To accomplish staying anchored in the stormy waters we’re in, you’ll need to study your Bible and give God’s Word FIRST place in your life. Maybe you’ve tried to do just that in the past but without much success. If you are serious about gaining more out of your Bible study time consider placing these eight, relatively simple steps, into practice.
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 when you cannot give it your full and alert attention. 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. Give it priority—just as if you had a professional appointment. Set it, keep it and give it your full attention. Protect that time 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 spiritual eyes and heart 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 had stopped healing. Praying BEFORE I read the Bible proved to be a reliable step in order to maximize the powerful messages that God had 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. And it is a wonderful way for you as an individual to receive what you need from the Lord.
Remember to quiet any distractions and prepare your heart and mind to receive. 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 this 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. Or use whatever program is 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 or meditate on.
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 of 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 plans at biblegateway.com if you 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—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. It adds depth of meaning to Bible words.
Step 6: Journal What You Learn
Once you have prayed, read your Bible and meditated on what you’ve read, begin writing the thoughts and insights you gain. This is a powerful way the Lord will begin leading and teaching you. This 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 to you, 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 in your journaling that you will recognize as the Lord’s voice in your life.
This is something I did on many of the hundreds of missionary trips when I flew as pilot and team leader. At this point in my life, I am sensing that God’s will is that these lessons and stories are to be made into books and a couple movies possibly. That’s what God has placed in my heart, anyway.
Now back to your journaling. As you make your Bible study a daily discipline, you’ll come to recognize the Spirit’s voice more quickly. 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. And you apply it to your life. 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 bring His Word alive to you and give you revelation about it. Then trust that He’ll do just that.
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 loved ones. Let it influence the way you serve your employers or clients. Let it change how you treat those who persecute you. Let it strengthen you as you minister to 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 a powerful and necessary time 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.
With God nothing is impossible!
Not sure you’re going to HEAVEN?
Then click on the following video link: “Jesus said, You Must Be Born Again.”
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View More Messages From Heaven Blogs:
“The world has become unaware that it is blind and naked because of the constant watered down version of GODS WORD that is taught on a daily basis. Thank you brother Dale for teaching the full concentrated powerful truth of GODS WORD!” Ron S.
“Excellent message brother Dale! Thank you for your courage to speak the truth of the Word! If only people would realize how foundational this teaching segment is… for living as overcomers and growing up to become recipients of His provision!!” Eric –
“Great message Paula! He’s given us everything we need to be triumphant, in Him.” Sharon
“POWERFUL and BEAUTIFUL testimony of GODS WORD in action! My spirit not only heard what you said but felt what you said. I agree with every word because it’s GODS TRUTH not mans. Thank you for showing us how to stand on GODS WORD!” Ron B.
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