Don’t you just love books? ME TOO! I honestly love nothing more than a really, really great story (okay, there are people I love much more than a good story, but you get my point, right?)! Doesn’t matter much to me if it’s fiction or non-fiction. A good story has got me HOOKED from the get-go!
And I just love the Bible and Bible study! I’m totally geeky for it! Like any good book, the Bible has all the familiar stuff you’d want inside–fascinating characters, amazing plots, unexpected twists and turns, life altering morals, miraculous endings, and cliff hangers that make you absolutely crave the next story!
…”The Scriptures say: No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.” Matthew 4:4, Contemporary English Version
My pulse is racing just thinking about it all! It’s God-inspired, Jesus-enriched goodness all in one awesome package! Can you even believe it?! I’m not kidding! I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! And here’s the kicker – it’s NO fairy tale! It’s a journey to faraway lands, complete with kings, queens, princesses, knights in shining armor, and the worst villains you’ve ever encountered. But the hero, oh the sweet hero, is unlike anything you can imagine – and yes, I am referring to Jesus here!
Have I whet your appetite for adventure? Ready to take a journey with me into the best story you’ve ever laid your hands on? Yeah? Well then, like any successful trip you take, you’re going to need to prepare a little ahead of time so you can sit back and enjoy every little bit of the ride!
Top Tip 1: You NEED a Bible
Okay. This kind of goes without saying, right? I mean Bible Study without a Bible would just be, well, study. And that doesn’t necessarily sound all that exciting, does it?!
Get yourself whatever kind of Bible works for you. You can click here to access my tips for getting the best Bible for you! You can get a physical “hard” copy of it, access one of many different electronic versions, or even grab an audio version of your favorite translation. The important thing is to HAVE one that you can relate to, easily navigate, and UNDERSTAND!
Top Tip 2: A Willingness to Learn and Be Changed
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3, NIV.
The living, breathing word of God has the power and might to move your mind up to places you cannot even imagine! Diving into the Bible, learning what God has in store for you, how He loves and cares for you, and what He is speaking for you/to you is LIFE changing!
But in order to experience that power, you need to want it. You need to be willing to hear Him and let His spirit change you from the inside out! You need to be willing, in some cases, to get out of your own way and let Him in.
How do you do that? Tell Him! Pray a little something like this:
“Father, I am so glad to be coming to you with an open mind and hungry spirit! I ask you to keep me open and humble to what you have to show me through the study of your mighty word. Encourage me along the way to stay the course and motivate me to do the work. I know your plans for me are good ones and I am willing to do the work to exact holy change into my life. Thank you for the opportunity to study your word and to do so in safety and with the fellowship of others. I am excited to take this journey with you! In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Just you wait and see what happens!
Top Tip #3: A Solid Study
Yes, you can have a successful study with just tips one and two above! But one amazing way to enhance and guide your spiritual growth and knowledge of God’s word is to get yourself a really good study curriculum!
Of course, and I am a little biased here, Stringing Pearls with Wendie runs pretty awesome Bible studies year round both on this blog and in groups in our local area. But if you aren’t local or prefer to do a study at your own pace or in the comfort of your own home, there are a myriad of options at your disposal!
Your own church may offer Bible studies; check in with the Adult or Women’s Ministry Director for information on opportunities available. Ask around or even start your own; many nondenominational studies (just like ours here!) began with a few friends just wanting to grow their faith and light fires of revival in our hearts.
Don’t know what study to begin with? Check out your local Christian bookstore for choices! Ask the staff for recommendations and find out what is popular. And of course, if you are a beginner, I highly recommend my beginner study: The K.I.S.S.: Jumping Into the Bible with Both Feet. 😉
The important thing is to pick a good, solid study and see it through in a time frame that is doable for you. The work and the effort you put into it will determine the blessings you get out – just like anything else you do that is worthwhile!
Top Tip #4: An Accountability Partner
Behaviorists say that we need two things to create new habits or change old ones: self-disciple (also known as self-control), AND someone who can help hold us accountable to what we say we are going to do.
I could write an entire book on self-discipline, and much is written about it within the Bible itself! But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to let the Holy Spirit grow that “fruit” in you and for you to do the work to make it happen. Listen to this (my FAVE quote on the subject):
“Self-control is not the ability to say no to bad things. Self-control is the ability to say yes to something so completely that all other options are eliminated–including things that aren’t necessarily bad in themselves but that would distract you from pursuing the thing that is most important and valuable to you.” Danny Silk
So self-discipline is in YOUR court. Accountability, however, is found in the company of others! THIS is where finding yourself a small group or even just one other person to do the study with you comes in very handy!
If you are not currently in a group study, call your church and see if there are any going on! Join a neighborhood study. Google local ministries and see if any offer spiritual guidance or direction. And if none of those pan out, know you can always check in here and leave comments on the blog! I respond to every single one of them. I am already praying for you and will support you through your journey!
Top Tip #5: The extras
Okay. You don’t really “need” any of these next things but they are pretty useful!
- A journal. This is a great way to write down thoughts that come to mind as you are reading, praying, or listening to what God might be impressing on your heart.
- Post-it notes to tag scripture and/or quotes from your study book. This will help you come back to things you may want to revisit, have questions about, or share with others later.
- A pen/pencil and Bible highlighter to make notes in your Bible and highlight verses that spoke to you. (Do NOT use a wet highlighter in your Bible as it will bleed through. You can use a light hued colored pencil or purchase a highlighter that is specifically made for Bibles.) And yes – it is perfectly FINE to write in your Bible! 😉
- Great Christian music. This always helps to set the tone before diving into the scripture and Bible study in general! Worship music speaks to your spirit and gets your mindset focused on God. KLOVE radio is available in many areas of the country and they also have a free app that you can download to your smart phone or tablet that will allow you to listen to their radio stream anytime, anywhere!
So there you have it. My Personal Top 5 Tips to a Successful Bible Study! I’m sure you have your own ideas and I’d love to hear them! Just hit the comment button and type away, sister friends!
Just under two weeks away from starting the RISE 2014 series with YOU! I am beyond excited about it and looking forward to moving our minds UP this winter and spring, aren’t you?
Next week, you’ll get a sneak peek into what our local girls will be getting in the way of Bible study goodies for this series; AND everything you need for additional reading materials, music suggestions, finding out what RISE really means, etc.!
Peace, love, and JOY!