5 Unique Ways to Study the Bible

Over the years, I have gone through dozens of bible studies all filled with their own flavor and approach to study the bible. Some were very straight forward and some were like a recipe for relationship with Jesus that took several ingredients and steps to create something to feast on. I have learned and gleaned from all of them and after over a decade of pouring into God’s Word, I have found some unique ways to study the word that I believe will liven up your daily quiet time.

  1. Understanding : Over the years, I have learned that simply reading the Word, no frills, is deeply needed for our development and understanding of who we are and what we were created to do. Without understanding the Word of God, we are missing out on reading the manual of our identity. It’s like skipping the instructions for putting together a 200-piece furniture set. Somewhere, you’re going to get it wrong. Of course, while God is very straight forward, some translations are easier to read than others: The Message and The Passion Translation* (my favorite).
    • Recommendation 1: Select a book of the Bible, read 1 chapter per day in 2 different translations Recommendation 2: Select a chapter of Scripture, read in both translations, write what you believe is the message to be learned.
  2. Breaking It Up & Piecing Together: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but as a puzzle lover and a girl who LOVES a good treasure hunt, this is my favorite way to get lost in the digging of true treasure. This is time-consuming, but so much fun and so rewarding.
    • Recommendation: Use blueletterbible.org and select 1 verse, word, or chapter to study. You can easily get lost down the rabbit hole, so start simple by playing around on the site and finding out the true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew translations by drawing connections across verses, books, commentaries, cross references, etc. For more information on studying like this, please read, “Mercy Like Morning” by Jane Johnson. AMAZING!!!!!
  3. Psalms & Proverbs: These two books of Scripture are pivotal in not only our understanding of WHO God is, but WHAT He has done. If you are going to seek to understand ANY book, I would start in one of these books.
    • Recommendation: Read each chapter aloud as you would if you were talking to God. For vocabulary that feels more natural, try The Message or The Passion Translation. These are also great starting places to develop a prayer life. Using Scripture can not only develop our understanding, but also build our faith as we recognize all that God has done before.
  4. Truth or Trash: This one is personal and so valuable. How many times have we said something so ugly to ourselves? How many times have we torn ourselves down in an effort to make us feel better? I speak first-handed when I say this. “You just suck at everything. I don’t know why you thought you would be good at this. You are worthless. No one cares about you. Life sucks right now because there’s nothing good at me. Everyone else has great lives and mine is just filled with hardship after hardship.” I know. It sounds awful, but are we even being real with ourselves if we can’ admit the harmful words that leave our mouth?
    • Recommendation: Get real with yourself. Write down every negative thing you believe about yourself, your life, your career, your family, etc. Then, be a truthfinder and find a truth in scripture that negates every negative thought you have. We do this not only because it helps us see the light in the darkness, but because when it comes down to a tough spot, we can cling to the truth.
  5. Pick an Author: While the Word of God is truly the breath of God Himself, there were around 40 people, inspired by God to write the Living Word of God. Each of their writing styles is different and studying the geography, history, and writing style really opens up a lot of our understanding of not only WHO God is, but WHO the people He called are. This is not only valuable for our comprehension of His Word, but for relating to the men He used; broken, sinful, and in need of a Savior. Sound familiar?
    • Recommendation: Choose an author. Choose a book to start. Study the geography, history, and any commentary of the author of that book. You can also use blueletterbible.org for this activity as well.

I hope and pray that this flavors your spiritual feast with richness. Sometimes, in the digging, we find exactly what we are looking for. And sometimes, we may find something we weren’t even looking for. Sometimes, the things we study aren’t to provide answers, but to provide humility, obedience, understanding or forgiveness. These things aren’t always what we come to the Father for, but it’s in these tasks that we not only grow in spiritual maturity, but we grow in our likeness of Jesus. So, get to studying. Get to reading. Get to praying. Get to anything that creates a wildfire in your soul; the treasure you’ll find is priceless.

Bonus: it can’t ever be taken away.

I Don’t Have a Dad; I have a Father

For most of my life, I grew up in a perfect bubble.

Divorce? That’s what other people’s parents did…not mine.

Weird relationships with your dad? Sure…my dad was weird, but I always thought we were close in a way fathers and daughters were.

Stepmoms? Couldn’t relate, other than seeing them in movies.

Arguing parents? Not our house. We had so much fun with family nights and dinners and talking for hours on end.

And then one day, he walked away. Literally. Packed up a suitcase and decided he didn’t want “this” anymore.

I don’t know what heartbreaks have completely shattered your heart and caused you put life on hold just to put all of the pieces back together again. But I do know, with confidence, there is a purpose behind every pain we face.

The thing that destroyed my vision of the future helped me to see through different eyes filled with faith and hope.

The thing that made me question every relationship, helped me to appreciate people in a new way and learn the value of giving people your presence.

The thing that caused grief beyond compare, helped me to feel empathy and compassion to walk into other’s pain.

Most importantly, it led me to where I was supposed to go. Because despite things not working out how they are supposed to (deaths of loved ones, relationships being torn apart, careers taking a different path, and long seasons in the waiting room), God’s plan always illuminates the path to where we should be.

You see, in the midst of me putting all of my trust in people, things, and comforts, I was neglecting a Faithful Father that had been there all along. And unfortunately, He was getting a lot of the blame from me. “How could you do this to me? Why am I being punished? Why does my life continue to be out of alignment with the thing I so deeply want?” We’ve all been there.

And then, I was reminded Who He is and I stopped. The Word gives us invaluable information that not only trust in, but base our lives on.

There are 66 books of the bible filled with knowledge, power, and guidance for us to live a divinely orchestrated life in relationship with a Father who will never leave. And that, my friends, is what good daddy’s do: fill our life with affirmations and truth, guide us back to where we are supposed to be going, help us to fight every battle with power and defenses, and the desire for relationship with us.

In one of my bible studies with Priscilla Shirer, I wrote this down and write it everywhere to remind me of the value and treasure I have within the Word of God and found in each and every book. I hope this helps you to find treasures in each book, no matter how difficult it is to relate to.

  • In Genesis, He is the Breath of Life
  • In Leviticus, He is the High Priest
  • In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb
  • In Numbers, He is the Fire by Night
  • In Deuteronomy, He is Israel’s Guide
  • In Joshua, He is Salvation’s Choice
  • In Judges, He is Israel’s Guard
  • In Ruth, He is the Kinsman-Redeemer
  • In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is Sovereign
  • In Ezra, He is the True & Faithful Scribe
  • In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of Walls
  • In Esther, He is Courage
  • In Job, He is the Timeless Redeemer
  • In Psalms, He is the Morning Song
  • In Proverbs, He is Wisdom
  • In Ecclesiastes, He is the Time & Season
  • In Song of Solomon, He is the Lover’s Dream
  • In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace
  • In Jeremiah, He is the Weeping Prophet
  • In Lamentations, He is the Cry for Israel
  • In Ezekiel, He is the Call from Sin
  • In Daniel, He is the Stranger in the Fire
  • In Hosea, He is Forever Faithful
  • In Joel, He is the Spirit’s Power
  • In Amos, He is the Strong Arms to Carry You
  • In Obadiah, He is the Lord, Our Savior
  • In Jonah, He is the Great Missionary
  • In Micah, He is the Promise of Peace
  • In Nahum, He is our Strength & Shield
  • In Habakkuk & Zephaniah. He is our Revival
  • In Haggai & Zechariah, He is the Restorer of the Lost
  • In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness
  • In the Gospels, He is The Messiah
  • In Acts, He is Reigning Fire from Heaven
  • In Romans, He is the Grace of God
  • In the Corinthians, He is the Power of Love
  • In Galatians, He is Freedom from Sin
  • In Ephesians, He is Glorious Treasure
  • In Philippians, He is the Servant’s Heart
  • In Colossians, He is God & the Trinity
  • In Thessalonians, He is our Calling King
  • In Timothy, Titus, & Philemon, He is the Mediator & Faithful Pastor
  • In Hebrews, He is our Everlasting Courage
  • In James, He is our Healer
  • In Peter, He is the Faithful Shepherd
  • In John & Jude, He is the Lover Coming for His Bride
  • In Revelation, He is the First & Last, our Savior Forever

Wow, talk about a Dad with a resume’. Despite the challenges we face and gaps and imperfections we often find in our relationships with friends, spouses, parents, siblings, or even within ourselves, we can rest in the fact that we have a faithful, timeless, grace-giving, lost-seeking, love-saturated Father ready to lavishly pour every ounce of His gifts on us. And He supplies every need and supplies far more than anything ever taken away from you.

So, while I don’t have a dad, I do have a Father…and sister, so do You.

I’m Not Where I Want to Be & That’s Okay

I’m not where I want to be.

In my world, there are lots of celebrations & I love a good party as much as the next girl. From the scents of roses and peonies to the monogrammed neon lights and the beloved dance floor. & don’t worry…next weekend, I will indulge in the cutest little pink ruffle onesie sugar cookies as we celebrate another beautiful baby girl coming into the world.

But I’m not where I want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore and celebrate my friends. They are where they want to be and it’s a joy to celebrate a check on their dream list. I’m honored I get to be a part of their joy. But I would be lying if I said there weren’t days I cried out to God asking, “When will it be my turn?” And then, I check myself.

But I’m not where I want to be.

In the waiting room, I am finding out more about these “bible characters” we often struggle to relate to. Well, of course we don’t relate…it’s not like I’m dating a guy with 10 syllables in his name. It’s not like I’ve had to leave my country to follow my mother-in-law after all of the men in our family have died. It’s not like a prophet showed up to call me Queen. It’s not like I get to walk with Jesus day after day, with a curious mind and standing in amazement. It’s not like someone walked in to my work and asked me to leave it all behind and follow Him. I mean, am I wrong?

Well, sis, you guessed it…I’m not where I want to be.

In studying scripture, I have found, I’m like all of these people (minus the ten syllable part). I have had to leave comfort before. I have had to stick close to a loved one in a season when I was ready to soar into independence. We have an anointing on our lives as children of the Lord. & I get a closeness with the Lord that those before Him didn’t get the privilege of experiencing; the Holy Spirit. And guess what? We have had someone walk into the mess and ask us to abandon it all to pursue Him.

I’m not where…(hold up)

In the struggle, I have found…I’m not where I want to be, because I’m exactly where God called me to be. In scripture, we get the privilege to read the rest of the story. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, this creates an attitude of entitlement in me. Well, so and so, got the answer to my prayer…”So, hey God, I know we are close, so why haven’t you sent out the invitations to my party yet? Why do you keep rain checking on all of my plans?” I get it.

I’m where I’m supposed to be. 

I am speaking to you, sis,  but I am also giving myself this pep talk. Just because you’re waiting doesn’t mean you won’t finally get in. Just because you haven’t received an answer doesn’t mean your answer is, “No.”  Just because you don’t like the chapter you’re in doesn’t mean your book is finished. Just because you don’t like the season you are in, doesn’t mean a new one isn’t waiting around the corner. Just because you can’t see what God is doing, doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

I’m not where I want to be; I’m where God chose for me to be.

Today may not look how you want it to. You may be in a grueling season, BUT the Author is still writing and there is always, always, always a purpose. So, today, I’m not where I want to be & that’s totally okay.

What We Can Learn about the Proverbs 31 Woman through Fall

Here we come, all of the basic girls, chattering about scarves, cardis, and our beloved PSL. Every year around this time, videos and memes glorify our favorite time of year and I got to wondering why we love it so much.

Is it the cool and crisp air? Is it the change of the trees? Is it the need to wear our cute coats and boots? …but there’s something more to all of this. I know, I know…a Pumpkin Spice Latte is reason enough, but there’s something else to the fascination with this time of year.

Every year, I fall captive to all of the fall advertising. And it made me think, what makes this girl different? Why am I so drawn to the changing seasons? One of my favorite women to study is the woman of Proverbs 31: A  Wife of Noble Character. And, sister, I see the spirit of her so prevalent this time of year. It’s hard not to wonder if the love for fall is really a posturing of grace and gratitude for the soul God desires to ignite in each of us.  

  1. Trustworthiness (v. 11): This time of year comes around like clock work. We trust that each year, we will get to experience the joy that comes with pumpkins and school and changing of the seasons and sweaters we found online shopping again. More importantly, we see that not only are we trusting of the seasonal change, but we’ve built it into our soul DNA that we trust the Maker of the Universe to supply our every need, even as the seasons change.
  2. Goodness (v. 12, 28): My favorite part of fall is watching the leaves change. Although short-lived here in Texas, there’s something so beautiful about a sky filled with orange, yellow, and red. While we know the leaves change and fall, we often don’t look at ourselves with the same beauty as the leaves change and fall in our own lives. If we know God is faithful, and we know He is good, and we know He will never leave us or forsake us, then we have to trust that the changing of the season is for good and we can give that goodness to others as we lavishly love and serve them out of the splendor of a faithful and trusting heart.
  3. Hard-working (v. 13, 27): I don’t know what it is about Back-to-school and fall, but it seems that the goal getting is fierce and the challenge to finish off the year strong is at an all-time high. There’s something about the change of summer to fall that allows us to see that hard work is good work. No matter what your job description is, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23)
  4. Giving and Serving (v. 15, 19): With a heart postured for thankfulness and charities gathering up coats, school supplies, and food, it’s hard not to have a spirit of charity. I find myself more often this time of year wanting to freely give and cheerfully allow myself to bestow gifts and love to others. There’s something to be said for the joy we feel when we get to love and serve others well. Sister, our souls are ignited when we get to love, give, and serve others in the way Jesus has.
  5. Investor (v. 16) : This time of year really guides people to start paying down on debt. I also am a HUGE fan of the sales this time of year. More importantly, as an entrepreneur, I see the investments people are making. As you approach this season of opportunity, also approach it with thoughtfulness and prayer. Whether we are investing our time, money, or mind in something, we need to prayerfully approach the Will of God as He guides our steps, as we make choices in the day-to-day and long-term decisions that will effect the rest of our lives.
  6. Fitness (v. 17): I know, I know. Our least favorite thing. We love to eat all of the fall goodness, and snuggle up under the blankets by a fire. BUT, this is also the time to refocus and regroup our diets, our minds, and our bodies for the winter ahead. A fit body often promotes a fit mind and we all owe ourselves the opportunity to feel crisp mentally. What better way to start than to 15 minutes a day soaking up the fall weather?
  7. Joy & Peace (v. 25, 26): Oh this season brings with it the joy and inner warmth that’s unmatchable, but don’t you feel more at ease this time of year? I know that a crazy season is around the corner and while we label it with the same terms, it often doesn’t feel that way. While I’m soaking up this season in particular,  I find myself taking that nap, or saying “no” to things, and I also find that I am at peace. It’s funny that often we are so concerned about what to wear and what the future looks like, but I think peace is something that hangs up too long in our closet, like that dress we are waiting to wear for that special occasion. But we must first clothe ourselves in His righteousness, and put on strength and dignity, to face the tasks He has laid before us. As the earth is blanketed with new colors, may be face the season of joy and peacefulness and coziness with His heart and blanket it on those around us.
  8. God has the last word (v.30): Do you ever notice a difference in your life when you are walking in alignment with God compared to when you aren’t? I do! Girl, I don’t know how I get from day to day without first rising up to meet Jesus. I love a good sweater and boyfriend jean as much as the next girl, and I do love me some fall themed make up, BUT what does any of it do if my soul is suffering? We can only bloom again when we are firmly planted in the promises of the Lord and even with our withered limbs and the bitter cold, awaiting us, we can trust that the fear of the Lord will greet us as praises in the gates and blooming once again. (v. 31)

As we walk into this beloved season, let us walk with hearts open for the possibilities in this season filled with gratitude, an embrace for change, and an attitude filled with living and giving. For further reading reference, see Proverbs 31: 10-31.