I haven't posted in a couple days - always makes me feel like a slacker! :) It was a busy weekend. I made 2 cakes (4 mixes, a tiered cake and a double (the normal homemade size) sheet cake). Then I decided I hated them and started over. Lots of cake this weekend. In that process my house got ignored, my blog got ignored and unfortunately so did my Bible!
Sooo, since we are doing a study on how to study the Bible on Monday nights AND I'm a Bible reading slacker I figured it'd be a good post.
Here is what I do...
1) Using a Study
Sometimes I use a study guide for reading the Bible. It helps me to stay focused and the variety of topics keeps me interested. I am a HUGE fan of Beth Moore and am currently working on her Paul Bible study. Essentially with this one and all of her 90 day books you read a short section of scripture, answer a couple questions, she elaborates and the gives room for further thought and prayer. I really like these because I like filling stuff out - it makes me remember what I am learning and makes me put thought into it!
2) Using Shepherd's Notes
On this one it is more a chapter by chapter study of a particular book of the Bible. They give an overview of the entire book and then you'd read a chapter the read the corresponding notes. Think Spark Notes for the Bible. They also include three questions at the end of each chapter so again, I feel like I learn more when I write down my answers although they are a great reference as well.
3) What is On My Heart
Fortunately I feel like I know the Bible well enough that sometimes I just feel prompted to hit Psalms, or revisit a particular section about a particular feeling/focus/thought that I have at the time. I am not a fan of the "whatever page the Bible falls open to" approach but when I need to focus on something I have no problem being choosy.
4) Group Studies
Occasionally I'll get motivated to do a group study like Experiencing God but that is still a day-by-day study that you just get together and talk about. I don't think getting in my Bible JUST once a week is enough for me so I like things that keep me in it during the week. This one is set up for 5 days a week which would work great for me because I'm terrible about doing quiet time on the weekends.
5) Picking A Verse Apart
Occasionally God will knock me over the head with a verse and I can get it out of my mind. Then I use sources like StudyLight.org to look up the greek/hebrew words, figure out what the originally meant then retranslate it back into what it means to me. My favorite example is the "Do everything without grumbling and complaing" verse in Philippians. Did you know that meant EVEN IN MY HEAD?!?!? That verse just got a lot harder!
For myself I am not a fan of the "read the Bible in a year programs" because I get VERY checklist-y and get so that I may have read it but I didn't spend any time trying to understand it. I also try to stay away from reading books about God/Christianity/The Bible exclusively because I feel like it is important to read God's word directly too not just what other people think about it. (That being said I do read those books, but in addition to Bible reading, not instead of).
Anyway, that is an overview of some of the methods that I use to read the Bible. Usually when I finish a particular study or type of study I move on to something else to make sure I am staying in the word and keeping it varied enough to keep my attention. Again, I like to write things out but maybe some people would like to draw what they learned - to each his own as long as we are being faithful right?
So, how do YOU study the Bible?