Digging in Again
Over the last few days I have had such an outpouring of response to my blog post, Digging In, that I decided to expand on what I shared and dig a bit deeper.
There has been so many of you that have commented on needing a new source, some fresh perspective, and even just a little help in the digging process.
First off, well done. Good for you. There are times in our lives when we do need the help, the extra hand, and just some creative inspiration. If we are honest, it would be a crazy lonely road if we went it alone!
I am a helper by nature. I love to talk with people through life, help where I can, and see them live the fullest life there is. God didn’t create us to exist alone, but to live in community. Even God lives in community- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! In Genesis one of my favorite verse shows just how much our Triune God lives in community. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness(1:26). The key words there are us and our. They created in community.
If we are made in the image of God, we, too, are made to create in community. To grow in community. To learn from one another and encourage each other. And that is what we are going to do! We are going to dig in together and learn together. So settle in, pull out your journal, grab your tea, carbs or whatever you need and lets dig in.
In my last Digging In post I talked about some different methods used for study. If you didn’t read it go check it out and then come on back.
I want to say that not all the studying methods are mine. I have gathered helps from the years of being a Pastor’s Kid, from books, and from countless blogs. Most of my study helps that I use are a combination of sitting under my mom, my dad, and my grandparents teaching. The rest has been from University, small groups, and life in YWAM. Some of the best study helps I have found are from giants in the faith- AW Tozer, CS Lewis, Henri Nouwen, and Gene Edwards.
Digging into the Word is a serious, intense, fantastic good time! And that is my goal here: to show you how fun, how eye opening, and how to un-ritualize your digging in time.
Like in the last post, Digging in you have to start by first opening your bible. Nothing will ever happen without opening up the Word. Sure, Holy Spirit can float things into your brain and heart, but there is something about the Word, that beautiful love letter from God to man, to show us just how high, how wide, how deep, how long His love for us is!
So once you open it, where to now? Well, you get to choose. You could be like my Papa and read the bible from cover to cover in a year, I have never, not once, made it through… I have got close, but about two days in I am like nope…. Kidding. Only slightly, I made it at least a week! You could do a number of other options. My personal favorite is to pick a character, if you don’t know any characters then google can help, find a person and follow their journey. Note how they lived and loved. What did they think about God? Were they a villain or the hero? Saul started out as a hero and then traveled right into crazy loon/villain. Another favorite of mine is to pick a word. Maybe it is a word you struggle to understand like pride or brokenness. You could also study words like joy, love, grace, hope. Just google them up and write all the verses down and dig in.
When you do a word study there are some fine points you can look to.
- Study the word in both the Old Testament and New. Why? Because you can see the fullness of the word, how it has changed from Hebrew to Greek, or how Christ coming on the scene changed the way it affected people.
- Look up the true definition of the word. When you dive into word study you can get distracted really easy by all the bunny trails that you’ll find. One way to cut down on that is to write out first what you think the word means, and then go after the word until you find your answer or learn the true answer. Another way to go with word study is to let the bunny trails happen and see where they lead. All scripture is God inspired and it weaves itself around the truth that points to Christ. Follow it out and see what you find! There is some wonderful apps that help you get the word down to the root. Blue Letter Bible is a great source and the one I use in my own study.
Then there is the Ol’ Faithful of the christian world: book study.
Now this can mean one of two things.
- A book of the Bible
- A book about the Bible/ or some form of subject study.
With picking a book of the Bible to read, you can straight dive into the goods, and discover all the characters, the drama, the hope, and even the tragic ends. My only caution is to know the context of what you are reading. You need to understand the history that this book is being written about. Why did Israel ask for a king in 1 Samuel? Why did Esther not mention she was a Jew? Why was Jacob called the Deceiver? It changes the whole content of what you are reading when you learn the history.
There are so many great books out there that can help you walk through the Word. We live in a time that is so exciting, we have all the resources at our fingers. There are books where people have done the digging, found the jewels, and can present them to you in a way to share truth and life with you. Again my caution here would be to make sure that you just don’t draw from others revelations, but instead learn to dig in and find truth too, for yourself. The joy really is in the journey, in finding something in the Word that was other wise hidden before. When we have our eyes opened to truth in a way that can only be through Holy Spirit, it melts into us like butter! Be sure to find some jewels for yourself, and who knows you may be the next one writing the book that shares truth with the masses.
When journaling bibles came on the scene, and the phenomena of coloring up your bible took over, I think we lost a little bit of the treasure hunting! I am all for creative powers, color and bright beauty covering the pages of your bible, but what happens with the other bits and pieces of truth you find later??? Where do those get added in? I love journaling bibles and I too have been caught up in arting (is that a word..?) up my Word, I found myself getting too obsessed with what the end result looked like, rather than the truth it was sharing! So I abandoned the art in my Word and went for the Word with color!
I shared one method of highlighting that Soul Scripts also uses, along with other methods I have learned from University and small groups. I was taught originally from a dear friend of mine how to dive deep into the word using a different color method- The Color Code.
In 1986 Rainbow Studies came out with an amazing bible called the Rainbow Bible. It came already colored up with colors for you to see the linking of scriptures through time! It is a fantastic addition to any ones library and such a joy to dive into.
In light of that: I would like to share with you another way to study! I call it the Color Code. It is something that can be added to, changed, and adjusted as you discover more and more.
The Color Code:
- Red/Pink- statements of love
- Yellow- bright statements, strong declarations, specific words spoke, or truth that is striking
- Blue/Purple- divine truths, God speaking, Christ speaking
- Green- statements of growth, Holy Spirit
- Orange- prophecy, repentance, promises
The Color Code works for you as you want it to. You can highlight words, statements, whole sections with using the color that best fits the feeling behind it. In my study time I will often read a passage and if that passage talks about love, Christ, and hope- I would highlight the love part in red/pink, the Christ part in purple/blue and the hope in yellow. You can ad-lib as you’d like, adjust where you want but the beauty of it all is that as you highlight, as you study, you will begin to see a pattern arise. You will be able to open your Bible and see straightaway all the passages of love as you find them, all the heavy moments of truth shining through your pages in the colors of the rainbow!
There are other colors that you can use and you can rearrange the colors on my list for whatever works nicely for you. There is no rhyme or reason to what works for each of us. But once you find the thing that works for you, make it your own!
I do a lot of writing in my bible as well. I highlight points I love – things that speak to me- and I draw connections to them. I use a standard ball point pen, black ink and I just write and journal my way through my time of studying.
Studying the Word is a personal thing. There are not many Instagram worthy moments when God is dealing with the sin in my life, or when I am weeping over the beauty the Lord. So don’t try to make it some picturesque time, instead focus in. Focus on the Creator, on the words being spoken into your heart, and focus on what the Spirit of God is speaking to you. Worry about Instagram and Facebook later. Put God first for a beat, and watch how He opens up the mystery of His Word to you.
Alright friends! Thats all I have for now… Keep reading for some resources, as well as some info on the photos used!
You can sign up to get emails when there is a new blog or you can come and check back! The next thing we are going to dig into is journaling! Until then…
Still I am learning,
- My bible is an ESV Journal Bible bond by Paul’s Leather Co.
- Sharpie Highlighters from Target
- The edges of my bible are done in Washi tape courtesy of my sister, and I first saw this done on Soul Scripts, where she used Washi Tape at the beginning of each book instead of doing cheater tabs as I call them! It is a fun and playful way to make your bible more colorful and be able to know where each book of the bible it. There are 66 books so if you want to do them each in a different color of tape I would suggest that you invite some friends over, tell them to bring their tape and have a bible taping party!
- Books: I have more books than I know what to do with but I have a shelf dedicated to my favorites, below are a list of my top favorites with links to Amazon:
- Blue Letter Bible is an online site with an app for digging into the greek and hebrew words of the bible.
- She Reads Truth is an amazing source for you to plug into study and reading everyday. You can buy their studies, or follow along through their website.
- Currently I am reading Wild and Free.