Friday, October 7, 2016

10 Neat Tricks To Keep Your Bible Study Fresh

As we prepare to go through our 40 Days In The Word series, I sent out an email today which linked to an article about studying God’s Word. You can link to the article here. The author lists 25 different methods of studying the Bible. I found the list to be fun.

Not every method is for every person, but every person will probably find 2–3 methods that work for them. Below are a couple of my favorites:


Survey the Word
Whether it be the whole of Scripture, an entire book in the Bible, or a given passage, capturing the big picture makes a deeper engagement of the Word more accessible and productive.

Discuss the Word
Discussions about meaning, interpretations, doctrinal substance, and sheer trivia can be a productive means of engaging the Word and driving it more deeply into our hearts.

Hand-copy the Word
Hand-copying the Word slows the brain down and synchronizes the mind with the meaning of a passage. Bible on one side. Journal on the other. Copying the word is a tremendous way to nourish the spirit and align the mind with the thoughts of God. Take. Eat. Enjoy!

Cross-reference the Word
Cross-referencing one passage with another related passage can release as much light into the soul as opening into the night the door of a lit room. Use a concordance. Use in-line references found in a study Bible. Use a computer search capability.

Paraphrase the Word
Good translation can be defined as taking the meaning from one language and capturing it accurately in another language. Paraphrasing is like that, only it is capturing the meaning of a passage and re-expressing that same meaning with different words. The paraphrases don’t have to be of publication quality. Though, if you come to like this type of exercise, you might be surprised by some of what you write and want to share it with others.

Sketch the Word
For the right-brain artistic types among us, sketching the Word is something that is second nature. But even for those of us who do better with straight lines and right angles, sketching the Word can be a rich experience capturing the big idea of a passage or even details best highlighted with a picture or illustration.

Memorize the Word
David said he hid the Word of God in his heart to avoid sin (Psalm 119:11). Scripture memorization is a foundational exercise on which many other forms of Scripture meditation are based.

Display the Word
Some passages are just so wonderful they are best artistically displayed in some fashion. Such passages might be Bible promises to keep in front of us or reminders in our walk with God. Consider commissioning a calligrapher to artistically transcribe your favorite verse in a frameable drawing or painting. Or create a colorful depiction of it yourself in PowerPoint, print it on a color laser printer and have it framed.

Share the Word
What would it do for your own Scripture focus if you were to give away one Bible verse to a different person each of the next 30 days? I encourage you to try. A friend who was studying with me at Wycliffe’s Summer Institute of Linguistics caught fire with God’s Word and could hardly contain himself. Brian would constantly hand write verses on 3 x 5 cards and leave them in our mail boxes. The personal touch brought these verses to life and I remember feeling like I had received numerous personal messages from God himself. And Brian himself grew deeper as he shared with so many of us. Sharing the Word with others engages us in it more deeply ourselves.


Do the Word!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

4 Ideas To Help You Create More Time In Your Week


People have many reasons for not joining a small group. Some are good reasons and some are not as good. "I don't have enough time" is a less-than-good reason. Consider these four time-creating ideas which will enable you to spend two hours a week in a LIFEgroup (the two hours includes thirty minutes of drive time!)

DVR two television shows for the next six weeks.

At the end of the six weeks, you may decide you don't need to watch that show anymore, or you can find time on a weekend to binge catch-up.

Wake up 30 minutes earlier four days a week.

Organize your schedule to use that extra half hour each day to accomplish the tasks that keep you from being able to go to LIFEgroup.

Skip a workout.

Your spiritual muscles are as important (if not more) than your physical muscles. You may not work out for two hours, but factor in transportation, cool-down, and clean-up as well!

Cut out (or just reduce) your social media use.

The New York Times reports that people spend an average of 50 minutes per day on Facebook. That amounts to nearly six hours per week. If you eliminate that time, you will be much more productive and may discover it is easy to invest two hours a week in spiritual growth.
The purpose of this list is not to shame you into joining a group. It is to inspire you to be creative in finding SOLUTIONS that enable you to do something you know will be good for you. If you have other ideas for creating the time necessary to join a group, share them in the comments!