The Book might be sitting on your nightstand, maybe on your bookshelf. It might be covered with dust, have lost pages; perhaps it looks brand new, the cover has never been cracked. It might be scuffed up and covered in highlights (or scribbles from children practicing their name). We get our kids to lug it to Sunday school, but maybe we don’t bring our own because it’s heavy, or we forgot.
What is this Book we both esteem and neglect?
We attend Bible studies, and worship services, maybe a mid-week prayer meeting. We are being fed the Word of God, and it is so important for us to sit under good biblical teaching. It is also important, for those of us who love and follow Jesus, to open up His Word and dig into the treasures that lay inside.
“Your heart cannot love what your mind does not know” Jen Wilkin
There are so many options available for us to receive teaching about God’s Word. We have devotional books, blogs, facebook, instagram quotes that can all direct our thoughts to words of Truth. Yet, these sound bites linger, and sometimes pass by without us really giving them much thought. This is where our own study of the Bible changes the game. It causes us to think and dive deeper, instead of a merely offering a ‘like‘ or a passing thought.
If we look at the first sola of the Reformation, (welcome to a little bite of history), Sola scriptura means Scripture alone. We know that this was one of the founding principles of the Reformation that changed church history. Martin Luther exhorted Christian leadership to move towards a foundation in the Word of God alone.
The danger is that we can become complacent; daily we hear the words of the world around us, and without filling ourselves first with Words of Truth, we can start to accept worldly truths as our own. Scripture alone is where our faith rests. It is where we find truth. We need to know it so we can be equipped to meet the world around us. It needs to be a part of us. We need to understand what it says.
My own study of Scripture has changed and grown through the years, and there are certainly seasons where time is more available than others. There's been seasons where I go through a book, then a study, then to a character study (often as the Spirit leads me to work on things in my own life). What I have found is that coming across a new resource, book or encouragement, has spurred me on towards better habits and discipline. So, here are 7 resources, that I hope will encourage you in your study of the Word.
1. "Bible Study Methods: 12 Ways You Can Unlock God's Word" by Rick Warren. I came across this book quite a few years ago. It has been really helpful for me. The methods begin with a simple devotional method, and build up to a Verse-by-Verse method at the end. It provides practical steps to study, rooted in prayer and application. This is a book I come back to over and over to help guide my study.
2. “Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible With Both Our Hearts and Minds” by Jen Wilkin. She does an excellent job laying the foundation for why we ought to study scripture, and shares the 5 P’s of bible study: Patience, Process, Perspective, Prayer and Purpose. I highly recommend it! It outlines a simple way to study, to help equip you in this discipline. You can watch her share more about this on the Village Church resources page here and “Why Do We Read the Bible?”
3. Precepts Ministries International has published many inductive Bible studies and books by Kay Arthur. What I enjoy the most out of these studies, is the unique way you are encouraged to mark in your Bible, the keywords of the passage. I like to see things visually, and so marking the passage with pencil crayons really helps me follow words and see things more emphatically. (which is also why I used the anatomy colouring book in university, it was a huge help). And if you've done studies by her in the past, here's a link to a glossary with many of the keywords from the studies.
4. The ESV Scripture journals. (They are on sale now on amazon, in case you are interested). They are an excellent tool to use for studying. One side has the ESV bible, the other side has a lined page for your notes. You can get them in a set, or buy one for the book of the Bible you are studying. There's also an illuminated version as well.
5. Bible software. I learned about Logos Bible Software from my pastor when we were moving overseas. I had borrowed a set of commentaries from him and had been lamenting that I couldn't take them to Africa with me. He laughed and kindly mentioned that there was software to fill that void! I rejoiced! Here you have access to different bible translations, commentaries, bible dictionaries, and more. There is a free version that is somewhat similar, called Bible Hub.
6. Risen Motherhood has a few resources that you can use for your Bible study. They have a summary of the ABIDE method here, and a list of bible study printables here. These are free worksheets that you can use to help guide your study!
7. TOOLS: Pencil Crayons, Journals. Pens. While I hope that the desire to study is a motivating factor on its own, having some new tools can certainly help! Personally, I use the journals from Costco, they have a hard cover, lined pages and fold open nicely. But I find everyone has their own personal likes when it comes to these things. Bullet journals are all the rage now, too. Find some tools for doing study and start digging in!
These are a few ideas. Maybe you have more. They are meant to help lead you on a deeper journey of Scripture, to equip you to face the needs of the day, as you shine the Light in your world and grow in your knowledge and love for the Lord. Be blessed as you open up The Book today!
What resources have helped you in your study of Scripture?