Confession: I am not the best at studying the Bible on my own. I have lots of "reasons" that I can claim for why this is -- I haven't found a good devotional yet. I don't have any time. I'm in church every week anyway. I'm tired today. I have so many things to get done. Etcetera, etcetera.
Maybe you've been there with me?
However things have taken a turn for the better lately. And the funny thing about it is, it leaves me wanting more.
It's kind of like the "sleep produces sleep" theory for babies sleeping (although the jury is still out on if that's actually true). Bible study precedes and produces more Bible study.
Here are five helpful things that have facilitated this change in my life, besides the Holy Spirit doing His thing of course.
1) Women Wrecked// Women Redeemed Bible Study. If you haven't had a chance to join Amanda's Bible study, please check it out here, here, or here! What I love about this study is that it really focuses on reading the bible first, then discussion. It has really encouraged and motivated me to get out my Bible and study just my Bible.
2) Joining a Bible study. God encourages us to meet together and study His Word. I have been regularly attending a Bible study on Sunday following church. Perhaps your church has one that you can join easily? I know, I know. The kids need to nap, and everyone is hungry, and there is so much to be done at home. But just try it for a few weeks. Some weeks your baby might cry or your toddler will start screaming before she even gets to the nursery, but a short hour in the Word and in the fellowship of others while sipping on some coffee is the perfect way to begin your morning. I also joined a mothers' Bible study at our church that meets every other week. Our study consists of reading the bible readings for the next Sunday. I cannot begin to tell you how much that has helped on Sunday to have studied everything a little bit ahead of time. I feel like I am able to get so much more out of the church service, which we all know is difficult with wiggly kiddos.
Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Romans 1: 12, "...that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."
3) My study time isn't strict. Some days I have more time than others, and the time that I study changes from day to day. Some days I only get to read a short devotion from the WELS app on my phone while nursing the baby, or squeeze in a quick read of a Holy Hen House post before bed. Other days, I manage to get both of my children to sleep at the same time, and I can get a good half hour of reading and studying during nap. I don't beat myself up about it (anymore) and do what I can based on the what the day brings. Sometimes it's hard to get away from the all or nothing mentality, but really, something is still better than nothing. Even a short devotion is enough to bring my focus back right where it needs to be.
4) Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. I had gotten so caught up with finding the right devotion that I was missing out on exploring the Bible on my own, but it's not hard! Check out those footnotes. Look up the cross references. Use your concordance. Though I have yet to try it, you can even look up the Bible in its original languages here.
5) Keeping my Bible out where it can easily be seen. It's very easy to forget or get distracted by other things. Keeping my Bible open at the table makes it super easy to remember to get in a quick study during nap time or after the kids are in bed.
Not all of these ideas will work for everyone, I know that. But I'm hoping one or two will help encourage you to get in His Word if you have gotten out of the habit, or give you a few pointers to keep trucking along.
What are some things you do to help get some study time in? Please comment and share your ideas!
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my will and make it thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart -- it is thine own; It shall be thy royal throne. (Hymn 469 vs. 1, 5)