South African Christian Network for Women - Cup of Faith

Defining your own style of Bible Study

A few months ago, I started a new study of the book of Romans. With my highlighters, sticky notes, washi tape and guided Bible Study at the ready, I was convinced that I was going to finally get around to finishing the book of Romans in 40-days.

Spoiler: I didn’t.

In fact, after only 4 – maybe, 5 days – I lost interest and gave up. Actually, I avoided it… for weeks!

This is something I do OFTEN – I gather all my supplies, sit down with the intention of really digging into the word, and then… boom, I give up. And it got me thinking WHY?

I think it has a lot to do with the idea of what Bible Studies should look like, or at least, the thought that it should look a certain way.

For years, I watched my gran study her Bible and saw her write in hundreds of notebooks scattered around the house – she wrote down her prayers, thoughts and learnings from the Bible, and I don’t think I have ever seen her not underline and write notes in the margins of her Bibles. Just reading that, I can imagine exactly how each letter looked in her distinctive, messy, script which she always attributed to years of Bible studies. Her style of Bible Study is so much like her; it’s never in one place, it’s considerate and includes a prayer for everyone in our family, it’s messy, it’s raw, it’s continuous like the conversation she is always having with God. It’s beautiful and it’s her.

When I first started sharing my faith journey, I was very inspired by Bible Journalling. I love seeing how the word can be used to create these wonderful and encouraging spreads and especially like the artsy and creative Bibles that have been handpainted. For a while, I tried my hand at Bible Journalling, bought all the supplies and would attempt to create my own spreads but to be quite honest, I am not creatively talented; I can’t draw, am not much of a painter and while I love beautiful scripts, I am way better at anything from behind a computer! I started getting uncomfortable with my imperfect Bible Journalling spreads that felt rather permanent in my Bible, which I treasure very much, and instead of enjoying the process, found myself getting stressed out and again, avoiding my Bible.

Lately, I have found myself absorbed by these wonderful and thorough Bible Studies. I find it fascinating how people are able to cross-reference, have hundreds of sticky notes, creative tabs, and messy notes that look the perfect amount of messy. I found myself wanting to dive deep into the word so I could also create notes, cross reference, and REALLY study the Bible. I want to get to know Jesus on a deeper level and fooled myself into thinking the highlighters and co-ordinated sticky notes would help me get there.

But, as I am sure you can guess… it didn’t.

I found that I loved digging deep into the Bible and it really helped me understand the things that I might have missed if I were reading without the intention of looking further. However, I also recognize that I don’t always have the energy for such an in-depth Bible Study and my mistake is that I keep thinking that’s the ONLY way to study.

It isn’t.

For years, my style of Bible Study looked a lot like my gran’s. My notes are shared across several Bibles, and multiple notebooks. I have prayers scribbled in old diaries, written on scraps of paper and saved in draft folders. I’d like to think that if my future allows and maybe one day I have grandchildren, that they may stumble upon these early notes and recognize themselves in my own journey like I have, so many times when reading my gran’s notes and studies.

I need to remind myself that there’s no perfect way to studying the Bible; some days, it looks like spending 10-minutes reading a chapter you’ve read 100 times, other days, it looks like writing a phrase taken from scripture and memorising it, and for some, it might look like beautiful spreads or in-depth study notes decorated with highlighters and washi tape. Whatever your style, I hope that the idea of what Bible Studying should look like, never stops you from picking up your Bible. After all, if you really want to get to know Jesus, you just have to open the book.

1 Comment
  • Jacquelyn | A Heavenly Home
    Posted at 23:05h, 28 January Reply

    So true! What works for one person may not work for another. I’m the type that enjoys reading the Bible in a somewhat haphazard fashion depending upon what is on my mind at that moment. However, when I want to do an in-depth study, I use one of two methods: 1. I pick a topic and find all the corresponding passages using an exhaustive concordance, or 2. I follow a Bible study guide from a source I trust.

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