The fact that you’ve opened this blog post already speaks wonders about your desire to build a sustaining, life-long relationship with God. Congratulations, this is a big step!
The bible is God’s living word, meaning through it we not only learn more about the God we serve but we also learn about ourselves in the process. You may be thinking… “How in the world can I learn about myself from a book that is centuries old?” I’m glad you asked!
Though the well-known stories and scriptures were written thousands of years ago, God speaks to us through them! Here’s an example:
Vicky began to study the Gospel of Matthew and stumbled upon chapter 5, verse 15 which reads:
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.
Prior to reading this scripture, she had been asking God to reveal His plan for her life, and to guide her into her purpose. The Holy Spirit tugged on her heartstrings after stumbling across the scripture, and now she understands that, although her purpose isn’t clear to her just yet, she knows for certain that God will use her to be a light among this cold and dark world, for His name’s sake!
This is just one example of the many ways our God speaks to us as we read the word. The scriptures not only change us from the inside out, they allow us to grow into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him! Here are a few important tips to maximize your bible study:
1. Start with the Gospels
If you’re just starting on your journey with God I highly recommend kicking off your Bible study by reading and studying the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John), the first four books of the New Testament. By learning about Jesus’ time here on Earth and his three-year ministry, it is much easier to understand the concept of grace and how it can save each and every one of us. Through the Gospels, we learn why we even needed a Savior in the first place! We learn of God’s endless and steadfast love for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We also learn to be imitators of Christ by the perfect example he set before us. I know you all have heard the famous phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” or the shortened version “WWJD”. Christ was faced with temptation, rejection, fear, persecution and still managed to handle every challenging circumstance with grace and honor. As children of God, we are called to mirror Christ’s perfect character in our everyday lives.
2. Find a quiet place
This is very important. We live in a day and age filled with countless distractions. When we begin to understand that nothing actually belongs to us, but rather everything has been given to us from God, then we begin to understand that we must give back to Him. He desires our undivided attention!
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
So find a quiet room in your house, create a prayer closet with comfy pillows and candles, or sit by a quiet window. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that the area is completely quiet and empty of distractions (no phones, tablets, or TV’s). When it is quiet, we can hear the voice of the Lord.
You may not literally hear an audible sound, but rather a touch of the Holy Spirit or an answer to a prayer. God loves to respond to us and give us direction if we are seeking Him wholeheartedly!
3. Keep a prayer journal and a study notebook handy
When I chose to follow Christ with my entire life, I struggled to formulate verbal prayers to God and found it much easier to express myself to Him through writing. While this may not be the easiest method for everyone, it has several benefits. Writing your prayers in a journal allows you to see the hand of God moving in your life over time. He truly answers prayers and wants to provide us with the desires of our hearts! We can clearly see his involvement in our lives when we look back on old prayers that he has already answered.
It also allows us to measure our spiritual growth. Lay everything before the Lord: your worries, fears, deepest desires and aspirations. Let him know the sin you may be struggling with. Continue to seek him and watch how He will remove the presence of that sin from your life! It is amazing to see, right before your eyes, exactly how God is working in your life! I encourage you to write everything down, especially if you are striving to gain maturity in Christ.
4. Pray before and after reading
It is important to pray before reading so that we can turn our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears to God and tune out any distractions. My constant prayer before diving into the word goes a little something like this:
Father, as I open your word I ask that you open my heart and mind to receive it. Speak to me today, O God. I am diligently listening and awaiting your instruction. Through Christ, Amen.
After reading, ask God to ascribe His word to your heart that you may never forget it, so that when you go out into the world you may remain obedient to it and strengthened by it.
5. Stay consistent!
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency! I cannot stress just how important this is! Set aside time for the Lord everyday, even if all the time you have to spare is 15 minutes. Start your day off in his presence. Wake up earlier if you have to. Your commitment to God will reflect in your life. Put Him first!
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
It is my prayer that as you begin your study of God’s living word that He molds you into the mighty woman of God you are destined to be! God has a specific plan and purpose for you, but you must know the God you desire to serve in order for Him to use you for His perfect will. What better way to get to know our Lord than through His word? ❤