I don’t remember when I fell so in love with the Bible. I was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian school and was surrounded by the Bible in most aspects of my life. But, as most kids, I wasn’t in love with God’s Word. It was a check on a list if that. It was homework. It was something my family did, read, discussed. But I wouldn’t say I loved it.
But I believe that the Holy Spirit used constant reflection on it, constant exposure to it, constant discipleship to move my heart from tolerance into a deep love for God’s Word.
Welcome to the Bible
Digging deep into God’s Word has given me a strong passion to encourage women towards a desire to know God’s Word and drink deeply of its truth. This isn’t an instant process. Most of us struggle as we dodge the flotsam and jetsam life throws at us and studying the Bible often ends up as an afterthought.
It also can be intimidating. The Bible is full of strange stories and hard things. It is full of poetry and ancient wisdom, prophecy and fulfillment.
Yet it is the most meaningful and compelling story ever told. Between the pages of the Bible, we discover how God created us, how we fell into sin, and how God made a plan to redeem us, restore us, and how He is ultimately bringing us into His eternal kingdom.
A Many Faceted Jewel
The Bible is a unique book. I have read it alone, studying and meditating and praying over it. And I have read it in community, discussing and sharpening. Both have been deeply beneficial to me.
Unlike many books, the Bible is meant to be invested in for a lifetime. It isn’t a one-shot read. God wants us to look deeply, both personally and in community, to hear His voice. Like a jewel in the sun, the Bible sparkles when it is turned. Returning to it, again and again, we see new depths. The Bible is both personal, giving us connection with a God who intimately knows us, but it also encourages us to live the Christian life in community.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says,” And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (ESV).
Christianity is lived out of our common union in Christ. Reading together sharpens us, sanctifies us, builds up our faith, encourages friendships, and strengthens our convictions. And everything is better with friends!
The Story of Us
As we read the Bible, we need to remember that it connects us to those in the past and in the future. It transcends time. Genesis 1 is the beginning of our story. Yours and mine. It is in the Bible we discover ourselves and how we got here. We are connected to characters of the Bible – their sin, failures, triumphs, and faith, because we are all part of the Christian narrative.
Journey into the Bible
Isn’t there often a disconnect between our intentions to read Scripture and actual reality? It can feel daunting. Where do we start? How can we understand these stories that are often so strange? How do I find the time? I know I struggle when life’s to-do lists seem to get longer and longer and my days get shorter and shorter.
Our journey into the Bible should be a place where we hit the reset button. Moments where we align ourselves with God and his mission, and we begin to see life in light of eternity. Yes, the vacuuming still needs to get done, the kids are still crying, or work is piling up, but those moments can be placed in the hands of our God when we soak in His words. He sees and knows us.
A Simple Beginning
Here is a beginning point. A simple plan where you can go deeper into God’s story – His creative work, His redemptive plan, His holy character, His wonderful fame. Allow yourself grace to begin imperfectly. There are no checklists to worry about. No finish lines to cross. This is about beginning. Enter into God’s story and connect personally with our Creator.
There are many different methods to studying the Bible. Over the coming months, we will be introducing you to some of the ways we at Arise Ministries Collective study and read our bible. Today we introduce the Swedish Method, a simple way to practice observation and discovery. This method requires very little resources or planning and can be done in groups, with teens, with children or as a personal study method.
Tools to Try
These are some of my favorite tools for Bible study to help you as you begin your journey:
Life Application Bible — I worked in a Christian bookstore, and when this bible was published, it was love at first sight. I have a lot of Bibles, but this Bible was one that really set me on my path to falling in love with Scripture and applying it to my life.
One Year Chronological Bible – Don’t know where to begin? Reading through the Bible in a year is always useful. Chronologically reading through the Bible will give you a good idea of how it all fits together. I try to do this every other year.
One-to-one Bible Reading by David Helm. This little book is a great overview of how to start reading together. Simple and easy to read it will give you a boost of confidence and practical ideas of how to read God’s Word with others.
About Val Hooks: I like to write, read, drink tea, and research stuff. I am a passionate follower of Jesus. I have teenagers (pray for me) and a fantastic husband. I call Summit View Church, Vancouver, Wa. my home.