of the universe.
Don’t be afraid to bring God your tough questions, your disappointments, and your greatest fears and worries. He knows all your issues already and wants to help you resolve each one of them. Be sure though to not just dump all your stuff on God and leave. Stay with Him long enough for His word to speak truth into your situation and give you new insight or peace for the day.
Studying the Bible is not a sprint, but a marathon. It may seem daunting at first, but if you take it one small step at a time you will finish the race. And when you do, I believe God will say to you as it says in Matthew 25:21 (NIV),
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Recommended Study Tools
Thompson Chain Reference Bible – cross references about different topics throughout the Bible
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – listing of scriptures organized by category/topic
Vine’s Expository Dictionary – Greek and Hebrew definitions
Paige Eavenson and her family have been part of Grace Family Church for 13 years and she currently serves on staff as a women’s small group coach. A homeschool mom of three, Paige is an avid reader who loves collecting new friends and helping people get connected into small groups. You can learn more about Paige on her blog, www.sincerelypaige.com.