They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11b)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9,11)
Let’s begin by being honest? I have been a Christian for almost ten years and most of those years have been filled with me studying the Bible the way I would browse through a magazine. I flip a few pages, I find something interesting, I circle or underline it, then I go back to flipping. Consequently, my knowledge of scripture was confined to small blurbs that I had committed to memory and main ideas that I remembered from sermons. Probably not the way the Psalmist “stored the word in his heart” in Psalm 119.
Maybe you can relate? I mean.. life is busy, mornings are rushed, and the Bible is kind of… big. Maybe if there was a Sparknotes version I could totally get a handle on studying it.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally figured out How to walk daily with the Lord. I learned how to daily open up the Word, daily be in prayer, daily listen for His voice, and daily allow Him to change me. It took practice and it took figuring out what worked for me. I’ve been asked how I do it or what that time with God is supposed to look like. That is going to look different for everyone– but I can tell you how it looks for me.
I need a routine and I need some level of accountability. So I look for a group of women to walk with daily. For some people- that can be people within their circle of friends or church, but I actually prefer walking with ladies from all over the world. There is something awesome about seeing the same scripture impact so many very different lives in so many awesome ways. I’ve found a few awesome communities that allow that to happen.
The first, and my weapon of choice, is through SheReadsTruth. This online community is full of God-focussed women who want to make reading the Word part of their daily routine. There is a team of authors that write devotionals daily on different topics, usually on a specific book of the bible or a section of scripture. They post daily (beautiful) scripture prints that you can share on Instagram or Facebook. The idea is to read the scripture, read the devotional, and then comment your thoughts. I love that they weekly (every Sunday) have a memory verse with an accompanying lock screen image for iPhone users. (Though, I’m sure it can be modified for other phones as well!) I also happen to know that super-duper-soon there will be a beautiful iPhone app (and an Android app in the future) that allow you to read the bible and do the devotion all in one place.
I have also looked into, though I have never personally used, Good Morning Girls. This site requires you to enroll in their studies and you receive multiple devotional emails a week. I like that they offer the option of joining a group that will help to keep you accountable and serve as a community within the larger community to grow alongside. I also love that they do videos that help you dig in to the content. I will also give them props for having awesome scripture and encouraging posts on their Facebook page. They have a yearly calendar on their website and enrollment for their next study begins in August. I am hoping to “jump in” to their study on Esther!
So- I don’t just rely on the community, its all about making it personal. I have this amazing Bible that my wonderful husband got me for an early birthday present, The Study Bible for Women, that has a ton of study tools in it like commentary, word studies, character profiles, and introductions to each book. There will be an online version of it soon here. But, prior to getting such a great tool I used my normal Bible with this awesome online study Bible tool: MyStudyBible. Its great because you can look up commentaries, word studies, Greek and Hebrew word origins, and study Bible notes.
I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and maybe a pandora worship station playing. I begin my time by praying. I just talk to God about my worries and fears, I confess how I’ve missed the mark, I pray for those in my life in need, and I just adore Him for who He is. Sometimes I journal this prayer, sometimes I say it aloud- it’s whatever feels right for you. I am a big journal-er and I love having pretty colored pens to work with. I try to log all of my study time because it is so awesome to look back and see how God has worked through your life and time spent with Him.
I always read the scripture straight from the Bible first. This is the source. Sometimes I read it through a few times. Sometimes I underline or highlight words. Then, I choose a few verses that really are sticking out and write them out. (Teacher moment- we remember more when we write it down.) Sometimes I illustrate the verses or add emphasis, like >>arrows<< or bolding words. I go back and verse by verse try to journal what I think God is saying or how I am impacted by the scripture. Then I will read through a study Bible or commentary to better understand the heart and context of the scripture. I will add any big facts or notes that strike me to my journal as well. Now, I finally read the devotional. This is important, because I don’t want the author to speak to me, I want God to speak to me. Sometimes I find that God is speaking to me the same way He spoke to the author, and sometimes the author has a totally different view point. Either way- I always enjoy seeing how God speaks to others and that is why I love to read alongside a community of believers.
Confession: I am not perfect at this. I miss days. I slack off sometimes. But I am convinced that God isn’t all that concerned with my attendance record as he is my growth. And there is this beautiful gift of grace that He offers you, so please offer it to yourself.
So whether I know you or not, I want to challenge you. Go ahead and join one of these communities, or find one of your own, but try to be in the Word and spending time with God daily for one week. Watch how it impacts your faith and your life. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
*I do not own or have any formal affiliation with any of the resources mentioned. I was not paid to share these things and everything I wrote was my own opinion.*