When I don’t have myself in order, I tend to get nothing done. Including posting regularly like I should. But I will not apologize because that’s how life rolls sometimes. :)
The past month has been a trough for me in the spiritual roller coaster area. I hate those troughs, and I’m trying desperately to pray through them, but Satan seems to have some kind of hold on me. Whenever I am dragged down by business, I am dragged even farther by guilt. I feel inadequate because I think I should be doing better; I think I should want God all the time. In reality, I know in my head I need God, but my emotions get in my way so often and I don’t feel like I love Him. Then when I finally come back, He showers me with such love that I can’t believe I ever left.
I’ve always wanted to do something about these troughs, and I think I’ve finally figured out what. I have a short quiet time in the mornings and/or at night, but those are definitely short. I read my devotion book or magazine and shoot up a quick prayer, then go about my day.
That is not enough. To really have God on my mind all the time, which is what I want, I need to dig in to His word and really study it. I’ve tried to study the Bible before, but I picked Jeremiah, which is a bad book to begin with, in my opinion. It was too long and complicated for me. This time I’m starting over with Daniel, a much easier book, and I’m really revamping my system, which I’m going to show you.
I love to write (hence the blog and numerous journals I have stashed in the attic), and writing is how I learn. So I made myself a big old Bible study binder, just like I do with my schoolwork.
Why It’s Good to Have a Bible Study Binder
You’ll be more likely to look back through it. I used to write questions and verses from my Bible reading in my journal, but that is private and I rarely read old entries.
It’s more organized. Having my notes in binder format allows me to reorder pages as well as go back and add more notes if I need to, like if I study the same book in the future.
It’s easier to share with others. As I said, my journal is private, and I would’ve had to read from it if I wanted to share my notes with anyone. Making sharing easier also keeps me more accountable; I’ve found that the more people I tell about something I’m doing, the more likely I am to keep it up.
Being the organized person that I am, I like to have a plan for everything. I get a teen devotional magazine called ec from my church, and occasionally I’ll tear out a good article. Last May they had a generic plan for studying the Bible, and I adapted that plan to fit my needs. I decided to have a section in my binder for every book I study:
1. Date – I like to date everything, so at the top I’ll write the start and end date of this particular study. This will also be helpful if I study the same book later; I can compare perspectives easily and won’t get my notes mixed up.
2. Title – It’s always good to know what book you’re studying!
3. Verse – I hadn’t really read Daniel before, so I just skimmed it and found one I liked. If I’m studying a book I’ve already read, I might put a verse I’ve previously found, or I might wait until my study is over, leaving a space to write a verse that really spoke to me.
4. Study Plan – I like to have the plan right on the front page so I can refer to it if I need to. The study plan may change based on what book I’m studying.
5. Prayer for Beginning (not shown) – This will be slightly different for every book, but the main thing is to ask God to give me an open mind and for me to hear what He wants me to learn.
As I add book notes into my binder, I’ll probably enter them in order of how they appear in the Bible since I already have that order memorized, but you could also do it in the order that you study them. I may eventually even add tabs for quick reference.
I’m very excited to begin studying Daniel. I’ve already begun reading through it, and there is so much in it! The Bible is the main way that God speaks to me, and I am looking forward to actively listening to Him. :)