More often than not, I get stumped while reading the Bible. I want to know all the details and frankly, the Bible doesn’t always give all the details.
The OCD in me wants to know who’s who and why of the Bible. So, I spend time cross-referencing family lineage.
The historian in me wants to know what is happening on a timeline. So, I spend time looking up historical references about what was happening during certain parts of the Bible.
The researcher in me wants to know why some versions use particular words, while others have selective different verbiage. So, I spend time cross-referencing different versions of the Bible.
The woman in me wants to know how it applies to me. Right Now. In 2019. So, I spend time in prayer and journaling in an attempt to fully understand a scripture.
A new technique that I’ve recently employed is putting myself into the scripture or the scenario. This has afforded me an opportunity to hear God’s voice in a manner that I hadn’t previously tried.
For instance, imagine yourself as one of the disciples being asked to pray for Jesus the night before His death. As you are sitting in the dark garden, would you have been faithful in praying? Would you have fallen asleep? Would you have sat up chatting with the others in an effort to stay awake?
In that scenario, you can begin to picture what the disciples were feeling that night. Perhaps you get a glimpse into how Jesus reacted that evening. Whatever your reaction to this exercise, you begin to see the Bible through a new set of lenses.
Let me present you with a challenge to put yourself into a scripture. I’m sure you are familiar with the scripture of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV), but for the purpose of this exercise, I’m asking you to break it into individual lines (you can do this in your journal or on a scrap piece of paper).
Love is patient,
love is kind,
it does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Now, the harder part of studying and applying this passage. Replace the word “Love” and the word “it” with your own name. Once you do that, prayerfully ask the Lord and yourself if the statement is still true. Ask the Lord for help to strengthen you where there is weakness and continue to protect you where there is a strength.
In this challenge, “Love is patient” becomes “Emily is patient.” “Love is kind” becomes “Emily is kind.” So on, and so on.
Guess what? Love is patient all day, every day. Emily, not so much. I lose patience all the time. And that is an area I need to take to the Lord in prayer. What happens in this Bible study time, through putting myself into a scripture scenario, I identify an area that I need to prayerful consider in time with the Lord.
Take the challenge. See what God speaks to your heart through a new lens.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to diving soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)