This season comes every year. The Summer Study has come and gone. A small portion of the participants have advanced to the National Bible Bee Competition and are closely studying Romans 1-8. However, many of you diligently completed the Summer Study yet did not qualify. Now, you are trying to redirect the focus and energy you had previously poured into your studies and allocate that time elsewhere – I’ve been there! Which passage of Scripture should I study? Should I memorize a book? Maybe I will read through the entire Bible during this off-season. No matter where you find yourself during this transition time, the most important thing is that you continue to immerse yourself in the fullness of God’s Word fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Today, I want to share five tips on incorporating the study methods you learned this summer into your personal time in the Word.
- Always begin your study time with prayer. When you sit down to study any portion of Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Prayer acknowledges our need for strength as we journey through the written Word. Do not lean on your own understanding, but rather ask Him to help you and be the strength you need in your weakness (2. Cor. 12:9). Through the Spirit living inside of us, we have direct access to the author of the Bible, something unique to only this Holy Book. Just as Jesus did to the disciples after His resurrection, the Comforter can open our understanding so that we might understand the Scripture (Luke 24:45).
- Keep memorizing. Whether you choose to memorize one verse a day or a larger portion of Scripture, it is vital that you continue the habit you cultivated this summer and keep hiding God’s Word in your heart. It is a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), and our comfort in times of affliction (Psalm 119:50). The apostle Paul admonishes us under the inspiration of the Spirit to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). Internalizing Scripture will allow us to grow more like Christ as our minds are renewed through the washing of the Word (Ephesians 5:26).
- Ask observational questions about the study passage. Just as you did through the Discovery Journal this summer, you should acquaint yourself with whatever portion of Scripture you are studying. Reading it multiple times is a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with the study passage. As you read and re-read, start your journey toward a fuller understanding by asking questions to help you notice things you didn’t see before. There won’t be pre-written questions or specific pieces of information for you to find, but you can still use the same method used in the DJ. Typically, the ones to ask are the “5 Ws and an H” questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how). These questions can help prevent you from missing important information found within the text.
- Dig deeper into the passage. After you have a general understanding of the passage by asking the observational questions, taking note of words that are in the text multiple times, transition words that indicate the “when” of the passage, and the characters/setting of the passage, it is time to dig deeper. One of my favorite ways to do this is by finding cross-references. Many times, reading portions of scripture in isolation from others will cause us to have a warped view of the original intent of the text. Knowing God’s Word in the proper context prevents this from happening and allows us to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). There are many online resources, such as Blue Letter Bible or Bible Gateway, that make finding cross-references uncomplicated.
- Share what you have learned with others. Proclaim! Day was a great way to practice sharing what you studied over the summer. You were able to edify believers with the truths found in the pages of Scripture and witness to unbelievers the power of God’s Word (Col. 3:16, Rom. 1:16). But it doesn’t have to stop there! Let the experience of Proclaim! Day and your knowledge of the Bible inspire you to share God’s Word wherever you go. The truths you have hidden in your heart are powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). But these truths are not to stay in your heart, rather you should proclaim them to the ends of the earth. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). Be always prepared and willing to share the transformational truths of Scripture with others.
As you spend time in prayer, memorize Bible passages, immerse yourself in scripture, dig deeper into the Word, and proclaim the good news, remember your chief aim – to know God’s Word and make Him known. Press on, friends, in the strength of Christ!
Written by NBB Alumna: Rachel Sheppard