Unpacking the Word
Some, especially during the early days of our faith walk, pick up the Bible and are enthralled by the stories, lessons, and inspiration on each page. Others, however, find that Bible study can sometimes seem tedious when you are familiar with the passage or story. It can be difficult if the verses don’t feel relevant to your life today or if the style of writing is complex. Frankly, acknowledging that words written over two millennia ago are applicable to our daily struggles and modern problems is a challenge in and of itself.
Yet we know that the Holy Scriptures were written in order to guide and equip the servants of God into doing every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). The Word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). Through the Holy Spirit, God uses scripture to breathe peace and respite to our troubled souls. He reminds of His incredible love for us and the price He paid to restore us to Him for eternity. The verses allow us to examine ourselves and recognize the sin and selfishness in our lives, so that we can repent and grow in our faith. If you find your personal exploration of scripture a bit stagnant or unmoving, check out the tips below. Even if you have a robust Bible study method, the following ideas may add more value to your personal time in the Word.
- Personalize Passages. Replace the pronouns in the verses with your name so that the scripture reads as if the author is speaking directly to you. In addition, you can change the pronouns to match your gender, make the plural identifiers singular, or use your name in place of nouns such as love, sheep, world, etc. Reflect on the meaning of the verses when you are in the midst of them.
- (Your Name) is patient, (Your Name) is kind. She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Rewrite and Repurpose. The structure of the sentences, particularly in Proverbs, can seem a bit confusing. Rewrite the verses in a way that make sense and are personal to you. Turn analogies into direct statements.
- Being quarrelsome makes my spouse miserable and want to avoid me. I would react that way as well. When I’m quarrelsome, I push people away. How can I work on this? What needs to happen to my attitude in order to find resolution rather than behaving in a way that makes my spouse to want to live on the corner of the roof? Proverbs 25:24
- Incorporate Art. Whether you are creative or just looking to enliven your Bible study time, consider making a tangible representation of scripture. Write lyrics or compose a song inspired by the text. Illustrate or paint an image of the verse, or just the words. These make great gifts or decor for your home! Additionally, there are coloring books for adults with verses and Bible study prompts that are helpful for channeling your creative energy.
- Pray the Verses. Take the verses you are studying and turn them into a prayer. Use specific words or phrases and write out a prayer incorporating aspects of the verses. As a bonus, search the Psalms that are already prayers. Pray the prayer a few times that day or week and see if you gain more insight into the words.
- Lord, through your sacrifice I have inherited eternal life. No matter what happens to my body on this earth, I will be resurrected to you. I believe in Jesus with my whole heart and yearn to know more about you as I reconcile the reality of mortality in my life and the lives of my loved ones. John 11:25.