My friend Traver recently sent out an email with a question someone from our house church network had asked him. He wanted to know why people say they are in a Bible study when often the primary text they are reading is not the Bible? Traver immediately got his point and so did I as I read the email.
It also made me think back to a few years ago. At that time I was always excited to start new Bible Studies. I pursued knowledge wherever I could and was an avid reader. Looking back though I remember many times being bummed when we had a lot of Bible verses to look up for the study or long Bible passages to read. I wanted to get to the "good stuff", the commentaries by the author of the study.
Looking back now, I can clearly see how absolutely ridiculous it was that I was not wanting to read much of my Bible for the "Bible" study. However at that time it never occurred to me that my thinking was illogical.
I'm still an avid reader, however I'm working to include much more actual Bible reading and I'm praying a lot more. I still love my share of fiction books, but I find myself reading less and less of it. I've also noted I tend to take longer to read things now. Instead of just powering through something I tend to stop and ponder what the author is saying. And I tend to turn back to God's Word to compare on my own what the author is saying to what God says.
The second CD I had listened to during my trip regarding Living a Focused Life, dealt with Bible Study. Mike Bickle has two suggestions for studying God's Word. One is to read large sections each day. The one plan he has would get you through the New Testament once a month. Can you imagine what God could teach you if you read the New Testament 12 times a year! The other method is to read much smaller sections at a time along with a couple commentaries. You then reflect prayerfully on what you've read, paraphrase what the passage is about and write what you've learned from it. I think this would be very effective as I am a note-taker and find things stick with me much more when I write them down in my own words and write down my thoughts.
I'm relistening to this CD, because I had originally listened to it late at night and I'm not sure I got the details down very well. I think I'm going to try a bit of a combination of the two ways Mike suggests. Mike's main point is that we need to schedule in our Study Time as I discussed in a previous post and we need to be focused on how we are studying the Bible. If we don't have a plan in place, we will tend to wander and not get much out of our study.
The other thing God is showing me is the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom. I am trying to ensure I pray before and during my study times. I want to pursue God's Wisdom, not just knowledge. It is easy to start pursuing knowledge for the sake of knowledge and lose sight of our real goal, developing a relationship with the Lord.
Do you have a scheduled time to study God's Word each day? Even it if is only 30 minutes, it is a start and will flame that desire to dive in more. Do you have a focused plan for studying God's Word or do you just float around from book to book, passage to passge without getting much out of it?
I'm working on my schedule right now and will share it with all of you. One, to give you an example and two, so I'm held a bit more accountable for sticking to my schedule. Remember even keeping the schedule 80% of the time will result in changes in your life as you become focused on what is important to you. I'll also be sharing some of the wisdom God imparts to me as I begin my focused study of His Word.