If you are serious about spiritual growth, for no other reason than to better face the coming days with more spiritual strength and God’s protection, consider digging a little deeper into the Bible. Here are some keys that could give you the edge you are looking for in gaining more out of your Bible study time. Maybe you’ve tried to read your Bible in the past but without much success. As you read, remember to ‘listen’ to the voice of God which can be heard with a sensitive heart. This week, try these steps and see what happens.
Step 1: Time Block
Set aside a designated time for reading God’s Word. Make an appointment. It can be anytime in your day—morning, noon or night—whenever works best for you. Just make sure you set a time when you are alert. If you are not a morning person, then don’t schedule it as a 5:30 a.m. wake up call. If you are exhausted at the end of your day, don’t schedule your time in the Word right before bed at night. The best results occur when you are in a frame of mind to learn from the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit.
Treat this time like you would any important appointment. Protect it and schedule other appointments around it. Through dedication and practice, you will literally develop a natural desire to make it happen.
Step 2: Pray
Before you begin your Bible study time, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the Word that God has for you. I learned this at age nineteen when I was faced with a dilemma about what to do with a left ankle that stopped healing. Praying BEFORE I read the Bible proves to be a reliable step to maximize the powerful messages God has for me. This is a great way for pastors to know what to preach to their congregations. It’s an awesome way for business owners to hear from God in order to know how to proceed in the challenges of business life.
Remember to quiet any distractions and prepare your heart and mind to receive from the Lord. Remember that the Bible is much like God’s letter to His people. That includes you. He has written His Word for you. This is not just another book nor is your Bible study time simply something to cross off your “to-do list.” Approach it reverently. Expect that the Lord will reveal Himself to you and speak to you about any concerns you may have.
Step 3: Prepare to Take Notes
This is YOUR study time. Get your pen, iPad, pencil, highlighter and/or journal. Or use a computer program like Evernote, which can be downloaded for free, to capture your study notes in your mobile device. Use whatever program works best for you. Just be ready to make notes or highlight passages or words that jump out to you or those you would like to study later.
Step 4: Choose a Starting Point
The Bible is made up of 66 different books, right? You don’t have to start at the beginning with Genesis—although it could be a good place to start. Consider these other options from which you can choose.
- If you are a new believer, then perhaps you can begin with one of the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Within them, you will learn about Jesus’ life and ministry. And oh, what a Life!
- Learn about the rights you have been given through Jesus Christ. Read a letter from the Apostle Paul to the early churches. Look for and underline phrases such as “in Him,” “in whom” and “in.” These phrases are found 134 times in the New Testament, from Acts to Revelation. Every one of them has something to offer you personally, because according to Ephesians 2:6, you are in Christ!
- Choose a book or topic or person to study. Perhaps you’d like to learn about the leadership of Moses. Maybe it’s the integrity of Joseph, or Daniel’s faithfulness or Paul’s journeys. Perhaps you want to study about Israel’s escape from Egypt or the miracles of Jesus. Any of these can provide you with excellent study opportunities.
- Maybe you would enjoy going through a “Read through the Bible” program so that you can read the Bible from cover-to-cover in one year. You can check out some plans at biblegateway.com if that’s what you’d like.
Step 5: Read, then Meditate
To get the most out of your Bible study time, allow yourself time to think about what you’ve read. Years ago I visualized how meditating God’s Word is a lot like a cow chewing its cud. Can you picture that? The cow chews… and chews… and chews. It sounds funny maybe, but think about each word as if you are chewing it. Consider using Bible study tools like a Bible dictionary, a concordance, or a Greek/Hebrew study Bible. You can find online versions at BibleGateway.com.
A few other tools that I could recommend are:
- Young’s Analytical Concordance—which provides lists of scriptures for specific topics as well as translations for Hebrew and Greek words.
- Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance—a dictionary of the Hebrew, Greek and Chaldee (ancient Greek) words.
- One of my favorites is the Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words—a dictionary for scriptural words and meanings.
Step 6: Journal What You Learn
Once you have prayed, read your Bible and meditated (chew) on what you’ve read, begin writing the thoughts and insights you have. This is a powerful way in how the Lord will begin leading and teaching you. It will take some time but let me assure you, this is time well spent! Even if at first you can’t recognize what the Lord is saying, begin writing down your thoughts and feelings—or whatever comes to your mind. Soon I am convinced that you’ll begin to see a pattern that you will recognize as the Lord’s voice in your life. (I did this very practice on many of the hundreds of missionary trips I flew as pilot and team leader.
I believe it is God’s will that these spiritual adventures be made into books, and possibly a couple movies as well. As you make your study a daily discipline, you’ll come to recognize His voice more quickly—if you take the time to listen. I guarantee it.
Step 7: Meditate throughout Your Day
When a scripture jumps out at you, write it down or type it somewhere you will see it. Then think about—or “meditate” on it—as you go about your day. Recite it. Declare it so that you not only see it with your eyes, but you can hear it with your ears. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. Let that Word change the way you think about the circumstances in your life and prepare you for situations to come. Pray and ask the Lord to give you revelation about it, then trust that He’ll do just that. Remember, God’s Word is ALIVE to those who are saved by the blood of Jesus. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NKJV.
Step 8: Act on It
Whatever the Lord teaches you during your Bible study time, put it into practice. Act on it. That’s how you will really see results in your life (Matthew 7:24-27). Remember, the Word is not meant to be taken and hidden away. It is meant to be lived. It is meant to be Light to the world. Let it change the way you deal with your life, your loved ones, your co-workers, your family. Let it influence the way you serve your employers or clients. Let it change how to treat those who persecute you. Let it strengthen you as you minister to meet the needs of others in need. God’s Word has the power to transform your life and the lives of those around you. Begin putting it into practice… immediately!
Personal Bible study is powerful and necessary for every believer. It is a time of training, sharpening and preparation for whatever the Lord has called you to do. Put these eight steps into practice as you begin studying your Bible and watch what a difference it will make in your life!
If you really want to live in victory and have Godly success, no matter what comes your way, you will need to base your life on the living Word of God. You can do it!
Dale & Paula
BELIEVERS UNITE! Satan tries to divide… to dis-unify. But together we can do amazing and wonderful things. Look at this promise from God to the children of Israel. “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight.” Leviticus 26:8.
What Others are Saying:
“I follow all your talks and videos…multiple times, in fact. I am greatly uplifted and enriched by God’s holy Word which you so magnificently and accurately deliver. I pray for you and your work regularly and thank God for you both, his modern day apostles. Keep up the wonderful work…we all need you.” Ron – Newfoundland
“I just now finished reading your book “Flight to Heaven”. Not only was this a great book to read, but it has helped to strengthen my faith. Thank you for writing it. I am going to give the book to my children to read. I thank our Lord for a brother like you who gives the gospel message to so many.” Shirley
“Thank you so much for all your good work and for your wonderful videos. I hope this small gift helps to keep your ministry going. We’re here to help.” Barbara – CA
“I only recently discovered you on YouTube, and your heartfelt sincerity and straight talk about all things Christians want and need to know, has come to me at just the best possible time.” Claudia – AZ
“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Black: Thanks for your “How To Know Your Going to Heaven” article & video. I’ve mentioned & posted the article at my web page in support of the Black’s Ministries. May the Good Lord Bless You BIG!” Joe – TX
Thank you friends and partners…we’re making progress again. Thanks for helping spread the gospel of Jesus. If you’d like to support the video outreach ministry called the WEB-TV Project, here’s how you can help.
Support Messages From Heaven + Winning Over Cancer, by donating to the WEB-TV PROJECT.
Thank You Partners! 126 of 650 pixels are now sponsored. That’s 19% toward the goal. Click image to learn more:
- If you would like to DONATE to help the gospel go forward, you can give ONLINE or by MAIL. To give online, click on the DONATE button. If you prefer to give with Check or Money Order, please make donation payable to: Dale Black Ministries * P.O. Box 130085, Carlsbad, CA 92013. To make a donation or place an order by phone, call: 951-526-2101 and leave a message. Someone from our volunteer staff will call you back. Thank you very much, and may God’s blessings be upon you and your family.
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aka Eagle International Church – Carlsbad, CA
All Rights Reserved
We’re praying for you, our partners – Dale and Paula
Another praise report this week:
I happened to catch Capt. Dale on Tribulation radio and loved every word of his incredible journey. I have since ordered his book. What a genuine heart for the lost. If any listener hadn’t already accepted Christ into their life, after Dale’s program and invitation, anyone would have an undeniable desire to do so. Take the journey with Jesus as your co-pilot, it is well worth it all. Dan L, Miami, FL