I’ve been asked to share a little about my quiet time/Bible study & prayer time. My plan is to tell you about it is several different parts so that my post doesn’t become super-long.
First, let me say that my way may not work for you. It isn’t the perfect plan by any stretch of the imagination. After years of tweaking, this is what works for me. There are things I change up now and then, but what I plan to share are the things I consistently do. Also, please know that ANY time you spend in Bible study and prayer is time well spent! Whether it’s 10 minutes or 2 hours, God promises that His Word will not return void.
I’ve come to understand that reading my Bible and studying my Bible are two very different things. Both have purpose. Both are edifying. However, in order to KNOW God, you need to study His Word. Studying is the act of devoting time and attention to gain knowledge of something. When we study the Bible, we are giving our all to learn all we can about who God is.
There are thousands of published Bible studies on the market. I’ve used many different ones over the years. The downfall of some studies is that they don’t let you think for yourself. Instead, they tell you what you should get from a particular scripture. I have found that I get the most out of my study time when I personally think through what the verses/passages mean. When I need help understanding something I look to commentaries to give me more information.
My favorite type of Bible study is the Inductive Study Method. This includes observation (what does it say?), interpretation (what does it mean?), and application (how does it apply to my life?). I have used Kay Arthur’s The New Inductive Study Series for years now. She has a study on each book of the Bible that helps you observe the text and then interpret and apply for yourself.
In the course of my life, I’ve had lots of different Bibles. When I started the Inductive Study Method, I bought The New Inductive Study Bible to use with it. It is a one-column Bible with lots of room in the margins to take notes. I personally use the New American Standard Bible translation, but this study Bible comes in a couple different translations.
Finally, this method includes marking words, phrases, ideas in the passages to make it easy to see patterns in Scripture. You could use any colored pencils/pens/etc., but I like Crayola’s erasable colored pencils best. I also use PaperMate Ink Joy Quatro. (Seriously…these 4-color pens take me back to childhood!)
Do I think you need to study the Bible this exact way? Nope. I just think you need to be spending time in the Word in order to build your relationship with the One True God. Having trouble getting started? Start small. Choose one verse/passage to read. Observe what it says. Are there any words repeated? What does it mean? How can you apply it to your life? (Caution: Reading one verse is a starting point, but make sure you increase to reading passages. To handle Scripture responsibly, we need to look at the big picture within passages including context, audience, timing.)