Each Monday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know I’m passionate about Bible study. The best encouragement I could ever give you is to get – and stay – in God’s Word. If you’re already studying, I challenge you not to get complacent. Dig deeper, and keep your studies fresh. If you think studying the Bible is too daunting, just take one step. God meets you where you are, but he doesn’t want you to settle in and stay there. It’s all about growth!
So, today I’m sharing a few tips to help you get started or dig deeper.
- BibleGateway.com. Explore and experience a variety of Bible translations. Search for a specific word or look at one verse using multiple translations. You can also access reading plans, verse of the day posts, and much more. Readily available on you laptop or to browse on your mobile device.
- Bible Maps. Especially if you’re a visual person, it’s great to see the context of what you’re studying. Explore maps of Bible times and compare them to maps of today. Get familiar with God’s world.
- Devotional. Find a devotional to read regularly. Two words of caution: (1) Choose one you know you can digest. If you’re fairly certain you’ll let daily posts sit in your inbox until you purge them weeks later without reading them, try a weekly devotional instead. (2) Look for a biblically-sound devotional, not just one that looks or sounds good. Remember, the goal is to grow, not simply be affirmed to remain where you are. Perhaps you’d rather have something in print or as an ebook.
- Audio Messages. Nothing replaces sitting beside others in worship services, but you can continue to stay on track and get inspired through the week by listening to free messages online. Keep in mind the importance of listening to sound biblical teaching. Just because someone places the word “Christian” in front of a teaching doesn’t make it sound. OnePlace.com is my favorite source for listening to messages online. Ask a trusted friend to help you discern where to start if you’re overwhelmed by the choices.
- Online Studies. Once again, studying side-by-side and face-to-face others is preferred, but if, for a season, that’s not possible, find a solid group of people to study with online. I recently went through James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore with Bible Cafe for Women as I prepared to lead the same study with a group of women at church. What a fantastic experience! I was able to dig deeply with a small group of women. Women are assigned to small groups, where they can discuss and share in a private Facebook group, as well as connect with the group as a whole in response to weekly blog posts. I was well-prepared to begin leading the study, because I had dug deeply ahead of time. It’s also a great way to sample a study before sharing it with women you know or to enhance a topic you’ve been studying.
- Enhance study with music. This is a difficult one to give you specifics about, because the music that moves each of us is so different! However, a great place to begin is Matt Redman’s Heart of Worship. Keep in mind music can be used to enhance your study in a couple ways. Listen to music for God’s guidance of what he wants you to study. As you’re moved by particular lyrics, search Scripture for verses that speak directly to the topic and truth. Or as you’re studying God’s Word, search for music that expresses the truths you’re finding. Let God soak his truths into you with a variety of methods.
- Decompartmentalize. Study isn’t just about having your Bible open during a specified time of the day. God doesn’t want us to set aside our study, separating it from our lives. His Word is intended to impact and change our lives, and our lives should motivate our studies. Carry God’s Word throughout your day by writing reminders on sticky notes to put in places you’ll see throughout your routine. Keep a small notebook with you to jot notes when you experience God through your day or a question pops to mind. Break down the walls and invite God to consume every space within you.