There was a period of a few years where I was really frustrated with my faith. I’d pick up my bible when I remembered, read a few verses, say amen, check that box off my to-do list, and get on with my day. And I genuinely wondered why I couldn’t feel God’s presence in my life.
In reality, I wasn’t living for God, I wasn’t dependent on Him. I was going through the motions of what I thought a Christian was supposed to do. But my heart and my soul wasn’t in it. I felt empty and it seemed like God was so far away.
After years of dryness in my faith, I craved more. I did the only thing I could think of: I cried out to God and begged him to change my heart. And He did and continues to answer that prayer day after day.
That’s not to say my walk is perfect, no one’s walk with God is perfect- there’s no such thing. We all have dry seasons.
And the best way I’ve found to get out of the desert is to dig deep into the word of God as often as possible. Not just skim words on a page, because I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do. I’d be lying if I said I wake up early every single morning to spend a set time with God. Sometimes I do, but sometimes it’s all I can manage to pour my coffee without spilling it and that’s okay. Because God wants our entire day, not just the little bit of time we set aside for him.
The first thing I do before beginning my study is I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me.
If you remember nothing else from this post, pray before you study the bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand, to guide you and to convict your heart. I didn’t always do this, but man, what a game changer. I can’t tell you how many times I wasn’t feeling’ it… I had so many other things to do, so much on my mind, but I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me, to open my eyes, and he ended up speaking to my heart in a beautiful, divine moment that could only come from God.
As far as bibles go, I use an English Standard Version bible or ESV. This one is a journaling bible which was a recent gift. The margins are wider than normal in a journaling bible so theres a ton of room for taking notes.
I see the bible as my study guide for life, I want to learn it and know it, so I like to take notes on the pages. I’ve found that when I took notes in a journal, I never went back to read it and revisit what I learned….it just sat on a shelf. BUT, there were so many time I was flipping through the pages of my Bible and came across either highlighted verses or words I wrote years before that spoke to my heart just as much as they did years before, words I needed to read at that exact moment.
I’m also a big fan of listening to a Pastor online throughout the week. I listen to Pastor Steve Hadley from Harvest Family Fellowship. The way he teaches the Bible geeks me out with all the history and background information. Good stuff!
Other days, when I study on my own, I start in one book and study it each time until I finish it. Slowly. Sometimes only a few sentences a day, then I study it.
I’d recocmend starting with either the gospels, or pauls letters, or the books of wisdom and poetry. Those are great places to start.
I use a bible commentary to help me dive deeper into Scripture. The commentary we have is from Jon Courson. It’s really thought provoking and gives me fresh perspective I never thought of. There are free ones online, too.
As I’m studying, I’ll highlight verses that stand out, that I want to remember or reference later. And in the margins, I’ll write other verses that reference the passage I’m reading. Or anything I find interesting about the passage, whether it’s about the history or definitions or how I can apply it to my life today.
That’s what my bible study looks like. I used to schedule my morning bible study but stopped. I started making that time another part of my routine, or like a time sheet nee to clock in and out. That’s when it becomes more like a chore and less like a beautiful encounter with the Lord.
God doesn’t need us to make him for him, He needs us, our life, our actions, our heart.
Our passion won’t ignite if we limit our time with God to this set amount each day that might not happen. We become closer to Christ when we actively seek him, in everything we do, not just our bible study.
Choose to seek God in the beautiful, ordinary moments of your day. Matt. 7:7