So many times over the past few weeks, I’ve seen things that encouraged me to read my Bible, do studies a lot. And I’ve tried to pass it on to your guys. But that’s assuming a lot. It’s assuming that we all know how to go about studying ourselves. And when I first started taking this seriously, I did big Bible teacher’s studies, or topical studies. Perfect right?
Let me tell you! I always signed up for Bible studies. Every single time there was one at church, I signed up. And then I didn’t go. And I didn’t do my homework. This was for years and years and years.
But God had to stop me in my tracks to make me really dig in. Some of you have read how first God told me to study by myself because Sunday church wasn’t enough for how deep and wide I wanted to go. So I started doing a Beth Moore study by myself at home. I obeyed and that’s great. But it’s not all of my journey, and I’m still not done.
I kept hearing this verse in my head:
Wow, rightly dividing the Word of God. That’s a huge statement and a huge undertaking. And then God broke my heel; first one and then the other. So basically for about three years, I was led from study to study and book to book by God. One Christmas I even asked for a new Bible. I was going to switch it up and use another translation. But what ended up happening was I didn’t like it as well as the one I’d had for years. So God told me to underline everything in the new Bible that I had in the old Bible, complete with dates and notes. So I did. And what a great picture! God used this to cause me to remember some things I hadn’t seen or heard about in His Word for a very long time. I guess everybody needs reminding every once in a while.
Another verse that struck me during this period was “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” which is found in Deuteronomy 6:5. And I didn’t really stop to think about it all that much. But recently I heard Jen Wilkin talking about it. Her take was that we are to love the Lord with everything in us, even our minds. She says that everything begins with our mind, that’s why we have to renew our minds. But what she said that truly stuck out to me the most was that it’s our mind we have to study with. Not “Big Bible Teacher X’s” mind. You can fill that in with someone you admire and do many studies from…
Wow, so here I am, doing studies from many “Big Bible Teacher X’s” and you mean that’s not enough? About this time, another thought crossed my mind. “If you’re going to write and blog about this stuff, pretty soon you’re going to have to break away from other people’s studies.” Wow! God sure is pushing me toward something here. To let you in on a little secret, I still don’t know where this is going to end up. But follow I must.
And then the SOAP method of studying started popping up on my radar. “That’s a good way to do it”, I thought. I researched it and found that it’s Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It goes like this: Write the verse(s) that stood out to you today when you were reading. What did you observe in that particular part that stood out to you. Write until you get all your thoughts out. It can be one sentence or go on and on and on. Application is applying it to your life today. How does this apply to your life, a particular situation you are going through, etc. And finally, pray about what you have read, asking God for wisdom and praying the scripture over your life.
But I decided there has to be other ways. There has to be a place to start, etc.
After all the
pushing nudging from God, I decided I had better read up on it. Of course you just know that God had been bringing just the right book and putting it in front of me over and over again. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. Again, Jen Wilkin. So I ordered it right away.
But let me tell you, I didn’t go into it with an open mind whatsoever. After all, I knew how to study. I grew up in church and had been around. I had studied, hadn’t I? Yep, this is where God humbled me greatly. Jen has a chapter on the do’s and don’ts of studying. (I’ll tell you about that next time.) Funny how in that one chapter, she touched on all the most popular ways (not including soap) and defined them all with cute named like The Telephone Method which is kind of like playing that old game of telephone we used to play as kids… you can imagine where that ends up. It was where it started that got me. Surprised the snot snot of me.
But the thing that I really want to stress is my priorities. God took me from someone who wasn’t really busy in life, to someone who was, but put her priorities in line with God. Everyone knows that verse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”… but we don’t. Everyone knows it says the IF we do that, “ALL these things will be added to you”. But somehow we don’t get past the obedience of the first part. I didn’t for years and years.
It’s a good thing God pushes us along. And if we listen to Him, we begin to put Him first. Slowly. I remember doing the homework for my first Bible study I did at home. It seemed so overwhelming. I would even split Day 1 into three days because it seemed like the longest thing ever. But it’s that old tale, the turtle who is slow and steady somehow beats the rabbit who was first out of the gate.
If I can start, so can you. I challenge you to spend five minutes in His Word today. Maybe you can take the SOAP method and just spend a few minutes writing about what spoke to you in that reading. I’m promising you, you won’t be sorry. And you will be pleasantly surprised when, if you miss a day, you feel incomplete and just like your day is missing something.
Have a marvelous day!