by: Leigh Ann Napier
This summer, I found myself not having a particular Bible Study to dive into and mentioned to my mentor that I was reading through Proverbs but was feeling like I was missing an ingredient in actually connecting and applying what I was reading. It felt weird to not have the pretty book with someone asking me questions to think about and ideally a group of women to talk to about what we are learning (not to mention the fellowship). I felt like I was trying to study the Bible naked and I felt out of place. Having a group and a book help me to not get distracted and I enjoy having someone else help me through the tougher verses, hear what others got from the same passage, and leave with a deeper understanding of the Bible Study.
When possible, group studies are great. But if you find yourself using your lack of time or availability for a group that works with your schedule as excuses for not studying your Bible then this will hopefully help you as much as it has me. I recognize that it is a privilege for me to have my own Bible, the ability to read it, and the freedom to read it without being persecuted for it. Still though, like I said, I felt like I wasn’t “getting it” somehow when I was just reading through it on my own. My mentor suggested that when I read the Bible, apart from a guided study, that I have a notebook and a pen with me and after I read a section, ask myself these 3 questions:
1)What does this say about God?
2)What does this say about me?
3) How can I apply this to my life?
Sometimes I apply this to a whole chapter. Sometimes I apply it to just a small chunk of what I’ve read. I am amazed at how much better I am grasping what I am reading, learning about the character and qualities of God, hearing directly from His Word what He wants little ole’ me to see in my life that relates to what I read, and then lastly and most importantly, I am seeing ways to apply what I am reading rather than just reading to read and have that marked “done” on my to-do list. (These questions are also great to use when reading Bible stories to your children. Allow them to answer those same three questions after you’ve shared a truth with them.)
I don’t think any of us go into our time with God wanting just a check mark to be all we gain. But it does happen sometimes! The important thing is to recognize when something isn’t working and then stop making excuses and do something about it. My personality still hopes to see you soon in a group Bible study so I can hug you, see your beautiful smile, & eat yummy snacks but until then, don’t be intimidated to grab your Bible, a notebook and a pen and dive in all by yourself.