I began studying the Bible a few months ago. Like really studying. Intensely. Reading each verse accompanied by commentaries and translations and original text - learning the context and the history and the language.
It has been one of the most life changing efforts in my entire life. I imagine you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Up until very recently, I thought the Old Testament was way too complicated and had little relevance in my awesomely hip 21st century life. And the New Testament? Well it's all about love and Jesus and disciples and a crazy whack book called Revelations and that's all you need to know about that, right? But wow, I was so so so so so wrong.
I'm only three books into my study (Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus) and I have never been so in love with three books in my entire life. Can you even imagine my love when I get to the New Testament? I can hardly stand the wait.
I mention this only because since I started studying the Bible I find myself yearning for the next chance to read and study. But it's not as simple as opening the Bible. I require physical space to study - for writing (I write all over my Bible) and note taking and journaling and space for a computer open to online commentaries (Biblos and Precept Austin are two of my best friends). So finding time to actually study the Bible isn't as simple as it might seem. But the longing I feel as I wait for the next chance to study is such a precious gift. It's indescribable. I'm constantly hungry for more God. More of His Word. More of His teaching. And that in itself has changed who I am.
I'm most at peace when I'm in His Word. Actually hearing it. Allowing it to speak to me. And when something doesn't make sense or doesn't sit well, I become a scavenger, hunting for the context or history or language to make the pieces of the puzzle come alive. And I am so blessed to live in this era with hundreds of websites and resources at my disposal. Sure, I find myself reading commentaries from folks of different theological backgrounds, but it is beautiful to read diverse teachings from folks who have one thing in common: a desire to better know God. It is in those moments that I find myself deep in prayer, that God would speak Truth to me through His Word - not theories or educated guesses. Truth and nothing less.
If you have never actually studied God's Word, I highly encourage it. Start with Genesis. It is by far the most exciting book I have ever read. Seriously, I have a love affair with Genesis like you wouldn't believe (I spent an entire day on the first two verses. It was heavenly). And just study it. Word for Word. Verse for Verse. It will bless you in ways you cannot imagine.
And let me know about it, please? I'm not only hungry for more God, but I'm hungry to connect with others who share this passion.
And for those of you who have done a formal Bible study, such as BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), what do you think? I registered for BSF and will begin in the fall, but I'm not sold. One of its greatest selling points for me is the childcare. Supposedly it's stellar. And that's the biggest obstacle for me as I study God's Word. It's hard to study when I have two adorable toddlers climbing on me. I love the idea behind BSF, but I also like the freedom that comes with studying at my own pace. I like setting my own rules, and when rules are presented, I often enjoy breaking them, and I wonder how I'll fit into a program that carries its own set of expectations. My attitude going into it is that I'm simply learning God's Word - it's a learning journey. I'm not looking to make friends or engage in therapeutic conversations. I simply want to better understand the Bible. I think I'll enjoy BSF if that remains my attitude. What do you think?
So what about you? Do you study the Bible? And if so, what are your favorite Bible study resources? Please share!