... And I know what it is! Call it whatever you want - getting into the word, studying the scripture, reading my Bible, hearing from God from His Word. Whatever you want to call it, I have realized that I have never been a true reader, studier, and maybe even believer in the Bible. Oh I believe the Bible is God's word, but I've never been willing to commit my time to studying it and knowing what it says, so in a way I have not put much faith into it. I think that this is a strange thing to say for someone who believes and lives like I do. I really have a life that God has redeemed, but I feel that He is really now speaking to me about His Word and knowing it.
I heard a quote at Passion from Beth Moore and it really spoke to me. She said that she had over the last few years become more concerned with her private spiritual life instead of her public one. That's not been me. I have focused on what I am trying to do for God and not focused on Him.
What an incredible God who can know me like I am and without fail still wantbv me to be closer to Him and He be closer to me. Knowing what the Bible says is knowing what God says and that has been needed in my life just like it's needed in everyone's life.
So how does it happen - just open and read, do a word study, read random passages, follow a reading plan, buy a Bible study software, find a study group??? I don't know yet, but God already knows and will lead me where I need to go since I am finally willing!
Join me in this, let me know your ideas and thoughts. Maybe God can use you to help me and others to learn how to "get into the Word".
It seems like all too often the world spins too fast to lock in and apply the discipline required to spend quality time in the Word. Yet when we do, it seems the cares, stress, and anxiety of this crazy busy world fall away. I struggle with this on a fairly regular basis as well.ReplyDelete
I have found some things that work fairly well to keep me focused on the Word though.
Teaching a Bible study – This forces me to spend quality time in the Word in order to teach it. I find that the teacher gets as much or more out of the time spent studying as the class that is being taught.
Accountability – I have found that to find another man to be accountable to helps immensely. This has been beneficial to me for both digging in the Word and for personal accountability. I will often run thoughts about my Bible study by my accountability partner for additional insight and application. It is motivating, on cold dreary mornings when an extra hour of sleep would be so nice, to know that he is going to ask about what I have been reading in the Word.
Relationship – I know that digging into the Word is drawing me closer to my Father. I know that there is a reward, in a deeper relationship, in a deeper closeness, in being taken to a higher, more intimate place with my creator, my Father, my friend.
As to the how does it happen…
I think that this will vary as much as people do. Differently personalities absorb information and learn in different ways. I love the idea of online discussions around a particular topic. It helps me to get out of my own box and look at the same set of facts from different perspectives. It forces me to dig deeper where I might otherwise skim. I don’t know if this exists online but it would be a wonderful resource between like minded groups.
Thanks for listening to my rant ;)
I wish you God’s direction and peace in your quest…
Hey Sid, here's what I do, pick a book, I'd suggest start with something in the New Testament, but ask God for direction. (John is always a good place to start.) Read one chapter a day. And then I like to structure it a bit so will make notes as to things I notice (observation), what I think it means (interpretation), and how I can apply it to my life (application). Get a journal at the bookstore if you don't already have one and just write down your observations, interpretations, and applications. Not only will that help you to stay focused on getting something out of God's Word, but then you can go back and read your application points as well. What I like about this way is it doesn't require you to "buy" anything, it's not a "program" or a "study", it's just you and God's Word and you're just letting him speak to you through His Word. I've done this same thing with my small groups in the past and it has been really cool to hear how God spoke to each so individually and we all got such different key points out of the same chapter. Of course, there are TONS of great studies too, and I'm sure neat software you can get for your computer, but I guess my point is, it doesn't have to be that difficult to get started either. Just pick a book and start reading!ReplyDelete
I'd also recommend getting in a small group or community group. It can be Bible study focused, or more relational (for encouragement and accountability), but either way, I think it's pivotal to have folks around you to spur you on.
If you need other ideas, feel free to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Great thoughts above ...ReplyDelete
I found a book at the National Youth Workers Convention that totally opened my eyes to the Scripture in new ways. It's called Enjoying the Silence and its by Maggie and Duffy Robbins. Yes, it is written for students, but it is so applicable to adults as well (just substitute work for when the readings say school).
Basically, it is an introduction to lectio divinia (divine reading, or something to that effect) in which you read a short passage very slowly several times over and seriously meditate on a phrase there that jumps off the page at you.
It might sound a little hokey, but I have noticed key words while reading this way that I never noticed before even though I had read the passages many times.
Your comments about missing something are very insightful. I think what you have discovered about the truthfulness of your relationship with God through His word may be boiled down to a single word:
In other words does the Child of God do what he or she says they do? If one is ever to truly have a close relationship with God which will drive a love of reading and studying God's word he or she must expect and sense God's immediacy in his or her life.
When was the last time that you went before God in prayer and asked Him through the power of the Holy Spirit to help you change your attitude towards studying scripture? My own renewal stemmed from such a prayer long before I ever contemplated ministry.
Briefly my own life changed as a Christian when I was getting dissatisfied with going through the motions and supposedly keeping up on prayer and Bible reading. I did it rather haphazardly when I did do it. Talk about a major disconnect between what I said I believed and how I led my life. It all changed for me when one day on the bus commute to work I asked God to change my attitude and speak to me through His word.
After that prayer I felt the Holy Spirit Challenging me to start bringing my Bible on the bus since I had about 30 minutes into work each morning that was down time. After several days of this I got to the point you are at now. How do I read and study God's word?
The Holy Spirit didn't take me into a One Year Bible Reading plan, journals, or intensive studies. My own path was a simple enough challenge. Read one verse in the morning and one in the afternoon. It didn't matter what...just read. I did this for about a week. Once I did it consistently the Holy Spirit challenged me for two verses. As you can imagine this exercise helped me to realize that I can read God's word and started to realize that God was revealing more about Himself to me through it. After long I was up to several verses on both bus trips.
Once I saw this pattern of immediacy emerging in my own life and submitted myself to the Holy Spirit, I started to do something different. Again I approached God with a sense of EXPECTANCY. I no longer thought of the Bible as a stale book of non-relevant stories. Instead I started to realize God was using it to relate and speak to me. I now had a new divinely inspired attitude that helped me read my Bible regularly. After several months I started and have continued to read about a chapter per day (excluding Sundays). I have also completed other programs over the years, such as: reading the Bible through in one year several times, using prayer/scripture/insight journals, and other keyword and topical studies.
This one simple event changed my life forever! I know if you allow God to challenge you through the Holy Spirit and expect him to act in your life that He will change you as well.
Many blessings on your new found expectations of God’s Word,