How I Changed My Bible Study from Lackluster to Life Giving: Make Reading the Bible Fun!
When I was younger, I never made much time to study the Bible. In all honesty, it didn't much appeal to me.
I didn't really understand the words and I had no idea how to really make sense of them. Unfortunately, I had a lot more fun things I wanted to be doing!
Now that I'm at a deeper part in my walk with God, I realize that my way of thinking back then had a lot to do with immaturity in my relationship with the Lord. However, one thing still sticks out to me about my old mind frame.
The lack of fun!
You may have experienced this same type of slump in your walk with the Lord, too! Especially if you don't really like reading or studying. Not to mention how the whole 66 books and 1000 pages thing can be a real scary mountain to climb, am I right?!
So what happens?
That poor, ole Bible stays dusty on the shelf, destined to never see the light of day again. Besides... we've got Google for when we need to look up an inspirational verse in a pinch, right?
How ever correct that statement is (Google is great for looking up bible verses), it should not be how a growing Christian looks at their relationship, quiet time, and overall walk with the Lord!
So are you ready to take your Bible study sesh from lack-luster to life-giving and change the way you look at reading the Word forever? Let's dive in!
1. Understand the Importance of the Word!
First, we must understand why we need to get in the Word!
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Whoa! Did you catch all the awesome truth in that one sentence?!
First of all, it starts by saying that all Scripture is breathed out by God meaning that God created the Bible and every word in it. God approves of every chapter, every verse and wrote all of it himself!
Now, if as Christians we're supposed to be growing closer to God and building a relationship with him... don't you think the best way to do that would be to read His own words?
Next, the verse talks about how profitable the Bible is for teaching and training in righteousness. If we want to learn how to walk the Christian way, then the Bible is the perfect place to soak up that knowledge!
Lastly, it talks of how the man of God is complete and equipped for every good work. Digging deeper into the Bible not only completes and fulfills us, but it also readies us for whatever life throws at us and helps us to make the right choices!
Now that is an awesome promise that God doesn't want you or me to miss out on!
2. Pick Your Starting Point!
Think about what draws you to read something. Whatever you're reading, whether it's a novel, a blog article, or a magazine, you probably picked it up because the subject interested you, right?
When it comes to reading the Bible, it shouldn't be any different!
Like we established above, all of Scripture is breathed by God and suitable for learning, so there's no way you can go wrong with picking where to begin!
Now that you can breath a little easier about that, you can choose a book in the Bible that sounds the most exciting to you! The Bible has so much variety that I promise there's something in there that'll peak your interest.
There's awesome adventure stories in the books of Jonah and Daniel! There's poetry and songs in the book of Psalms!
There's even love stories which can be found in the Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth! Words of wisdom and guidance are told in Proverbs, and foretellings of the future are laid out in Revelations!
And of course there's the ultimate story about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!
If you need some help on figuring out what each book is about, look at the front or back of your Bible. Sometimes there is a little synopsis of each book. If not, then I've found a great little resource >>here<< that gives a one sentence synopsis of each book, as well as the author!
3. Choose the Right Bible For You!
There are so many translations of the Bible, as well as types. And the one you choose can really make a difference in how you understand it!
Starting with translations, it's important to choose one that you can comprehend the best. While older generations may appreciate and understand the King James Version, younger generations may get lost in it's outdated language.
I'd recommend going with my personal favorite, the English Standard Version (ESV). Its words are clear and understandable for the younger generation of readers. The New International Version (NIV) is also a good pick!
Next, it's equally important to choose the right type of Bible!
It's no secret that the Bible can be a little confusing sometimes. There are some great study and reference Bibles out there that include historical information and in-depth explanations and commentary throughout the books. It's like having your own personal Bible teacher with you at all times. Pretty stinkin' cool!
If you need help clarifying the meaning of the Word, I encourage you to look into investing in your own study/reference Bible.
Another awesome type of Bible (emphasis on awesome because it's my favorite!) is a journaling Bible. If you're the creative type like me and enjoy a good doodling sesh. Or you just like writing out your prayers or jotting down notes, then this Bible is for you!
Journaling Bibles are printed with lined columns on both pages to give you room to write whatever you like! As someone who enjoys drawing, I love writing out my favorite verses in pretty fonts, drawing pictures that coordinate with the stories, and even using stickers to add to the fun!
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4. Start Using Study Tools!
Now that you know what book of the Bible you're gonna start in and what type of Bible you're gonna be using, let's talk about how you should be reading it!
Sometimes, it's not just enough to sit down and read your Bible. That might work for some people, but I've found the best way to get the most out of the Word is to add some study tools in there. Using effective studying tools adds that extra element of goodness that can totally enrich and change the way you look at reading the Bible!
Here are some of my favs and how you can use them:
HIGHLIGHTERS AND UNIQUE PENS
Oh yes, I lovveee me some highlighters! (Especially clicky ones, am I right?!) For one, they bring color to your pages! Who wants to look at some boring, ole black and white pages? Not me, girl! The color will invite you in and add an element of fun! Highlight words and sentences that stood out to you, spoke to you in some way, and/or taught you something so you can find them easier later on.
Next, pens are perfect for writing notes in the margins or underlining words and sentences. I even use pens to write out all of my favorite verses on the inside cover of my Bible! And, sure... you could use plain, old, normal pens. But why would you want to????
Get pens with colored ink! Pens with patterned designs! Find some pens that have cool charms on the top! Pens that erase! Pens that write big! Pens that write small! (Okay.. I'm a little passionate about cool pens...)
But trust me! They make the process of studying your Bible so much fun! So go on! Write in your Bible! Highlight/underline anything and everything that gives you life.
STICKY NOTES AND TABS
Sometimes you might not want to write directly on your Bible. That's okay! Use sticky notes instead! These beauties are not only colorful, but totally movable and as temporary as you want them to be!
They're also handy when re-studying a piece of scripture. No room to write something new? Just pop a sticky note on top to add to your study.
Sticky tabs are also great for bookmarking important subjects. For example, I have a tab for the book of Proverbs that says "wisdom." Anytime I need some wisdom, I know right where to go!
Be creative and use these great tools to customize your Bible!
Let's be real girl... using a really cute notebook with a fun print or your favorite quote on the front can totally improve your day! I know it improves mine, so I loveeee incorporating them into my Bible study time!
I write down whatever God is showing me through the Word into my notebook by using bullet points, numbered lists, or just paragraphs of my thoughts.
You can also just write out bible verses that stuck out to you the most, so you can go back and read them later! This makes reading the Word a more active process and helps everything stick in your mind.
Also, I like to make my own mini-devotionals out of whatever book or chapter of the Bible I'm reading. I ask myself questions and try to dig deeper into what God is trying to show me from the text, writing down my answers in the notebook.
Want to use this method, but aren't sure how? I've created a handy-dandy, free downloadable guide on how to turn any verse, chapter, or book of the Bible into your own personal devotional! You can now start tearing apart the Word and getting all the goodness God wants you to benefit from!
Other supplies I love using are stickers and washi tape! It's fun to use alphabet stickers to spell out words instead of just writing them. Also, pretty flower stickers can brighten up the pages of your journaling bible or notebook!
Washi tape is awesome for creating backgrounds for stickers, creating borders, or folded over a page for a bookmark/tab! It comes in every color and pattern you can imagine making the design possibilites endless! This type of tape is also very easy to remove so it usually won't tear your pages if you decide to take it off!
Studying the Bible shouldn't be boring, unappealing, or a chore! Anytime I hesitate to jump in the Word, I think of how hurt God must feel that I don't want to read His words and choose to draw near to Him.
God doesn't want the Bible to be a total bummer. He wants it to be beneficial! It's a gift from Him to us, and the best way to learn more about Him and lead a better, more Godly life!
I challenge you to put into practice the 4 ways we discussed and use the resources I suggested. It's all about making the Word stick in your mind easier, and creating a quiet time with the Lord that is as special and unique as you! I hope all of this helps you transition your bible study from a chore to a chance at a deeper relationship with Christ!
Yours In Christ,
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105
"But he answered, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8