I first started having consistent personal Bible study somewhere along middle school and high school. My mom would come upstairs, tuck me into bed (yes…all the way up until the night before my wedding!), and then I would pull out my Beth Moore Bible study and dig in for a few minutes before falling asleep. In college, I remember sitting in the hall of my dorm reading Purpose Driven Life my freshman year. Then later when I had an apartment, I woke up extra early for Bible study before heading off to our recreation center for an hour of exercise in the pool before classes (the one and only time in my life I exercised regularly after gaining 10 pounds in Thailand!). In the last five years since college, there have been seasons where I didn’t have a personal Bible study time at all, seasons where it was a brief snippet here and there, and times when I really dug into God’s Word consistently.
The point is even in my life alone, personal Bible study has looked different at different seasons of my life. This is not a post about the importance of rising early for your Bible study time or condoning any specific “formula”. If you are taking this journey with me, I doubt you need me to stress the importance of personal Bible study in one’s personal walk with God. You know it’s important just as much as I do, but for some reason that doesn’t make it any easier to do. The point of this post is to encourage you to figure out what works for YOU, and then do everything you can to put that plan into action.
Intentional Bible Study Requires Intentional Planning
When will you do your Bible Study?
Six months ago, I was able to wake up about 30 minutes before my son to fit in my Bible study and prayer time. After this pregnancy zapped me of my energy, I finally allowed myself to do my Bible study at the kitchen table in the mornings while Thomas watches a movie. Is this my ideal? Not really. But it’s working for us right now, and this method is definitely better than doing nothing at all!
So I encourage you to give yourself some grace, lower your expectations a little bit, and think of when you can fit in some personal Bible study time. Maybe during your lunch break at work? Perhaps during nap time? After the kids are all tucked into bed in the evening? First thing in the morning? Maybe while waiting in the carpool line? God will meet you whenever you seek Him.
Where will you do your Bible Study?
Your when will most likely dictate your where, but if not, decide now where you will do your Bible study. For me, the kitchen table works best because I’m less likely to fall back asleep and I can easily see whatever Thomas is doing. Plus, I’m usually eating my bowl of cereal. If you plan to do your Bible study during your lunch break, will you stay in your office, take a walk to a nearby park, go to your car for more privacy? Perhaps you’re staying home, Kat at Inspired to Action talks about her “mom cave” where she does her Bible study. That worked for me for a season when I was waking early. God will meet you wherever you seek Him.
What do you need to do your Bible Study?
Now that you’ve tacked the when and the where, what will you do? What is your Bible study plan? I will include some resources below, but I highly recommend that the bulk of your time be spent actually reading and studying Scripture itself. There are lots of awesome books out there (I know…I have a stack to read too!)(check out this post from Amy at Gospel Homemaking about picking out “good” books!), but Scripture is the only place you can go and be assured that you are reading God’s Words to you. Spend most of your time there, and use other resources as needed to supplement and encourage your own study of His word. Here are some great tools/resources for learning to do this:
- Focused 15 by Katie Orr: Katie walks you step by step through how to study God’s work independently in about 15 minutes per day. GREAT resource if you’ve never done this on your own before.
- Quench Bible Studies by Lara Williams, Abby Sutton, and Katie Orr: Uses the same general method as Focused 15.
- Various Methods of Bible Study (a blog series by Jenni Mullinix)
- Hello Mornings: a group that encourages each other via social media (for those wanting to get up early for Bible study)
- Bible Study Fellowship: groups that meet weekly all across the world to study God’s Word together. Find a group near you!
- The 5 P’s of Bible Study: A series on a specific Bible study method from the ladies at Intentional by Grace
- All About Quiet Time: More from Intentional by Grace!
- Reading a Book of the Bible: a great challenge from Amy at Gospel Homemaking
Those should definitely give you a good start! You will also need materials: a copy of the Bible, a notebook, your Bible study material if you choose to use one, a pen, and anything else you want to use. Gather all of those materials ahead of time and put them in your special spot for Bible study. I keep everything in a shoulder bag in a chair at the end of our table, so it’s waiting for me when I get there in the morning. Seeing it there also serves as a reminder if I miss for some reason.
So what method and/or materials are you going to use to study God’s Word? What do you need to gather up and put in your special spot? God will meet you when you seek Him through His Word.
What is your next step? Decide when, where, and what you will use to study God’s Word.
Let me know in the comments what is working for you or what your new plan is! You never know, it might give another reader just the idea they need to get started.
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