Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How to Read & Study the Bible + YouTube Video

Today’s post is something different but extremely exciting for my blog. I have been wanting to start a faith-based blog series and thought this post would be the best introduction.

I wanted to highlight a few ways that I delve into the word and how I take notes and study the scripture. 

When I was beginning to work on this post I looked at other girl’s tips and fell upon Cambria Joy’s video about this topic. I loved how she put it that reading your Bible is not an obligation but an invitation. You want to spend time with God through his word because you want to not simply because you feel like you need to. It shouldn’t be something that burdens your to-do list or that you feel pressure to accomplish every day.

*Disclaimer: We all have different relationships with God and that goes along with us reading the Bible, praying, taking notes etc all differently. This is how I find I get the most out of my time reading the Bible, but I understand we all have different things that work best for us!

To jump in you are going to start by obtaining a Bible (obviously haha). Or it’s great because with the Internet you can always go the route of using an app. There are different translations and versions, and it is entirely up to you what you choose to pick. I personally read from an NIV or New International Version. It’s truly up to personal opinion. It’s also interesting to cross-reference with different versions to see how they use slight differences in wording. It can sometimes make you think in a different perspective as well.

Still, to this day I can read a passage and not have a clue what it was saying. Which was kind of one of my excuses for not reading the Bible. If y’all are in the same boat do not get discouraged! Like most things, practice makes perfect, and the same goes for reading your Bible. It’s one of those things where you notice something different every time you read a passage. So if you read one passage today and then a month from today you will pick up on something new. And even better the message behind that passage can finally click with you!

If you try this and still don’t see it resonating with you, use your greatest tool aka the internet. There are lots of websites, blog, e-books, physical books and more that look into specific passages or topics. 

Another method I have for reading the Bible, and is probably the most popular, is to take notes. Whenever I am reading my Bible or listening to a sermon I have a notebook and pen at the ready. If we’re being honest, this is also a great way to force yourself to pay attention to church or a Bible study. It helps reinforce everything you listened to. 

Also if you’re overwhelmed, cause goodness knows I am sometimes too. A great start is to just focus on maybe one key verse. Go on to Pinterest and look up verses to read and maybe memorize. You don’t need to think you have to read the entire Bible in a month. Instead of chewing off more than you can chew, start small and work up to reading full passages. Take it verse by verse.

Another great way to get more out of reading the word is by using devotional books. This is something I have done since I was little doing Vacation Bible Camps. There are so many devotional books out there, and once again can seem overwhelming and frustrating for if you’re just starting out. I would suggest finding one that focuses on a specific topic that is heavy on your heart. Maybe you’re in college, just like me, and want a specific study for college students. Or maybe you are interested in a certain book of the Bible that you want to start in. The world is your oyster. (I'm super bad with sayings so that may not fit the context, ha! But we'll just roll with it.)

Something similar to devotionals is just Christian literature. One of my absolute favorite authors is Melanie Shankle not only is she hilarious but she also has a blog. She has written three books about her life and all of them show the application of God in them. I think it’s comforting to see that in other people’s lives. I also find this is a less intimidating approach than just opening up your Bible and going to town. You can never go wrong with C.S. Lewis as well, I have enjoyed every book of his thoroughly. Mere Christianity is especially well-known because it talks about how he came to Christ and how he believes that Christ is real.

I also wanted to hit on a movie that I watched with my family over Christmas break. The book turned movie is called ‘The Case for Christ’ it tells the true story of an Atheist-Turned-Christian man. He worked at the Chicago Tribune and started an investigation to prove that faith is a work of fiction, only to find himself believing at the end. Y’all the waterworks were real, I would definitely recommend it. I’m not sure if it’s still on Netflix but track it down it’s so worth it!

(Kinda) Fun Fact: He goes to Willow Creek Church in the movie and we've actually been to a branch out here in the suburbs!

Another great part of Christianity is the community. It’s nice to have a Bible study group or just a close friend who can provide a different perspective. It can also be a great way to reach out if you have questions about faith. You can find community within a church, on campus, or through ministries, the options are endless. (Maybe the 'oyster' saying would fit here better?!) This provides a great way to inspire you to read and understand the Bible.

This next thing is something that I don’t do but want to start up this summer. And that is a prayer journal! I absolutely love this idea! For all my college-aged readers or people who just can’t seem to find alone time to verbally say a prayer, it’s a great option to have your prayer requests written down when you're getting coffee or in between class.

That’s a wrap for this first post. I hope you guys found this helpful, and maybe even inspired you to pick up your Bible! It can definitely be intimidating after all the font is super small. There is a lot of content in it, and I hope these few ways I shared can help you tackle that fear.

Also!! I made a video version of this post on my YouTube channel! I'm still pretty awkward with talking in front of the camera but I'd love it if y'all watched it!

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