One of the greatest challenges facing Christian mothers today is the charge of truly studying the Word of God. Most of us have little trouble going to church, listening to worship music, and even praying throughout the day, but when it comes to an earnest study of scripture, our efforts often fall short. Part of the problem is that we are so busy. It may also be that we are intimidated by such a large, ancient book filled with unfamiliar words and phrases. We may feel unqualified to peruse the scriptures alone, so we let our Bibles collect dust until Sunday morning of each week.
If we are going to be mothers who point our children to Christ, it is crucial to develop an appetite for and steady intake of God’s word. Just as the body cannot live and thrive without food, so our spirits cannot prosper apart from the living word of God. Many of us are trying to survive on Sunday’s bread all week long. Can you imagine if you only ate one meal per week? Perhaps you, like so many others, have good intentions, but you don’t know where to begin. Today I’d like to offer some practical tips for becoming a student of the God’s word.
1) Make a Plan
First, choose a time you will study. Ideally, you will need at least 20-30 uninterrupted minutes alone. Let your spouse and family know what your study time will be so that they can help you schedule around it and stick to it. Protect that time like you would any important appointment. For many people, the best time is first thing in the morning before small children wake up. For me, it is the second I get home from work before I make dinner, watch television, or do anything else. Think about what works best for you, and commit that time to the Lord.
2) Choose a Text
There are many reading plans available online for reading scripture, and there is no “right” one to use. Personally, my favorite thing to do is to choose one book of the Bible to study over the course of a month. If you do this method, it is best to choose a smaller book. Most of the books of the New Testament are perfect for this, but Old Testament books like Ruth, Hosea, and Proverbs are also great choices. I like to start a book at the beginning of the month and give myself the full month to study and meditate on it. This allows me to read, re-read, and really camp out in the text I am studying.
3) Pray for Understanding
This is perhaps the most important step of all for studying scripture. God’s word is full of meaning and life, but we need Him to give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Before you read, pray a simple prayer telling God that you are listening for His voice, and ask Him to reveal Himself through His word. Be assured that He will answer this prayer.
4) Expect to Hear
An expectant heart is crucial for discerning God’s voice. The Holy Spirit is a perfect guide, and God is a good father. He wants us to know and understand His heart. When you pray for understanding and revelation, you can be confident that His answer will be YES! Believe that you WILL hear!
5) Read Slowly and Intentionally
When it comes to studying the Bible, quality should always outweigh quantity. It is not a race. God’s word is not a fast-food meal to be consumed on the go. It is a gourmet feast meant to be savored with care. Take your time. You will begin to notice that certain verses or passages seem to stand out more than others. This is no coincidence. Pay close attention to these passages, as they are God’s words specifically for you.
In order for God’s word to change us on the inside, we must internalize it and make a permanent place for it in our hearts and minds. When God gives you a specific word, memorize the scripture. Write it on an index card and carry it in your pocket. Pray it back to God. Journal about what you believe God is telling you. Discuss it with people you trust spiritually. I always love to talk to my husband about the things God is showing me and teaching me. Make an effort to imprint God’s word on your heart so you will continue to replenish yourself in truth.
While these resources are certainly not crucial, I have found them to be very helpful in my study of God’s word.
- Biblical Commentaries: These are books written by theologians who have spent time poring over and interpreting scripture. It is like having a private Bible tutor. I recommend The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur as an excellent study reference.
- Biblical Concordance: A concordance is a reference book that makes it easier to understand important words and phrases in scripture and the context in which they are used. I recommend The New Strong’s Concise Concordance.
- Study Bible: A good Study Bible gives you commentary at a glance while you read through scripture. There are many excellent choices: The Ryrie Study Bible, The Life Application Study Bible, and The ESV Study Bible are just a few.
- She Reads Truth app: This incredible app provides Bible study plans and resources to walk women through scripture on a deep and meaningful level. The women at my church have discovered this recently, and we are all crazy about it! I highly recommend paying for one of the Bible studies and completing it with some friends.
Remember, it is our responsibility to fill ourselves with truth so that we can pour out into our families and relationships. And what a privilege that is!
*Another great place to start is our #MMGenesisStudy. We’d love to have you join us! Also, visit our Recommended Resources page to find other valuable Bible study tools.
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