Six Steps to Confidently Dive Into God's Word
Updated: Feb 14, 2019
There are many great Bible study guides and books to choose from! There are also all kinds of Bible study groups you can join – Bible Study Fellowship, Community Bible Study and various groups at local churches.
Those can all be essential part of your health and growth as a follower of Christ.
However, I want to let you in on a very simple, tried and true method that I use in my “QT” (quiet time). Anyone can use this simple process with any book of the Bible!
I know that if we had our ‘druthers’ we’d love to spend unlimited time each day studying the Bible, praying and journaling. However….I know you are a very busy person and want a method that’s helpful, edifying and targeted but recognizes the constraints of time and a busy schedule!
My beautiful friend, Jacque Elliott, spent decades devoted to doing “deep-dives” into God’s Word. Her ministry was dedicated to helping others gain the confidence that they could open up any book of the Bible - on their own and in partnership with the Holy Spirit – and know how to start reading and studying in a practical, personal way.
I had the privilege of Jacque living with me for about two months “way back” in about 1998. One day she asked me, “Edi, how is your time with the Lord going? What have you been reading and studying?” I hate to admit it but I had to stammer and hem-haw around a bit.
I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t really doing anything on my own in God’s Word. Yes, I was in a Bible study at my church, I attended Sunday school and church every week. I thought of myself as a devoted Christian. However, when it came to having the confidence to dive into the Bible by myself, well – I felt woefully inept.
Jacque asked me if I would like to learn her “method” for Bible study by walking through the book of Genesis with her. Yes! I was eager to spend that time with her! I had my own private discipler, guide and teacher in my home!
So, for the next many weeks, day by day, Jacque and I spent time together and I came away with the process that has stayed with me ever since! I recently had a friend tell me that she still uses this method – years after I introduced her to it while I was learning it myself! Over the years I’ve adapted it a bit, but it’s basically the same step by step method Jacque taught me!
I’ve created a downloadable step-by-step freebie for you to print out, glue or staple into your notebook/journal or fold up and keep tucked into your Bible (maybe to mark your place as you work through whatever book you choose first!) Go here to get the freebie!
Below is a summary of the process (although the freebie will include more guidance, a more detailed step-by-step roadmap and some examples to get you started.) Don’t get overwhelmed! When you read through the steps all at once, it can seem overwhelming! Just remember, the freebie gives you a step-by-step process and even some template pages that you can copy, put in a binder and use yourself.
Baby steps, my friend!
To give you an idea of how this works for me, most days I spend only about 15 minutes on this Bible study. (Should I admit that? It sure seems like I’m shortchanging my relationship with God.) Some days I have the luxury of spending a lot more time, but 15 minutes is my average. The real benefit is not necessarily the amount of time, however. Rather it is that by studying this way – you’ll find that you will be listening to Him throughout as His words and the Holy Spirit guide you.
You aren’t answering someone else’s made-up, pre-fab questions (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) It’s you, God, His Holy Spirit, the Bible, your pen and paper.
Besides the great benefit of devoting this brief regular time in His word, you are also creating a beautiful record of what He teaches you during these special, personal times with Him. I frequently flip back to my notes from previous books I’ve studied in this way and I’m reminded how God ministered to me uniquely for whatever was going on in my life at the time.
I want to encourage you to set a goal for yourself that’s realistic to get started. Depending on the season of your life (big kids, little kids, no kids, working, not working, etc.) you may or may not realistically be able to devote time each and every day. Start with three times a week! Some weeks I do this every morning. Some weeks - maybe only once. It’s not to be a legalistic, required regimen!
By giving yourself this freedom I bet you’ll find that you start wanting to spend this time with Him more and more frequently! He doesn’t want you to invite Him in out of a sense of obligation, but because you can’t wait to be with Him!
Remember – He is the Creator! YOUR Creator…and He knows you perfectly. He knows what you need and He understands you!
Ready? Here goes…
1. Pick a book
Pick any book (of the Bible).
2. Background info
Read introductory material about the book in your study Bible, or use any number of commentaries, Bible study aids, and so on. I make notes about all this information in my journal…it becomes great, quick-reference background material and really helps give context to the book.
3. Quick read-through
Quickly read through the entire book. (Depending on the book, this could take anywhere from one sitting – think Philemon, to several weeks – think Isaiah!
4. Chapter by chapter
Go back to the beginning and focus on each chapter. One chapter at a sitting. Read the chapter, then you’ll capture a quick summary in your own words, write a pithy chapter title, choose one verse to write out, and then write how you can put what you’ve read into action. This step is really the main part of this entire process, because this is what you will be doing day in and day out as you spend more intentional time on each chapter of the book.
5. Book Title
After you’ve completed each individual chapter, write a “book title” in your own words to serve as a “hook” for you to remember in your own way what that book in its entirety means to you.
6. Book Summary
Finally, do a summary of the book in your own words. This captures what God’s shown you personally – you as an individual child of His, at this particular moment of your life, going through the unique circumstances you are living.
So there you have it! I can’t encourage you strongly enough to go download the freebie “Six Steps to Confidently Dive into God’s Word”. God bless you as you step out to seek Him more and more each day!
He desires to hang out with you! So grab a cup of coffee, curl up in your coziest corner, and invite Him to join you!