A few weeks ago, the sweet Brittany from Happy Is A Choice decided to start an online Bible study for bloggers. For months I have been praying about joining a small group or Bible study group, so when this opportunity popped up, you bet I signed up! It fit my schedule, and seemed like a good opportunity to meet new people from all over!
((And for those of you asking, YES, online Bible studies DO work and YES you can build authentic, encouraging relationships with people online.))
The book we chose to work through is A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study: A Refreshingly Unique Look at God’s Word by Jen Hatmaker. (Jen is such a relatable & enlightening writer!) I was so excited to read this book because Bible study is hard for me. Sure, I can open up into Psalms or James and read a few verses/chapters, but actually digging into the meaning can be tough. Also, it’s so important for Christ-followers to read and study God’s Word daily, and sometimes you just don’t know how or where to start or what to do exactly.
This first week was to really help identify your thoughts about and problems with personal Bible study, methods of Bible study, the importance of the Holy Spirit, and introducing journaling. Let me tell you- I learned so much!
One of the major things I learned to face is my fear of personal Bible study. In the past, I’ve always studied the Bible using a study book, or having a daily devotional book. When those books were finished, it might have been a few weeks before I started another one, so my time with Him was dry during that time since I was so dependent on having a book to read along with. Instead of fearing that His Word would change me (which I so desperately want It to do!), my biggest fear was reading and not understanding what I read, or its importance in my life. We cannot be fully refined for His purposes or broken for His holiness if we submit only to the parts of Scripture we can easily comprehend. (p32)
The second major thing I learned is that I need to ask the Holy Spirit for help, guidance, and understanding about the Bible. God sent the Holy Spirit for those exact purposes- to be our advisor, encourager, comforter, strengthener, interceder, etc. All I need to do when I’m studying the Bible is ask Him for wisdom and understanding! I need to invite Him to meet me in the Word. God wants to adore us, Jesus wants to redeem us, the Holy Spirit wants to teach us. (p47)
The third take-away from this week’s reading is that journaling is more than, “this is what I read, here’s what it means to me”… it’s my conversations with God as I read Scripture. Writing is a tangible tool to connect with God as you travel from infancy to maturity. (p62) I need to spend more time focusing on less Scripture and writing through it as a conversation with God.
Basically, this first week was a wakeup call for me telling me I don’t need to fear personal Bible study because the Holy Spirit will guide me, and I can converse with God as I read and journal through His Word. Probably a totally simple concept to everyone else out there, but I needed the reminder and encouragement to push myself to do this!
And let me tell you- this week has been great! I’ve spent time with God every evening (when I’m most focused and less stressed) and written page upon page of things I’m learning. I’ve really worked through some mental blocks with my fears of personal Bible study, realized the importance of the Holy Spirit, and started understanding what it is to journal and learn from God through that. I’m so looking forward to the upcoming weeks of study, and can’t wait to see what He teaches me!