Back last summer, a friend and I were tossing ideas back and forth about what I could teach for the upcoming fall session of Bible study. We kept returning to the prophets and I expressed doubt--well founded doubt--on my ability to adequately teach such an intimidating subject. Finally, my friend and I decided that our goal for our particular group was a simple one: to encourage women to love the Word of God. If just one woman, we agreed between ourselves, if just one woman leaves a lesson on on the prophets curious to know more about the Word then, well, we will consider our time well spent.
So I get this email. And I pause and in great humility I praise the Lord for His grace and faithfulness--this is what we asked Him for!--and then I type my response. Here is how I sought to encourage this sweet, eager student of the Word...
You are not alone! I think we all struggle with consistently spending time studying and meditating on God's Word. I know I do! I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but here's a couple of things I do/have done.
Read through the Bible. There are all sorts of Bible reading plans out there! Just a simple google search will turn up tons. So many times we put this off until January 1 but there's no magic in beginning at the new year nor even in beginning in Genesis 1 for that matter! There are plans that are just the gospels, just the New Testament, two year plans, six month plans, etc. Find a plan that appeals to you and begin today. Just reading the Word and gaining a "big picture" perspective as well as increased familiarity have been greatly encouraging to me.
Work through studies and books that have a daily Scripture reading and questions. Here are a couple I'm familiar with and highly recommend:
- The Living Word Bible study series by Kathleen Nielson (links to the study on John but there are several others in the series)
- Joy!: A Bible Study on Philippians for Women by Keri Folmar
Memorize Scripture. This is something I'm not very good at but really want to be better. When I do try to be more diligent, I use Desiring God's Fighter Verses app for my phone but again there are probably multiple scripture memory helps out there. I like that there are several memorization tools within the app as well as various tracks to choose from. For instance you can memorize whole sections of Scripture and the app breaks it down into weekly memory verses.
Remember what your goal is. Sometimes I get so hung up on checking the little boxes for my daily reading plan or memory verse and feeling so guilty when I miss that I tend to just give up altogether. I have to ask myself: is the point really reading Bible through in a year...or is it to know the Word and thereby to know God and to love Him more? If its the second then I can repent for missing yesterday (and the day before and the day before and...) and set my heart to seek Him TODAY. True confessions: I totally dropped the ball for a couple of months this summer. Ok, more than that. I picked back up with October's reading (totally skipping all those books of the Bible I was supposed to have read before) and, yet, still, today I read the entry for October 27. :) But there is grace, much grace, and the Lord promises to meet the seeking heart with Himself. He is so good!
Hope that helps! If not, email me back and ask me more questions. I love questions like this and it encourages me more than you know!
How much do I love God's Word and how much do I love seeing others grow in that same desire! May the Lord grant us all a hunger to grow in the knowledge of Him through the diligent study of His Word!
What encouragement would you offer to someone eager to spend time in God's Word more consistently?