Throughout the summer there are always many distractions that try to take us away from studying God’s word. Whether your goal is to win the National Bible Bee or just memorize one new verse, the time spent in God’s word will not return void! But while studying for the National Bible Bee is a blessing, it requires commitment and self-denial. Therefore, it is important to have a plan in place to help you succeed. By thoughtfully setting goals ahead of time, actively planning a specific time to work on them, and daily remembering to keep the kingdom of God foremost in your perspective, you will be equipped to have a fruitful and productive summer.
Incorporating long term, short term, and daily goals into your regular routine is key to prioritizing your time and staying on track. Basically, goal-setting involves three different elements: long term goals like qualifying for the National Bible Bee Competition, short term goals like completing the Discovery Journal, and daily or weekly goals like memorizing a passage or studying Hebrew/Greek words and cross-references. To begin, explore the main study passage a little and look at the overall picture for the summer. Flipping through the Discovery Journal and checking to see if I knew any of the verses was always a highlight for me. With the big picture in mind, consider how much time you can spend each day and what you would like to accomplish.
Once your summer study goals are set, the next step is to develop a time management strategy. If you plan to finish the Discovery Journal and/or memorize all the verses, start early and don’t procrastinate! Accomplishing a little bit each day is usually more effective than trying to cram and rush through everything at the last minute. It is generally easier to follow through with daily goals when a specific time is set aside to do them. If necessary, set an alarm. Moreover, tackling the hardest goal early in the day helps to avoid procrastination and wasting time. For example, focus on learning new material in the morning, and then reviewing in the afternoon. Because there are many different techniques available, experiment a little until you find a system that works for you.
While setting goals and planning a schedule is necessary, maintaining a ‘kingdom’ perspective is paramount. Ultimately, goal-setting and time management strategies are just tools. In Proverbs 29:18 it states, “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Without God’s grace to maintain the right perspective, your studies can become routine; something to check off a list. The best strategy for a successful summer study is prayer and quiet time with God each day. Yes, the competition is exciting. Yes, qualifying for national is a great goal. Nonetheless, studying the Bible is not like studying for a history test. God’s word is living and active and it has the power to change your life. In order to get the most out of your studies, it is important to remember why you are studying.
Therefore, as you head into the summer, remember to determine personal goals, develop a schedule, and refocus daily on the ultimate reason why we study God’s word. By setting goals ahead of time, it is easier to stay focused. However, do not just set goals. In addition, actively plan a specific time to work on them and then follow through. And remember, keep God’s kingdom and glory first in your heart. Most importantly, pray for God’s grace, wisdom, and diligence in your studies. Pray that He would consistently remind you of who He is and open your eyes to know Him more. And pray that you will become more like Christ as you learn to apply His word to your life.
God bless you in your studies. Press on!
-Tabitha Boulware, 2018 Alumnus