I have been reading through the Bible this year. It isn't the first time that I have attempted this and failed to complete my read through. To be totally honest, I've fallen behind more than once already, and there are parts that are just plain hard to get through, but I have found that this time is different and I am falling in love with discovering new things about God as I read. It has moved from being a chore to something I am looking forward to.
The biggest surprise is the way that the stories that I have heard thousands of times have come alive because of a little detail that I have missed before. I might have missed it because I was just trying to check it off the list of things to do that day, or more likely because I was spotty in my reading and forgot that this isn't a collection of isolated short stories, but instead it is all God's story and Jesus is woven through it. I just didn't look hard enough to find him. Here are five things that have helped me get more out of my Bible reading.
5 THINGS THAT HELP ME STUDY THE BIBLE
1. A Plan- I am a girl who needs a plan, preferably a daily reading plan. If it has a check list all the better. I make sure my plan is someplace I see regularly so that I remember to make time to study. It has especially helped me to have my plan on my computer or on my iPhone. Some of my favorite daily reading plans are available online through if:Equip and She Reads Truth.
2. Different Translations of the Bible- I was really surprised to see how much richer my Bible reading was when I took time to read a passage in more than one translation. It does take more time, so I often use this for shorter passages. For me this is easiest using a Bible Study website like Bible Study Tools or a computer Bible program like Glo Bible
3. A Commentary- My in-laws gave me a commentary this year for my birthday and it has been a great resource for me. It has helped me make connections with other passages in the Bible as well as helped me to better know the cultural context. You can find great commentaries for every translation both in print versions as well as available online. I have this one: Zondervan Bible Commentary.
Taking notes helps me to process and to remember what I have read. It isn't pretty, but it does the job. This is a page of my notes from the Lent 2015 Study from She Reads Truth.
4. A Journal- I have never been someone who effectively keeps a journal, but this year I have found that the act of taking notes is really valuable. My current favorite is to use the journal available to purchase that goes with the studies at She Reads Truth. They are beautiful, and help me keep all my notes for each study in a single place. It can be expensive to purchase a separate journal for each study, and at times I have used a plain journal for my note taking.
5. A Community- This community might take the shape of a Bible Study or Small Group or it might be less formal, but having a group of people who you can come to with questions, new ideas, will encourage you to continue to study the Bible. For me this group includes my husband, my in-laws and a few close friends. When I feel like I am stuck or if I have seen something new I go to them to help me work it out. This goes both ways, and I get so much from when they come to me in the same vein.