We started a ladies’ Bible study group this fall. Can I say how beneficial it has been to me and how grateful I am for it? Here I thought that I was going where He lead, just helping to meet a need, instead the Lord has blessed me immeasurably…isn’t that just like Him?
I prayed for direction as I contemplated starting this study. I fretted over ‘leading’. I don’t like being front and centre, I prefer background jobs. I don’t consider myself a teacher–well outside of teaching my kids. However, He has continued to stretch me, sometimes uncomfortably so, taking me out of my comfort zone and into a place of humbly trusting Him.
When I began my research, I summed up my own experience this way:
:: Janet ≠ qualified Bible study leader
- I’m not a Bible teacher
- Not a theologian
- No training
- Totally outside my comfort zone
:: Janet = willing to serve Him
- Prayerfully undertaken
- I am a simple student of the Word willing to share my thoughts
- I have a faithful God to help me! Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen”. And then in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- There is a need to be met
- I desire to grow alongside other women
The good news is that it’s not about me or my credentials, but that He works through this weak vessel as He pleases. It is His work, not mine. I just need to follow the Leader.
:: The Spirit is our teacher, we learn together
- 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?’ But we have the mind of Christ.
I remember a story of one preacher who was sitting in a meeting with some very scholarly men. When asked where he went to school, he replied, “At the School of St. Mary.”
“We’re not familiar with that school,” they returned. “Where is it?”
“At the feet of Jesus,” he quipped.
Isn’t it a lovely thought that we all can read His Word and be taught by the Author Himself? We need only to come humbly before Him, resting at His feet, to learn more of Him, from Him.
I came across this acronym and thought it summed up my hopes for this study:
:: REAL Women = Authenticity, Honesty, Transformed by Jesus
- Learning together
I believe it’s important for us to build relationships in the family of God.
As I prayed about what we should study (not knowing if we would be primarily ladies from church or if some from the community would come), I stressed a little–or maybe even a lot. Of course, I should have just relaxed and continued in my quest knowing that He would show me when I came upon it. I hoped to find something that would not require a financial investment for those who wished to come, so I scoured the internet. As I spent time investigating various studies, it occurred to me that perhaps we should study ‘How to Study the Bible’. There are many wonderful studies out there, and I’ve personally enjoyed doing some Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer studies, as well as several others. This is all well and good, God has gifted many great teachers, and we have much to learn from them; but, shouldn’t we also be equipped to study the Bible for ourselves? After all, we have the same Holy Spirit living in us as those very teachers.
I compiled information on these approaches to Bible study from several sources, but I’ll only link to the primary ones. I made adjustments along the way to meet our particular needs.
Some of the methods of Bible study we looked at are as follows:
- SOAP (or SOAK, as it is sometimes called) is the method that LGG uses in their study, and is actually the approach I take with my children in our morning devotions.
- Inductive Method (also called Precept upon Precept, a Kay Arthur study)
- 8 x 8 method (or variations on this) from 1-Minute Bible Love Notes
- Diagramming (onethingalone.com)
- Scripture Mapping (from Mandi Buckner)
- FEAST (from onethingalone.com)
- Bible Journaling (from Bible Gateway)
- Bible Notebooks (donotdepart.com)
- 3 Question Bible Study (Anne Graham Lotz)
- 5 P’s of Bible Study (reviveourhearts.com) Priscilla Shirer explains her method in this video.
We have also looked at a few tools (like the concordance, commentaries, etc.) along the way and have decided we would like to learn how to use them to their fullest advantage.
So far, we have truly enjoyed our time together. We appreciate time to get to know one another on another level and, hopefully, we all come away challenged and encouraged each week. I know I do! We have learned that as we are all different, with unique situations and personalities, some methods of study, or variations or combination of approaches, work better for us than others. That’s ok! What’s important is that we are spending precious time with our Father each day. Listening to His voice as He speaks to us through His Word.
So…it was decided how to study was to be our theme; but, we should be studying something, to put it into practice. Verses from Psalm 119 often came up as references for my initial research, so I felt that this was the place we should start. After all, what better place to learn how to study the Bible than in the Psalm that is all about the Bible.
The basis for our study on Psalm 119 comes from Love God Greatly. I’ve done a couple of other studies from this site. I like their personal approach and the snippets they add throughout each week. I tweaked it a little to suit our needs, as I did for the methods of Bible Study. What an amazing journey seeing so many truths I had previously glossed over in this gem of a psalm. I guess I had always looked at it as being so much of the same thing repeated over and over. What I learned was that:
“The sections and verses are not like a chain, where one link is connected to the other, but like a string of pearls were each pearl has equal, but independent value.” ~David Guzik
Isn’t that beautiful?
Perhaps, I’ll share some of my thoughts from our study another day…
In the meantime, I hope you’ll look into some different ways to look at your Quiet Time with God. You will never be disappointed when you spend time with Him.
If you would like a copy of our study sheets, send me a note. I’d be happy to share it with you.