Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Guide to Life-Changing Time with God

There’s a book filled with stories. History and infinite wisdom. In its pages is what many would describe as deep truths to the purpose of life. You’ll find it in close to 90 percent of American households.

It’s been named the most widely read book in the world. So why do we struggle to open, read, explore its depths and really understand the power the Bible holds in its pages?

When it comes to reading the Bible, Americans are all over the map. A recent Pew Research Study states that 35 percent of us read the Bible once a week, while 45 percent seldom or never do.

While viewed as an important book, these numbers show we may not always have the time, confidence, or even the drive to use it on a regular basis. What’s more? We’re struggling to apply the Bible’s truths to our daily lives. The American Bible Study found that we’re more likely to choose coffee, social media, and sweets as a daily necessity over the Bible.

I get it—coffee is practically a necessity for most to start our days. But over the living Word? We need a reset on our priorities if caffeine—or anything, for that matter—is placed before Christ in our lives.

I’ve pulled a chair up to a Bible Study table many times, and left it still wanting more. It left me feeling discouraged and unsure. I wanted to understand the Bible and OWN my faith in Jesus. While the desire was there, I just didn’t know how to take that next step.

As a former corporate educator and now historical fiction author, I turned to the familiar comfort of research. If that book on our shelf is our field-manual for living, I knew there had to be a framework for learning inside, and discovered verse mapping as the way to dig it out.

Verse mapping breaks down Scripture’s historical context, transliteration, translation, connotation and theological framework of a verse in the Bible. In short? It’s serious study. But was I equipped for such a journey through those pages?

Here are the must-do’s to make this faith journey your own:

  • Pray: The Holy Spirit must be the active guide in any time of study. Listen to worship music. Close the door or turn off any distraction—whatever it takes to invite Him to lead the study time. Prayer triggers the invitation, softening our heart to receive what He’s waiting to reveal.
  • Strategy: To determine the best way to go deeper, think about the way you learn best and go from there. Choose a devotional book. Follow a YouVersion daily reading guide. Or work your way through the Bible chapter by chapter—whatever will speak to your unique walk.
  • Journal: Verse mapping shines a spotlight on the power of journaling. It provides a space to explore, ask questions, record discoveries, and step into the intimacy of a relationship with Christ. It also paves the way to look back at our story road, and reflect on what He is doing in our life journey.
  • Consider an individual or group study: If you thrive in a group environment, find fellowship in a local church or faith-based community. Gathering with others can give a fresh perspective to help you learn.  If you aren’t able to set aside an hour every week, or if you feel like you don’t always get enough out of a Bible Study group, consider an individual study.
  • Time: Finding time to study may be a struggle that becomes a burden. If it is, don’t be afraid to start small. Five minutes today may turn into an hour tomorrow. Eventually, you won’t have to carve out time in the Word; it will be what your heart craves.

There’s no right or wrong way to study the Word of God—especially when your heart is in the right place.  But, if we want a truly intimate relationship with Jesus, we have to put in the effort for it to grow.

In time, you’ll go from the casual reader to the adventurer—walking the story road with Him, and a life-changing field manual of truth at your side.

Copyright © 2018 Kristy Cambron, used with permission.

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