I really love to learn more about God in His Word. The Bible is undoubtedly the best book ever! It was written by 40 different authors but is still so cohesive. What a remarkable way to display the consistency of the Lord! Stories of warriors like David and dreamers like Joseph are pretty straightforward and simple to understand. There are, admittedly, a few books that can seem pretty intimidating to read. However, I’d like to encourage you to become an avid reader of the Word of God. There are so many spiritual treasures to discover that can greatly enhance the intimacy of your walk and understanding of Christ. It's very easy to get into the habit of reading devotionals, listening to sermons and getting the Word second-hand so I understand how that can happen. Don't get lazy though. Dust off the Bible on dresser and open it up! As I continue to study the Bible, I’ve picked up a few habits for making studying a little more fun and memorable. I will share a few of mine.
1. The S.O.A.P. Method- I’m not sure where the S.O.A.P method originated. I know it’s a popular bible study method. I first learned about it when I was part of a women’s small group. S.O.A.P. is an acronym, which stands from Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. At the beginning of the study, we would pick one chapter and take turns reading it aloud. We would then take time out to individually observe the verse that stood out the most to us. We would then figure out a way to apply the lesson of the verse or chapter to our lives. Then we would end with prayer. It’s a pretty awesome way to study and apply the Word of God to your life in a very practical way.
2. Color Coding- I write in a gratitude journal with vibrant colored markers. I also use those same markers to highlight the verses that stand out to me along the way while I’m reading. I also keep an ink pen handy to write notes on the pages. Unfortunately, the markers do bleed through the pages a little bit but they don’t make a big mess.
3. Index Cards- My sister put me on to this trick of using index cards and sticking them in the Bible at the place where something stood out to her. She’ll also write the verse on the card and any notes she may have. Even though she said that her cards don’t fall out of her Bible, I prefer to keep them in one place outside of my Bible. I guess I’m a teensy bit OCD. You can punch a hole in the cards and keep them on a ring so they’re easily portable but also in one place together.
4. Early to Rise- As a child, I always remember hearing the quote; “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!” I find that when I wake up really early in the morning to study my Word, my mind is a lot clearer and my heart is more receptive to what God is saying. I also feel like there is such a beautiful intimacy because it feels like God and I are the only two awake and we get to spend private time together.
5. Where do I stand in the text? - One of my pastors did an exercise where we read the parable of the Good Samaritan. Afterward, we put ourselves in the shoes of one of the characters in the story and imagined how it must have felt to be in their shoes. You’d be surprised how relatable Bible stories can be once you put yourself in the text. If you were Eve, you’d like to think you’d do things differently than she did, but truthfully knowing yourself, would you have been any different? This exercise gives you those types of questions to stretch your studying muscles pertaining to the Word of God.
6. Look it up- If I’ve gotten to a point in the scriptures that I don’t understand, I’ll use my trusty phone to Google what I can’t understand or I’ll read other translations. I know that a lot of Christians laugh at The Message translation but it really helps me when I am stuck on a certain passage! J
Let me know if you’ve adopted any of these exercises before. If you plan on trying some of these, let me know how they work for you! If you have any great study tips that have worked for you, please feel free to share! Leave a comment below!
God bless you!