Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bible Study Made Easy

I think a lot of people get an uneasy feeling when the phrase "Bible Study" is mentioned. This can be due to a misunderstanding of what this phrase means, or even a bad experience in the name of church.

Bible study really doesn't have to be all that complicated. It is simply the study of the Bible, which we can see when we look at the words. I like to think of it a little more like Bible immersion. That can be a pretty big word to wrap our heads around, but when you immerse yourself in something you simply go all-in. You can immerse yourself physically into a pool of water, or mentally into your studies. It's simply a way of giving your all to something.

Whenever we start dating, we want to know everything about our new found love interest right? We want to know his favorite color, favorite sport, favorite movie and even favorite food! Why? Because the more we know about him, the closer we feel to him. That gives us a sense of security. It works the same way with God, only better ;-)

We thirst to know about God and to be loved just as we are, no strings attached. Well, in reality we often look for that love from others, but honey, you can only find THAT kind of love in God. Studying God's Word is what allows us those inner glimpses into God Himself and His plans for us. Let me give you a visual....

My husband and I only went on about 2 dates before we got engaged. You see, he went into the Army after our first date! During boot camp and jump school we wrote each other AT LEAST once a day every day. I literally stalked the mailman and Sundays were my least favorite days due to the mail not running. I couldn't even wait to rip open the envelope when I retrieved it from the box! I would begin reading immediately. Why? I wanted to know him. I needed to hear about his day and what he had been doing. I immersed myself into knowing him better, and it paid off!

The same is true with God's Word. He tells us of His love (John 3:16) and His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). I think where we can get confused is that interpretation of His Word can sometimes get wonky. You have the name-it-and-claim-it pastors that tell you if you're life isn't perfect you just aren't believing. On the flip side, you have the hell-fire-and-brimstone ones who believe life as we know it isn't worth much and we should just buckle up and pray for an apocalypse.

It can be a lot to take in, but I am promising you now that you do not need a secret decoder ring to understand the Bible! What do you need? Well, for starters, you need to commit to spending time daily reading the Bible. For most beginners it helps to have a guide just to know where to go. These are available through your local church. Most of can benefit from a Bible study as well. You don't need to be a theology major to lead a Bible study, but make sure whoever leads has done their homework :)

The Bible itself is the focus of your study and therefore, I recommend you focus on getting one that works for you. What do I mean by that? There are many different Bibles available, both in print and online. The NIV is one of the most popular, while some prefer the ESV or ASV (new international version, English standard version, American standard version). Personally, I read out of the Amplified version mostly, but love the NIV and still even dive into good old King James when I find it's needed. Try out different versions and see what settles best with your soul. You'll find the fit to be like your favorite pair of jeans...comfortable to the touch.

Beauty Mark Ministries will be hosting online Bible study beginning in September. No need to sign up, just show up at your computer. This will be a beginner lesson, aimed at learning how to set aside that time and why it is so important.

I hope to see you in some Bible Immersion soon!

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