Behind the scenes, I started my Bible study of the book of Judges last month. And while I began to share the Bible study tools I am using on IG, I have yet to share anything from my actual study time. I wanted to share why.
I mentioned here that I didn’t really know what my studying would look like because I was going to let the text lead me. I could be doing 1 verse a day or 1 chapter a day. I wanted to dive into cross-references, really sit with my questions, use commentary, and other trusted resources like Kay Arthur and BibleTalk.TV.
But can I share that I was struggling a bit because I was a bit unorganized? Going from knowing precisely what I am going to read every day, what I am going to highlight, and then spending some time reflecting and talking to God about what I read and how I should apply it seemed so easy.
I know my current process will be/is a lot for many people. Not everyone is meant to do a study like this. I mean, I am using six physical translations of the Bible and a commentary. But God has been calling me to go deeper into His word since 2017, I think. And real talk, I’ve ignored it mostly until now. Because who am I to do this? Like I have zero plans to be a pastor and am 99.9% sure that isn’t my calling or gifting. As of right now, I have actually no idea what will come from this in-depth study. But I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I repent for this disobedience, by the way.
I really think my habit has just been shaken a bit, and that is why I feel discombobulated. As of now, my studying has been broken up based on the subheadings provided in the primary Bible I am using. The headings are not God’s Word, but they do help set up what is about to happen in a passage. (My last chronological Bible didn’t have these.) Starting off, this gave me 18 verses one day and 17 verses the next day, which was a lot with how I am doing my studying. Which would then have me dragging my studying of one passage over a day or two. But I would want to start a new passage each day (I have no clue why I set this for myself), so even if I weren’t finished, I would move on.
Then after four days and getting into the second chapter of Judges, I took some time off to “try and catch up.” But I was all over the place so I would keep saying I would come back later. Even though I would have the urge to study the Bible, I would push it off because I wasn’t comfortable with my process. So here is the thing about Bible study. It’s going to look different to everyone, but what is essential is that you are doing it in a way that works for you. So when something doesn’t work, you have to figure out what the issue is. Because if I keep going down this path, I am going to do more than take some time off. I’m going to quit altogether. That’s the enemy’s goal.
I looked at what didn’t feel comfortable to me. What was making me feel unorganized and confused? Here is what I recognized:
- I didn’t have a plan.
- I didn’t have a process.
- I didn’t have a place
I didn’t have a plan
Although I was using the passages as guides on what to read each day, it honestly required too much thought to figure out where I left off (hello brain fog). So I realized I needed a loose plan that tells me what I should cover over the next 30 days. So for whatever reason, I have this idea that I would do a passage a day. Well, I think if I saw what verses I was covering, I would feel better. But I could also easily see where I may need to add a day or two extra to spend more time on (hello 18 verse passages). I took a moment to do this while watching a YouTube video one day. It took me less than 10 minutes to plan out Judges and planned out a minimum of 40 days worth of studying.
I didn’t have a process.
What I knew was I wanted to use all six bibles and the commentary that I had. I knew that I wanted to use my highlighting method in at least one of those Bibles. I wanted to check cross-references, etc. But when it came down to actually being in my study time, I was lost. And when it moved to a second day, I couldn’t remember what I had already reviewed. So while I don’t want my time with God to be regimented and become legalistic, I know my learning style. I need checklists and “procedures” until I build the habit even if I am the one creating them. Again, hello, brain fog. I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out what I need to do or where I left off. I want to be able to immediately jump into the text and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me. Just a reminder, my personality is very much Type-A. So for me, doing all of this doesn’t take me off my purpose. It actually helps me accomplish my purpose. Because as you can see, when I get overwhelmed, I’m ready to quit. My time with God is too valuable to abandon. As I did above, I put on a YouTube video and started typing up my process. It took me about 5 minutes because, honestly, after I wrote it out for one Bible, it was a copy and paste situation for the other Bibles. And just a small tweak for the commentary.
I didn’t have a place.
I’ve mentioned in some other posts that I am currently deep cleaning our home room by room (or at least I was). I didn’t want to do my studying in my office because I knew I would eventually get to cleaning it, and one of the projects was redoing the tops of my desk. So I was most comfortable doing my study time on my bed. But I couldn’t leave everything on my bed, so it was starting to become a bit of work to pull everything out. Now that I have finished my desk (see the pics here), I have the space to spread out, and I feel physically comfortable again.
Another struggle I had was I started second-guessing myself with beginning with the book of Judges. I was feeling a bit guilty about missing Genesis through Joshua. And I have been really wanting to get into some Psalms lately. (I’ve been reading them randomly to satisfy this.) Well, this is the benefit of me doing a chronological study and using cross-references. The cross-references are sending me back into the Pentateuch and Joshua to get background information. And while I won’t come across any Psalms in the book of Judges, once David comes on the scene in 1st Samuel, my craving to go deeper into the Psalms will be fulfilled. Plus the fact that I love reading the Psalms in a chronological Bible because I better understand why the Psalm was written.
Getting Started Again
After taking a bit of time off, going through all the emotions and feelings with the current atmosphere in our country, and just plain old missing my time with God, I decided to start over. I now have my plan, process, and place altogether. I made some adjustments, and I now feel comfortable again. I won’t say that in the future, I may not need to make changes, but right now, this is working. Which means I have a starting point if I do need to make changes.
Another thing I finally settled on, with the help of a friend, is I also now know how I am going to share my studying with you all. While I knew I wanted to share on social media like I usually do, I felt this type of studying required more dialogue then social media allows. So I will be doing a blog post to accompany each passage. This will enable me to go into depth about the questions I am asking, what I am finding, etc. I hope you join me. Keep an eye out for the first blog post on my Chronological study starting in Judges.