There’s a million ways to study the Bible, but have you ever wondered why what you read just doesn’t “stick”? Mainly, because it’s BORING; there’s no application to what we are reading in real time and it’s harder to have something stick especially when there’s nothing it’s sticking to. The Bible is not meant to be read like a standard academic book or leisure reading book – front to back and that’s the end. The Bible is made up of several stories put together, hence “books” are referenced when spoken, such as, “The Book of John”. All of these stories are melded together to give you the most amazing love story there ever was and through a spread of time from the beginning of life’s creation. But this love story is not apparent right away, until it’s analyzed to its very bits of its purpose (and choice words). In reading the Bible, I have found a very unorthodox way of reading, absorbing and making it stick.
First off, I have to advise that PRAYER BEFORE YOU READ is one of the MOST IGNORED aspect of studying the Bible. So, get yourself focused and pray first. Prayer, in itself, is a direct communication line to God. This is the time you make your petitions and to honor His grace. Petitions are stating what your intentions are; asking for God to reveal to you the TRUTHS at the heart of yourself. Keep in mind, there’s no “right and wrong” way to pray; just as there is no right or wrong way to start a conversation, which is the point! God does not need anything FANCY for you to go to Him. “Come as you are”, He says. So, go. Exactly as whom you are and make your petitions.
Secondly, have a pen and pad ready. Sometimes, God will move so fast and reveal to you exactly what you need in 3.5 seconds and that will be the extent of your study! No lie – there is no “time perimeter” when it comes to God. Much like, there’s no time perimeter to how long you can live, until it’s time to go. So, be prepared! The message that comes with opening the Bible is meant specifically for you and will be revealed to you accordingly. It’s not called the “Living Word” for nothing.
After praying, this is where the fun begins.
Ok, one more thing to clarify: “Focus” — don’t start dozing off to sleep after reading one or two lines. You have to focus on two things: 1) how you connect to God with what you’re reading, and 2) seeing how God wants you to apply in your actual life in real time. This is the meat and potatoes of making the words of the Bible, stick!
Ok, ok – here’s the fun part of this crazy method. Whenever I read the Bible, I usually let myself randomize where I start. I flip to a random page in the Bible, eyes closed. Now, why would someone start this way? I promise, I have a method to my madness.
The Bible has many names, but my most favorite “go-by” is:
So, in the background of your read, your overarching theme will always be, “What is God saying to me right now? What are my instructions?” (Because I promise you, you can read the same passage in a different season of your life, and it will mean something completely different). Said another way, what instructions are being given to you by what you are reading, and from what does the passage enlighten you on to take action?
Sometimes, I end up in one of the most RANDOM of places in the Bible and it forces me to go back to the beginning of the Chapter so I can understand the context of the verse I am reading. The “magic” of revelations sometimes ends up not being where I first started, but where I coiled back to. Much like a child can’t learn to run before walking, much is the same truth with understanding the Bible. Another paradox for you to consider, is how you ended up being who you are in this exact moment in time. Sometimes, to understand yourself, you need to go wayyyyyyy back and certain things will reveal catalysts of your life’s chapters. Those are moments too, that showcase how God has shown up in your life before you even realized it.
When I “get” the message – I cannot explain to you the conversation that I have with myself (and, of course, my Lord and Savior. LOL.) The synthesizing part is probably my favorite because now, I’m doing theoretical role play in my mind. By moving myself into the stories, I am now attaching myself to the afflictions (and seriously, knowing that if 2,000 years ago, people were feeling this way, I am DEFINITELY, not alone in this life. And that is an amazing comfort to me!) So, I consider the what ifs. What If I was Peter… If I was John… If I was Mary… what can I see from their standpoint? What do I see from Jesus? God’s? In my current position right now, why is it important that I understand this particular storyline?
As you can see, the questions pile on pretty hard! But it is asking yourself the “why”, that helps you unlock critical thinking and formulate your answers to understand the importance of the story of that chapter/verse. Remember to WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t forget to remember the wisdom that you gain from spending time in study.
When you reach the end of your studies, it is very critical for you to summarize everything you have just read. Say it and write it in your own words! Tell it the way you understand. Following the summary, for the rest of the week, you must do the “marinate and vegetate” process. The process is simple. Basically, you keep munching on that brain food until it can’t be munched anymore. The marinating part is where the “stick” happens. It is being in active consciousness of what you learned; going over it, over and over until you can’t get it out of your head even if you tried. By the way, this is not about “repetition” to make it stick. It’s about letting God mold you and extracting the things that do not serve you as what He created you for. Listen closely, otherwise, you’ll completely miss it!
There was a season of my life where I felt completely disconnected with the world around me. Sometimes, I still feel like I don’t belong here, as in, I’m from a different time. I’m an alien or something. I could see my thoughts manifesting into self-destructive behaviors – often times, lies that I would tell myself so I can sleep through the night.
One of these disconnections I can (safely say and share openly), was that I had a hard time believing I could make friends. Like, genuine friendships. When I was a child, I didn’t really care about it. I thought all my classmates were my friends, so I didn’t focus on “making” friendships. It was just “there”. Then, growing up, I started seeing how some folks were really close knit and I envied that. But I couldn’t understand why at the time; most of my friends were met in school. Then, as a young adult, I finally connected the dots in my misunderstandings about relationships (platonic or not). What I finally figured out was that I based my value on how many friends I had so, when I didn’t have someone I was close to, it made me believe that I was not likeable. Being likeable or popular, was like a social media like. Yet, as we know, is a complete placebo of living. When I finally understood that I was placing my worth in people and the amount of friendships, it was enough for me to feel sick to my stomach! I didn’t want to be that kind of person. THAT was my awakening.
When I discovered this, I was nowhere in touch with a Bible. So, when I did finally have my encounter with the Living Word, I was SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKK, as the GenZ’s would say.
I learned through reading the Bible, that Jesus had 12 disciples. He showed them miracles after miracles, and still, they doubted him. Even the most faithful of them all! Jesus had the following of hundreds of thousands… And, even in the hardest moments of Jesus’ crucifixion, the closest to Him, were absent. None of His disciples were there in the trenches with Him. NONE. Can you imagine? Wouldn’t that make someone question their worth?! Or make someone bitter?!
*swear word* Crazy….
As I kept studying, it was revealed to me that Jesus’ relationships with the few around Him were strong because of who HE was, not because of who THEY were. Jesus was resurrected and still gave the grace of forgiveness to them and still entrusted them one of the world’s hardest tasks (read the Bible to find out). What nutjob wakes up from death and still hangs out with regular-a**-no-miracle-performing-homies who took off from Him? Oh, Jesus. Because He’s not like us petty folks. LOL. I mean, thank goodness He isn’t.
I then understood that I couldn’t place my worth is those who aren’t qualified. I mean, SHEESH!, I didn’t and don’t belong to anyone here. None of these folks I grew up made me; made sense there was a disconnect on the soul level. It made sense to me about where my focus should be. On the one and only, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. HAHAH! Jk. You know who I’m talking about.
End of Story Time
This wasn’t very apparent in my post tonight, but I just wanted to point out that studying the Bible is a very spiritual connection. Therefore, my randomization of study is based on my trust to my spirit, and allowing it to lead me into the way I need to hear from God. Bible study is not about you, but about the love God has for you. And because of that love, YOU become a part of the whole story. You weren’t left out. And that’s a comfort you can only feel when you dive deep into a prayer life. The Bible wasn’t meant to be a one and done book; it levels out everything in our lives and the craziest part was that it was written before you were born and still lives on today.
I hope you gain a deeper connection this year in the Living Word. Take heart!
I’ll see you in the next post!