A Simplified Approach to Studying God’s Word
To gain a deeper understanding of who God is and how I can be in connection with Him, I’ve always turned to an important resource: the Bible.
Since I was a kid I’ve read and studied the Bible, but it wasn’t until this year that I felt I found a simplified approach to studying God’s word.
Throughout my life, in preparing for and spending time with the Lord, I’d often question: What should I study? How should I study? What tools and resources will help me understand it better? Is there a deeper meaning than I’m able to figure out?
I often felt paralyzed with where to begin and a bit unequipped with what to do once my Bible was open. I would pray and ask God to guide and direct me. I relied on supplemental resources and Bible studies to act as companions. While these were good things, what truly stood in my way was self-doubt as it related to my ability to study and comprehend the Bible.
My Simplified Approach to Bible Study
While processing through my goals for 2019, I decided on one thing: I needed to break free from this need for the “perfect quiet time.” I needed to get back to the basics – just me, the Bible, and God. Along with this realization came an idea: to read through 12 books of the Bible; one book per month. To simplify it even further, I decided I’d start with Matthew and continue working my way through the New Testament (and eventually continue reading in the Old Testament).
My goal was to grow in my connection with God. To do that, I needed to be in His Word regularly. To keep from getting stuck, I needed some structure. To give myself the opportunity to form my own thoughts and opinions, I had to quiet the noise by removing supplemental materials.
Starting in January, I sat down with my Bible and began to read a few chapters a day. Within a few weeks, I realized I was finally onto something. Day after day, I knew exactly where to begin. Some days, I felt I gleaned wisdom. Others, I felt like I simply read words on a page. The simple obedience of being in the Word on a regular basis produced fruit and I soon realized I had been making it a bit too complicated all along.
The Fruit of Simplified Bible Study
Focusing on perfection during my quiet time kept it from being meaningful. When I relieved the pressure and let all of that go, I was in a better posture to receive what the text had to offer.
I realized it’s not realistic to experience grand revelations every day and in turn discovered that it’s okay to feel bored, challenged, confused, or any other emotion. God designed the Bible as a resource. It’s never going to make perfect sense, but we can bring questions and concerns to Him.
There were days where I found the Bible provided the wisdom I needed to get through the day. Better yet, as I read the Bible in the order it was arranged, themes I had previously missed while reading sporadically became apparent and new connections were made.
By simplifying my Bible study time, I read through the New Testament much faster than I anticipated. Starting with Matthew in January, I found myself wrapping up Revelation at October’s end. Little by little, the focus and dailiness allowed me to read through the entire New Testament in a period I envisioned reading through twelve books. While it’s not important how slowly or quickly the Bible is read, it amazed me to see how much more I read when my focus remained simple.
If the thought of studying the Bible ever overwhelms you, I encourage you to give this practice a try. God wants to be in relationship with us. He doesn’t expect perfection. Connecting with Him can be as simple as opening up your Bible and reading a few chapters a day. Whatever else you need, He’ll provide.
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