An engaging study of the bible; daily reality, lofty goal, or the last thing on your mind? 

I can't tell you that I haven't wavered between each of these at the high and low and in-between chapters of my Christian walk. And if I'm really honest, I have to admit that I can be all across the board in a single day.

Which brings up the subject of daily life. There are so many practical needs, and there is so much work to be done. Just the "simple" job of running a home, being an Army wife, and taking care of my kids can consume every last ounce of energy I have. And that being the case, it's a constant temptation to let time in the Word be rushed or thrown on the back burner. Even on the "good days" when the dedication is there and the time is made, it's easy to gloss over the familiar passages, rush to the end of the chapter, and then close the book as I hastily put a check next to "read the bible" note on my mental to-do list. 

And that's not all. To approach the word slowly, humbly, and reverently- as if approaching the very presence of God Himself- requires even more discipline. Moses was instructed to remove his sandals in the presence of the burning bush. I need to remove my watch in the presence of the written Word of God. The willingness to sit and let the truth soak in as the Spirit enlightens, leads, and convicts has to be there. And this part- not the "doing" of bible reading, but the "slow, soaking in" of bible reading- can be so hard to get a handle on.

But try, I do. 

And- imperfect as I am- I hope I can encourage you to begin, stick with, or re-evaluate your own time spent in the Word. It goes without saying that there is no one-size-fits-all "how-to" on studying the Bible that fits all of our own personal needs. There are probably just as many methods as there are people. But in case it inspires you, here's my own method for keeping an engaging, fulfilling, and continual study of the Bible.

I'm not sure how I came to start this technique, but I guess I've been developing it for a number of years and I've done it throughout a couple of Bibles so far. All you'll need to follow along is an assortment of colored pencils and your bible {one that you don't mind marking up}.

So this is my technique- underlining key points of Scripture according to a color system  so that I'm actively searching out and taking note of various themes and topics.

Develop Your Own Color Code

1. Chose a color for each topic or theme you want to study and highlight in your bible.

For example, I use gold to underline Scripture where God is speaking directly, and green to underline commands for biblical living. The photo above shows both: "Thus says the Lord..." is underlined with gold and "Seek Me and live" is underlined with green. I developed my own topics and their corresponding colors as I went along, not all at once.

2. Designate a simple notation system to mark specific verses that you take a note on.

For example, you can see the circled "4" in the photo above. That means that I have a note written about verse 4 in the margin of the page. The note looks like this- "v4- ________". This way, when I read over this verse again, the circled "4" will remind me to look over at the margin to see my note.


Obviously there are no hard and fast rules to this, just whatever system works for you personally. The point is to be able to open your bible and very quickly and easily know what themes are on any given page- in my previous example, God is speaking, and He's calling us to do something. In this photo, I used pink to point out something worthy of regular prayer and pursuit:

And if you're really nerdy...

Margin Notes.
Notes in the margins of your bible are easily accessible and means that note will never get lost! {Pencil does less bleeding through than pen}.

Circling Words.
A circled word can denote an action, verb, or something really powerful. A word or phrase with parenthesis or brackets placed around it can denote an interesting or noteworthy description/phrase.

Underlining Key Passages.
Keeping an old plastic card {I use an old credit card} or small bookmark on hand can make underlining a lot neater than free-handing. I use Prismacolor colored pencils for underlining. They're expensive, {a little over a dollar a pop if memory serves me right} but they're wax based so they're very vibrant yet gentle on delicate Bible paper. You can buy them individually at any craft store, which means you can customize a color scheme without having to buy a whole set.

Keeping Your Place.
Sticky notes or tabs can be great place markers, especially if you're working through more than one section of Scripture at at time.

So there you have it, my own personal method for effective, engaging bible study that helps me to learn the Word and commit it to memory. Not to mention that marking up my Bible gives me a sense of ownership over it, and that's really satisfying!

Anybody have any different methods? {I'm a Bible geek at heart, so please tell!}. There are so many different creative ways to go about it and I hope you find exactly what works best for you. Intentional, disciplined effort yields wisdom and fruitfulness, no matter what your method is.

Happy reading!

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