4 Essentials to My Devotions & How You Can Better Study the Word
Sometimes we tell ourselves not to start something because it is overwhelming, and we do not know where to start. Studying the Bible is definitely something that we can let the Devil lie to us in this regard. I have been there, and you probably have been there too. Where do I start studying? How do I start studying? What do I need to do to get the most out of my time with the Lord each day? Well, despite what the Devil whispers when he tells us the we are doing it wrong or incapable of doing it, there is not really a cut and dry way to study the Bible. First, you need to start. You need to choose a spot to start, and start. I recommend Genesis, Matthew, or one of the apostles letters, but any book is a good place to be.
Want to know what the Bible says about studying His Word? Read the blog post on that topic here:
So, now that you started, what do you do to get the most of out your studying? Well, I'm not going to pretend to be a one-size-fits-all type of girl when it comes to studying the Bible. But here's how I do it and what my time with the Lord often looks like....
1. Start with prayer.
Prayer is your most powerful weapon. I don't start many tasks without it. Growing up, I was taught to pray before I eat, pray before I drive, pray before I go to sleep, and so much more. But most importantly, I learned to pray before I study the Word (or pray right after).
Pray for discernment. The apostle Paul counsels us not to be ignorant of the Devil's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). What do we know about Satan? He is a roaring lion seeking to devour our souls (1 Peter 5:8). He seeks to deceive and to destroy. We see how he has seeped into the music, the culture, and even the churches of this world with his false preachers, his deceit, and his outright mockery of God's Truth. So, if a serpent so slippery can seep into the church and steal souls away, how much easier would it be for him to feed us wrong information through unbiblical Bible studies, through worship music centered on the wrong things, and so much more.
Discernment is definitely something that every Christian needs to strive and pray for, and it is so important to pray for discernment before reading any outside materials (outside the Word) in studying His Bible.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ... For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:14,16 KJV)
While we pray to be discerning against evil that the Devil may send to destroy or to distract us, we also must pray to discern what the Good Lord meant by His Word. When I pray over my devotions, I pray that the Lord would bind and break Satan's power that I may understand the meaning of the Word and that I would be discerning against any opinions of man that may sway me from the true meaning of the Text.
I pray the Holy Spirit gives us a discerning heart so that we may know Truth and separate it from falsehoods from the enemy.
2. The Word of God
This may seem obvious or silly, but I did not want to miss this point in my list of items I use to study the Truth. After all, how are we supposed to study what God says without his manuscript? This would also be the perfect time to touch on the many versions of the Bible. I personally use the King James Version.
Why the King James? Well, to be quite frank, it is the version that I believe to be closest to the original translation of the Greek and Hebrew scrolls that the Bible was originally written on. Now, I am not the most knowledgeable on Bible versions and the differences between them. However, I know that just like the game "whisper down the lane," something is lost every time someone reinterprets a passage of the Bible. If you are using other Bibles, just be aware of that! You can even look up the parallel passage in the King James and other versions online if that helps.
I could go on a tangent and speak to this topic all day long, but the point of this bullet is that the most important part of your Bible study should be your Bible. It is not the Bible study you are using. It's not that article by a pastor you saw. It's not the commentary that you are utilizing. It's God's Word, friends.
3. Note Taking Ability
These next few items, beginning with the ability to take notes, are where the study can vary based on preference. I use a notebook from my shop (shop notebooks here) to write down prayers; verses that stand out to me; notes on context, history, and other Biblically references; as well as quotes from commentaries and biblically-sound pastors.
My Bible is a journalling Bible so I also use the margins for notes and references. I like to highlight and underline, write word definitions in the margins, and calligraphy favorite verses. If you want to check out the journaling Bible that I use (not an affiliate link), I've linked it here for you.
4. A Word on Commentaries & Bible Studies
I do use commentaries and certain Bible studies to study my Bible, but it all comes back to discernment. As I tell my friends whenever I make a recommendation, "Don't believe it is truth because it is my recommendation. Please pray and read with utmost discernment."
My favorite commentary to get historical information and context from is the Enduring Word app. I will say that there have been a few things in this commentary that I frowned at and disregarded; however, I have found the historical context that this commentary provides to be very enriching. Often, it also provides Spurgeon quotes and other quotes on topics by well known pastors from yester-year.
A good amount of Bible studies that I love to go through to help me study are from the Daily Grace Co. I believe the Bible studies on people, topics, and books that the Daily Grace Co provides are very enriching and give one great discussion points and reflective prompts. So far, I have not found one that I did not like! I also highly recommend John MacArthur Bible studies. John MacArthur is the pastor of Grace Community Church and has many biblically-sound sermons on the Grace To You app, many verse-by-verse Bible studies, and other resources that can be found on their website. I cannot more highly recommend the Grace To You app, John MacArthur, and the resources he has written.
*The links on this page are not affiliate links. If they are, that will be specified. I do not make any profit from any purchases from these links. All links are provided because I honestly recommend the resources provided.*