How I Study My Bible!

Hi guys!  Today I am so excited to share with you all some of the things I do in order to study my Bible.  I've been thinking about sharing a post on this subject for a really long time but have just never gotten around to doing it.  One of the biggest reasons is probably because I have felt inferior.  I am no Bible scholar and no expert.  I still face my fair share of difficulties when it comes to understanding this ancient text.  But over the past couple years I have really been trying to push myself to be bold in sharing the Lord's heart and to answer His calling on my life to be bold.

I may be inferior in the shadow of scholars and theologians but here is the bottom line:  I love God's word.

I really, really do.  It had taken me nearly 24 years of my life for me to finally come to this place but here I am, head over heels so how can I keep it to myself?  I am passionate about encouraging people to open scripture every single day because there is so much freedom in it.  It is undeniable.  It takes time, it takes patience, it takes discipline.  But if you just open up your life to it you are going to see Jesus, you are going to learn God's true character, and you are going to fall in love.

I promise.

By the way, you might want to get yourself a snack or a cup of coffee.  I think this is going to be a long one!

So where do I start?

I will start with the kind of Bible I use.  For several years I have been reading out of the She Reads Truth Bible and I absolutely adore it.  I chose the blue leather cover because it reminded me of the Bible my mother used when I was growing up.  It's not important but personal to me.  Throughout the text there are beautiful illustrations and maps and devotions that just catch your eye.  I love how carefully designed this Bible is because that's who our Creator is.  He carefully and intentionally crafts to makes things beautiful.  How lovely that His Word reflect that?  The thing that really sold me on this particular Bible though is the introductions.  At the beginning of each book there is a brief introduction that gives background on cultural context, message & purpose, and biblical significance.  Each book is also color coded by literary style.  All of these things have become important to me while studying scripture.  I will delve into them a little deeper in a moment.

Overall this is such a beautifully designed Bible and it has been such a blessing to me but I do want to  clarify that it doesn't matter in the least what kind of Bible you are reading.  As long as you are reading you are going to hear the Lord's voice.  I personally love sitting with a physical Bible but if you are into modern technology and convenience, the YouVersion app is a great option as well.  I love using YouVersion when I want to look up different translations quickly, its great for that!  Ultimately, you find what works for you and then run with that!

Now, Let's Get to Reading!

1.  Prayer:  before I start reading I always start off in prayer.  It's usually real quick and simple but I always want to be intentional about asking for the aide of the Holy Spirit.  I just ask Him to open up my mind and my heart to hear the Lord's voice and also that He would give me wisdom to discern what is being spoken.

2.  Introductions:  when I come to the beginning of a book I always read the introduction.  This is important because the Bible is living and breathing, which means that it holds significance in every life living in every generation.  But it was also written during certain time periods that are far different than the time we are living in today.  For this reason we have to take that into consideration. By getting an overview of the cultural context in which each book was written we can gain better insight on who God is and how the text can apply to our life today.

For an example I am going to use the ever avoided book of Leviticus.  In short, Leviticus is filled with a whole lot of laws or commandments.  There are 613 to be exact.  That's a lot of laws!!! But now let's look at the cultural significance.  Leviticus was written after God had brought the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, during their 40 years of wandering in the desert.  During this time, God had established a covenant with Moses in order that He could abide among His people.  This is a holy God.  It is impossible for God and sin to exist together.  So God made a way through a series of laws for His people to still receive His blessing, despite their sin.  613 laws may seem unreasonable but rather it should point to how holy God truly is!

Now we can consider the book of Leviticus through the context of our culture today.  We are not living in a pre-Messianic age as they were in the time that this was written.  2,000 years ago, Christ died for our sins and fulfilled the law of Moses.  Now we can read it and get a better understanding of the backbreaking burden of the law and how we ultimately needed a Savior to cancel it out.  We read it and give thanks as we marvel at the abounding grace shown at the cross.  Leviticus is purposeful in pointing towards a holy God and furthermore to a humble Christ who bridged the gap between God and His people, not by law but by love and sacrifice.

3.  Notes / Commentary:  95% of the time I like to study scripture alongside commentary.  My favorite destination for devotionals is She Reads Truth.  I pick a devotional based on either a book or a subject and then use their app to follow along their reading plan.  Before I enter into their commentary I like to take as many notes as I can on my own.  This challenges me to slow down, process, and really take in what I am reading.  This is where I get out my trusty highlighters.  I keep my highlighters and a selection of pens and pencils in a zip-lock baggie.  That way I can easily find them and easily bring them to wherever I choose to study that day.  Some days its in my bed and other days its at the table.  It just depends on my mood.

While I am reading, I look for things that really stick out to me, things that really give me a better understanding of who God is, what His truth is, and how it applies to my life.  If I find something I will highlight it and then write a note beside it.  My notes range from a simple word of praise, a prayer, or a paraphrase of the passage itself.  This keeps me active in my reading and pushes me to seek true understanding rather than just passively reading.

After I take my own notes (I also keep a notebook with me to write in, just in case I have more things to say than a margin will allow me) I will then move on to commentary.  I love seeking the wisdom of others who have been anointed to interpret scripture in their own way.  It's always been a blessing to me and I have had my fair share of "aha!" moments by looking at scripture through the eyes of others.  I would only suggest that you research your commentator before you put your full trust in them.  You want to make sure that their foundational beliefs align with your own.  Remember that you are seeking commentary in order to better equip you to hear the Lord's voice for yourself.  You don't want to seek guidance from someone who is going to sway your foundational beliefs from one way to another.

4.  Connecting the dots:  All of scripture points to Jesus.  He is there from the beginning of Genesis, to the end of Revelation, and everywhere else in between.  The Word of God is truly seamless.  So when I am reading scripture I am always looking for Jesus.  I am looking at who He is, what He has done, what He promises, what He has called me to, and lastly, I count the ways that He has chosen to display His love for me.  This is personally, what I love most about studying the Bible:  finding Jesus.

If I am reading in Matthew about the birth of Jesus then I can go all the way back to the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament to see that Christ was promised from the beginning and that in Matthew the prophecy was being fulfilled.

Now, if I am reading in Acts 5:41-42 it says this:  "Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they  were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name.  Every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah."

I can then go back to Matthew 5:10 where Jesus proclaims this in His Sermon on the Mount:  "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs."  

I make the connection that Christ has called us to a place of boldness and because of Christ's promise of the coming Kingdom we can proclaim the gospel with faith and confidence.  Even in the midst of persecution.  This is what the apostles showcased in the book of Acts and it's because Jesus had once spoken this truth and this power over them.  What was true for the apostles then is true for us now.

I could go on forever but you see?  Jesus is everywhere.  Try and make these connections while you are reading!

5. Art:  The last thing that I wanted to talk about is art.  If something really sticks out to me then sometimes I consider turning it into artwork in the margin.  It's usually a quick doodle or a fancy script but it helps me stay engaged.  Also, like I talked about earlier when it comes to creation sometimes God's word just inspires me to create and so in the end I just use it as an offering of praise.  I try not to overdo it and make it about me but just a little something to glorify Him as I seek to take in and remember His Word.


I wanted to list a few of my favorite resources that I have used in my own journey of falling in love with reading scripture.  I know that there are countless resources out there that are just as amazing but these are just the three that have had the most impact on my life personally.  I hope they can help you too!

1. She Reads Truth:  This is hands down the best place for easy, relatable, and understandable devotionals for women.  Their devotionals are so inexpensive (there are a lot of free options as well) and yet so impactful.  This is a great place to start!

2.  Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin:  This.  Book.  It fundamentally changed the way I approach scripture.  I couldn't be thankful enough for Jen Wilkin's wisdom and heart for the Word of God.  Her approach is convicting yet full of grace, extensive yet comprehensive.  95% if not 100% of what I wrote today comes from what I learned from her writings!

3.  Seamless by Angie Smith:  I CANNOT recommend this devotional enough!  Especially if the Bible intimidates you.  Angie Smith takes you on a journey from the beginning of the Bible all the way until the end.  And she does it in such a reader friendly way, I mean she breaks Scripture dowwwn!  Reading her devotional is where I really started to see the Bible as a whole picture.  The Bible was written over a period of 2,000 years by a collection of authors from a myriad of backgrounds and yet the whole of scripture is cohesive and sound.  God's glory shines in this and its truth cannot be disputed.  Seamless helped me see that in a whole new light.  If you decide to read this you will find yourself saying: "ohhhhhhh!" and "wait, how did I not see that before?!"

I did this devotional with a group of older women who have had a lifetime of reading the Bible and even they were shocked at all they were learning.  It's simply amazing!

Give Yourself Grace! 

Often times there is the stigma behind reading the Bible.  A lot of Christians can make it out to be a chore or even a "sin" if you miss a day of reading.  That's not how I choose to approach it.  I encourage people to read their Bible because by experience I know that in it is life, and joy, and freedom.  That's why I get so excited!  Of course I would encourage you to try to be in it every day.  I had a pastor once put it this way:  "Strive for seven days a week but don't settle for less than five."  Again it's not to pressure begrudgingly.  Are there days or seasons when I am not reading as much?  Absolutely!  But if I find myself in a dry season I almost always yearn for my time back in the Word.  It just fills me and I can't stay away.  I am a mother... a. very. busy. mother. so somedays I can get an extended period of time and others all I can muster is a few verses out of Psalms.  And for the days I can't read any...grace.

Don't feel pressure.  That is absolutely not how God would want you to approach His word.  Just open up your life to it.  Get a little disciplined but then just let yourself fall in love with it.

It has become such a special part of my life and I want you to feel that too.

I promise, it is so so good!

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