Where do I start? Where do I start? Studying the Word is like a treasure hunt! Not sure where to start! START simply! Quit putting it off and simply START! Here is my treasure map.
Set Aside Some Time – For me the first thing I had to do was set aside a time and place to study. My favorite time is early morning, right after my husband leaves for work, when it is still dark outside, and I grab a big cup of coffee with some wonderful creamer like hazelnut, cinnamon roll, but my most favorite is gingerbread which I can’t always find during the Christmas season. Sometimes I add a bit of just pumpkin spice to it like I’ve been doing this week.
Set aside the Place – In a study we just finished “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” we shared our white spaces. My white space is actually several different places depending on the season. I love just sitting in my front den on our sofa, but sometimes I like to go in our back den in a huge chair and look out when the sun comes up in the back yard, and then sometimes I just sit in the dining room. It just depends! A white space can be any place you spend with God – it could be your office space area at work, it could be your dining room table, it could be a closet, it could be in your car on a long drive to work listening to a radio program or praising him on the radio with song.
Have supplies on hand – Next you need supplies before you sit down and start. Here is a picture of my basket Hoping to find a bigger/prettier one sometime when I am out shopping. I keep my Bible, a study Bible (hoping to get the Inductive Study Bible for Christmas – hint, hint to my children reading this), a notebook or journal for notes while reading to scribble down those things that jump out at you and touch your heart, lots of pens and highlighters. I buy highlighters that I can use in my Bibles without bleeding through. My favorites are blue and pink. I go through my Bible and whatever book I am studying at Proverbs31.Org and highlight things that are important, the scriptures we are memorizing and studying.
Study Topic – Are you going to just start reading the Bible or joining in a formal type Bible Study. For me again, my study time is my lessons for Sunday School at church and my daily Bible study has been for the last year the studies hosted by Proverbs31.Org and whatever book they are studying. We will soon be starting “A Confident Heart” in October and I can’t wait. Actually, I have already started reading and highlighting my book.
Pray Before Beginning – Each day I ask God to help me understand what I am about to study. I ask Him to lead me and give me the right words to say before I enter my facebook group to study with my friends. Each day I go through a separate notebook I keep that includes pages on each of my family members and friends and study group members and pray specific prayers for them.
Techniques I Use – One of the things I love doing is looking up words in my study. For this you need a good dictionary. I love “verse mapping” which is breaking down the verse, looking at words and annotating what they mean and I use index cards for that as well as for my memory verse cards.
Another technique I have learned from my Bible study sisters -web sites. They are great and here are some of them that have been shared over the past months that are excellent resources and tools:
- studylight.org (Go to Bible Study Tools in the menu bar)
- biblegateway.com (Go to Additional Resources in the left side. You can also use this to read the Bible in many translations.)
- m.biblestudytools.com (This link takes you to the Library. You can also click Bible to read the Bible. Trusted resources such as Matthew Henry, Scofield and Wesley are located here.)
- blueletterbible.org (More trusted sources. Also includes commentary from two of the “Father’s” of the Reformation: Martin Luther and John Calvin.)
Get rid of distractions like the television, telephone and radio because this is a time you need to be alone with God.
Keep a notebook/journal – I currently keep a notebook. Many people keep journals but I love the notebook because I print out pictures that might not fit in a journal. I can also make many notes in my notebook and it will also fit in a bigger binder where I keep all my prayer request notes and praises.
Study with others – This I believe is one of the most important things I have done. I have spent all my life in Sunday School and Bible studies at church. Last year I began the on-line Bible studies and found they keep me not only accountable but humble and in the Word and I am in a group with others that point out things I have totally missed.