Usually when I write a Bible study, I’m writing Sunday School lessons for kids, but our church is going through the Gospels this year and asked for volunteers to write devotionals on each passage. Being me, and loving to study the Bible, I volunteered to write two. At the time I thought “That’s a good number, not too overwhelming, but a good number.” Then I talked with a friend and her husband volunteered to write five.
I felt like I was an underachiever in that moment.
I also thought this was the perfect time to tell you how I study the Bible as I prepare to write studies.
First pick your passage for the Bible study
For my first study in “Join the Journey,” I picked Matthew 2:1-11, the passage with the Wise Men. I always found this story fascinating, and I was curious to see what God would say to me this time. I’ve got my second passage coming up later on “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Read your passage without taking notes
Because once you start taking notes you’re not concentrating as much on the passage, you’re concentrating on interpretation. This is solely to familiarize yourself with the passage.
Get out your pen or pencil and start taking notes
I have two different formats for taking notes
When I’m writing a Bible study I go through and write a summary of each verse or two, and underneath I write any questions or observations I have.
Sometimes these are deeply profound (or my sleep-deprived voice says so as I write late at night). Other times they’re sarcastic comments on what’s happening (I wrote many comments about the patriarchs).
When I’m just studying for my own benefit I write notes in my Bible. Then it will be what I’m learning, 90% of the time, comments do still creep in, but less often.
Look at your notes, what stood out to you?
As I read the passage about the Wise Men a few things stood out to me:
- The Wise Men had traveled for quite a distance
- The priests knew where Jesus was to be born
- The priests did not act on their knowledge, they stayed in Jerusalem
- Herod did not believe Jesus was his Messiah, but Herod acted on the knowledge. Unlike the priests
Take what you notice and find an action plan or something you need to meditate on. I took away the priests having head knowledge, but not acting on it. I really don’t want to be the person who has head knowledge and doesn’t act on it.
All right you now know how to study your Bible, and here’s the final step I do
I write something to share. Obviously, you don’t have to, but for me, that often helps me encapsulate my thoughts. Also, I like to write lessons. It’s the teacher in me.
I write a lesson plan, I write a story, something. Then I come up with discussion questions. Why? Because it helps me realize what the passage is really about. I tend to focus on trivia.
I like trivia.
But trivia doesn’t drive you closer to God, it’s just the amusing details that you can discuss way too late in the night with your kids.
Want to join me on the journey? And find out what I wrote on the passage?
You can read my full Bible study here, and if you’d like to join us, sign up and see what others learned from their passages. Sadly, it’s no longer there. I need to dig up my study and add it into this post, so you can read the full study.
Want to know more and go deeper? Try out my How to Study the Bible ebook. It’s written so you can work on this with your kids too.