The foundations of a maturing Christian faith are not complicated. They just take time and care. Bible Study, Memorization, Church Attendance, Prayer, Service; these are all pillars of our growing faith.
But how do we get started when we know so little? The Bible is a huge book. The church is thousands of years old. There is so much need in the world. Where should I begin?
Devotion and Devotional Bible Study
What is devotion, first of all?
It is a loyalty and commitment towards one that is expressed through enthusiasm and excitement.
Is that what is happening when you are thinking about pulling out the Bible? Often times, when we first start really getting interested in studying the Bible we are hit with feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Here is some encouragement: This isn’t a performance task. You aren’t judged from on high about how well you are studying and comprehending every last word.
Drop the Fear
Simply, come to the Word (a common noun for Bible) expecting that there are vast streams of experience, wisdom, knowledge, story, principles, and God Himself. Upon entering a library, we don’t feel overwhelmed because there is so much to read. No, we go to a kiosk and find the one book that we are needing/wanting at that moment.
The same is true for the Bible. Do not feel overwhelmed because there is so much to it. Enjoy it in pieces and at moments. Don’t worry about getting it all in right away.
I am hopeful that we have moved passed the fear of performance and the mentality of trying to be perfect with our study and devotional time. Our devotions light up with enthusiasm and wonder when we remove the anxiety.
Time needed: 30 minutes.
How to do a Devotional Study the Bible
- Setup your space, tools, and self before hand
This sounds unnecessary, but distractions happen and they come out of nowhere. Pick the spot where you will be studying. Clear the area. Remove phones and other things that will distract you. a Use the restroom. Pretty much, remedy everything that will pull you away.
- Pray for understanding and focus
Prayer is vastly underestimated in our lives. Praying gets you focused and ready to hear fresh new things. Not only does praying get you ready, but it starts a time of communion with God that will make for a lucrative study.
- Start reading
Remember, this isn’t about performance. If you spend 30 minutes on 4 verses, that is great. If you get through a whole chapter, fine. The goal is to dig as deep as you can into what you are reading. I recommend that you go Book-by-book. I can’t imagine reading the Lord of the Rings by jumping around from one book or chapter to another one at random. Starting and finishing a book will give you
adeeper understanding of what is being taught there.
- Connect what you are reading with what you are living
You’ve heard it, the Bible is applicable to every moment of your life. There is so much in there that we can sometimes get lost in the thick of it. The best thing to do is to take your current situation and see what the Word is speaking to those things. Are there sins you need to hand over to God? Is there a purpose He is cultivating in you? Is He exciting you? Are there people you need to encourage?
- Look for the things that describe God
We often get stuck in our faith from time to time. For me, this has happened because I have lost an appreciation for who God is. When you are reading the Bible, pay special attention to verses and passages that talk about who God is and what His attributes are. When we find these things, we really get to know who God is. That is worth the whole study in of itself.
- Journal, draw, mind-map, blog, ect
The point is to get all this information to stick. It isn’t about performance but it is about life change and maturation. What ever you read about, put it down on paper or in a document. Draw pictures the relate to what you read and felt. Write out a bullet point list of details you noticed. Make a mind-map. Write about it on your personal blog. Whatever you do, make it stick in your mind and make it something you can come back to and appreciate at a later time.
- End with Thanksgiving and Gratitude
We are Christians. God has saved us and called us. We get to study His Word. We should end with a prayer thanking God for Him saving us and calling us to Him as Sons and Daughters. Thank him and ask that what you learned sticks with you and that the Holy Spirit will act on what you have learned.
Question and Answer of Popular Bible Study Questions
The best way to study the Bible is one book at a time. Take is slowly. Firstly, let it change your life. Secondly, seek to understand the whole book. When you have a pretty good grasp on one book, go to another. Start in the New Testament, but once you’ve gotten some understanding, go ahead to the Old Testament.
Devotions are the things we do that exercise our loyalty to God through our excitement and enthusiasm. Devotions are joyful acts and times and not moments where we wish we were doing something else.
Firstly, have a verse that means a lot to you. Read the verses around the one you want to memorize it. Truly understand what it means. Then, use different methods of memorization like repetition, writing it out, memorizing it in small pieces, and drawing picture associations. Try Using the ESV Journaling Bible
A devotional Bible is much like a study Bible but is less scholarly and more about applying to your life. They tie in stories, principles, explanations, and encouragements; usually in the footnotes separate from the actual Bible passages.
Study Bibles contain notes from translators, scholars, cultural historians, and theologians. The main point of a study Bible is to help you understand why certain things were written, key knowledge needed to understand it, biographies of key characters and persons, and overarching themes and doctrines. The ESV Study Bible is a good choice.
You use a study Bible by comparing what you read in the actual Bible passage with what is presented in the Study notes below. Usually, there will be great notes and insights that are footnoted about the verses you are reading that gives more clarity and insight.
It is a study where you are simply trying to learn more about God and His word in such a way that it begins to transform your life over time. It is studying for
God has given us His Word to nourish us through every stage of our Christian development. It is “pure milk” for newborn believers (1 Peter 2:2) and “solid food” for the mature (Hebrews 5:14).Charles Swindoll