Over the past 47 years, participation in various Bible studies was a no-brainer. Reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life. Whether the studies were from pastors, discipleship leaders or workbooks, the effect they have had on my life has been profound.
Ever since I accepted Jesus Christ, I have participated in various Bible studies
Being a reader, and one who enjoys any kind of paper-pen-pencil combination, Bible study workbooks became my favorite method of reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God. Through them, I have grown in my faith, learned Biblical principles and wrestled with spiritual issues. These studies grew me from a “baby believer”, who knew nothing about the Bible, Bible doctrine or theology, into a “baby believer” who became armed with the Word of God—ready to tackle whatever was in store for me in my faith journey.
Along with these Bible study workbooks, I have partaken in topical Bible studies, Bible-based book studies and personal Bible studies (those done solely on my own). Choosing which Bible study I utilize depends on my interests, the authors, what studies are going on at my church, and/or what the Lord leads me to study for purposes such as teaching me, teaching others, or pursuing ministries He has for me.
Shortly after becoming a believer, some profound Bible studies helped me in my early walk with the Lord. They were:
- The Ten Basic Steps to Christian Maturity by Campus Crusade
- The Be Series by Warren Wiersbe
- The Joy of Living Bible study
- David Wilkerson’s Jesus Person Maturity Manual, and later
- Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
Searching for Good Bible Studies
While it is not popular to say this, I have been involved in Bible studies that I later realized contained false doctrine and flat-out false teaching. [And yes, they are in Christian bookstores.]
As I grew, the Lord began to give me His discernment into which studies honored Him and which studies did not. It has become a challenge for me to find studies when I browse through Amazon or bookstores. I am diligent to read the author’s background, what they believe, and what their ministry stands for. If it makes you feel better, I am a “certified Texas librarian” so this kind of research and analysis comes easy—even expected—for me!
In January 2018, I walked into a Christian bookstore intending to find a Bible study to pursue at home. I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find one among the extensive shelves containing books from various authors from A-Z! I even looked at the $4.00 and under book carts. I’ve learned that some of the deeper books I enjoy end up on those carts. I’m not sure if it is because people like different studies than I do or if God is giving this retired gal a monetary break!
My Personal Journey
Because I own so many books, studies, literature, and Bibles, I periodically do some spring cleaning of my bookshelves—not so much to discard older ones but to make room for new selections. Since my books cover so many topics and authors, I even have a framed sign on my downstairs bookcases that say,
“Just because I own it and have read it, it doesn’t mean I believe it!”
You see, I keep some of my questionable books for comparison purposes for writing or speaking in ministry.
As I’ve grown in the Lord, I realize that reading the Bible semi-exclusively has become my forte (at least for now). While I enjoy other studies, I get more satisfaction out of studying God’s Word for myself than out of reading other people’s thoughts and their personal stories. Interestingly enough, the Bible resonates more with me now than when I first started my faith journey.
A Place for Bible Studies
Don’t get me wrong there is a place for Bible studies, but in all honesty, some stories or illustrations seem as if the author has stretched his imagination to make them fit a given verse and/or topic.
But hey, count me in that group! I am guilty of that myself. Many times, I have looked up topics in illustration books (usually ones written by well-known religious leaders or celebrities) when I am trying to write or speak to groups. Sometimes they work well—other times not.
But now in my journey, I love finding little nuggets about the lives of Biblical characters. I enjoy using them as my illustrations when writing or teaching. I have come to a point in my journey where I love God speaking to me directly from His Word.
13 Reasons to Read, Study and Meditate on the Bible
God’s Word . . .
Convicts us of sin.
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)
Gives us His promises to depend on.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:4)
Gives us strength and peace.
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)
Guides us in the moral and ethical decisions we face.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Guides us into wise thinking and behavior.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
Is powerful and true.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Keeps us from being swayed by false teachings, teachers and incorrect doctrinal errors.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)
Keeps us from temptations.
No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Leads us and others to salvation and eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Leads us to consistency in our walk with God.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But, to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Remains close to our heart to guide and influence us.
Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; (Psalm 23:3)
Shows us how Christ lives so we can emulate His lifestyle as we grow and minister to others.
The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:4-6)
Shows us how to minister to others.
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. (Luke 6:31)
In all love I can give you, I want to encourage you to block out time for reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word, to commit to reading more of the Bible (as opposed to the writings of others), to spend more time reading the unadulterated, pure Word of God, and find a plan that works for you.
Bible Study Plans
Bible study plans are a great way to keep your Bible study consistent. Plans will vary in . . .
- Time duration;
- The number of days per week; [I love the plans that give me the weekend off to pursue other things of importance to me.]
- Money; [For example, if you choose to read the Bible through chronologically, you might need to purchase a chronological Bible.]
- Ease, and more.
While I could link you to various plans, I have decided to let you do your own search for a plan that will work for you. Many plans provide you will a scheduled list you can print out, download digitally or have emailed to you daily. Some plans want you to sign up for their emails before providing a plan. My suggestion is for you to make those kinds of decisions yourself and follow through. However, please take special caution to make sure your source comes from true Bible-centered organizations!
13 Types of Bible-Reading Plans Available for Studying, Reading and Meditating
- A read-through-the entire Bible plan (reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation);
- An Old Testament plan;
- A New Testament plan;
- A Bible chronological plan;
- A Bible historical plan;
- A Gospel plan;
- A 90-day challenge plan; a 180-day reading plan; a 365-day reading plan;
- A thematic Bible plan;
- A “Bible book at a time” plan;
- A blended plan—reading some Old Testament and some New Testament simultaneously;
- A Jesus’ Words plan;
- A short-term commitment plan;
- A personalized plan, and more.
As for me, my Bible study plan for 2019, so far, looks like this. It’s a personalized plan written down on plain old notebook paper!*
- Finish the Bible study plan I am currently doing; [Okay—it’s the read-through-the-Bible plan I intended to finish in 2018 but didn’t quite finish!]
- Read all the Words of Jesus in the KJV;
- Read, study and meditate on the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk;
- Read, study and meditate on the New Testament Book of John through the Joy of Living series;
- Read, study and meditate on the New Testament Book of Mark;
- Read, study and meditate on the Old Testament during my quiet time;
- Read, study and meditate on the New Testament during my quiet time; then
- Pursue whatever the Lord leads me to – Maybe a quick study on the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah.
I’d love to hear from you to see how you decide to hear from God this year—be it a programmed study, scheduled Bible study plan, or a personal plan.
Back in January, as I left that Christian bookstore empty-handed after a vain search for a Bible study, I heard a voice within me saying, “Patti, don’t be discouraged.” I smiled, started my car, and drove home pondering what was my yearly plan to be. It came to me in a still, small voice. “Patti, read through the Bible in 2018.” And while I didn’t quite reach that goal, I’m almost there!
The important thing is to MAKE A PLAN AND GET STARTED!
Old Testament prophet Joshua said, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it . . . “ (Joshua 1:8)
New Testament prophet John said, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)
My gracious heavenly Father. I come to You as I start 2019 looking for ways to please You. I need You in my life for so many reasons. I am committing myself right now to be more immersed Your Word this year. I need Your Holy Spirit to guide me into a study that I can finish—one that I won’t give up on by the end of January. Being in Your presence is my desire for this new year. Thank You for always being by my side even when my faith is weak and my heart is faint. I truly love You.
In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
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Edited by E. Johnson
*Commentaries are often used when studying the Bible.
Bible Links are from the NASB.
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