Friday, April 20, 2012

Personal Bible Study

Spring Concert
by Janet Kruskamp

Because we are the primary care givers of our families, it is easy to overlook the things necessary for our good health and spiritual stability. It always seems selfish to spend time alone when there is so much to be done at home, but these few minutes each day can be the glue which holds the day together for you.

  A special place and time can be created for meaningful Bible study. Sometimes Bible study can be frustrating and "dry" because it is not applied personally, with the object of finding delight in the word of God. My own goal for my weekly Ladies Bible Study which I teach, is that above all, the ladies will leave my home feeling happier and more full of life than they did when they arrived. This is the same attitude I hope that ladies will develop in their personal Bible study to begin their day.
Blue Stove
by Janet Kruskamp

When my Bible study class comes to my door, I want them to feel they have entered a special place where every sense is rested. I have had to clean up my house, but they have not had to worry much about theirs. I want them to have an hour in a place where they do not have to look at clutter or a pile of dishes in the sink, or listen to the washer or dryer or the buzzer on the oven.  Everything is prepared for them, and when they enter the door they see a burst of color on the table where there is either a jar of fresh flowers or a fresh pot of tea.

In a similar way, a homemaker can create a corner or place in her house for this special moment with her Bible and her notebook. The goal is to come away from that session feeling more stable and happier than when you  first sat down. Bible study should not be miserable, but delightful. Find a place where you have the best view outside a window, or create your own calm space somewhere in your home.

Ocean Treasure
by Janet Kruskamp

 I would suggest finding a very pretty, small notebook and a special pen, a box of crayons, and a magazine or seed catalog from which to copy pictures. Each day, read something in the New Testament and something in the Old, starting at the beginning of any chapter. As you read, pick out a verse that you think might be significant, and write it in the notebook, and then create an artistic border around it. It is not necessary to make a rigid rule to write in it daily, but it helps to sit down and have a few calm moments before the day begins.

Before committing the verse to paper and artwork, one thing you can do to make it come alive is to look up in an 1828 dictionary and a Young's Analytical Concordance , which analyzes the different meanings of the same word, according to the original language. Try also Young's Literal Translation, which was written in the late 1800's, and are available for online use.

  For the verse, "Be careful for nothing," you might look up the word's "careful" and the various meanings (since its meaning in the Bible differs from the common use of it today), as well as "supplication."  If you are teaching your own children at home, you can allow them to discuss the meaning and its implications in life today, giving examples of the use of these words, to create an appreciation and understanding of their depth.

Lacking these reference books, you can still get a good measure of meaning from a verse by reading it in different ways with different inflection on different words. 

I've made one here to show you what I mean:
Put a few pages together rather than a huge amount, so you can finish them. Name your notebook if you like.

Do some sketching on each page, or use your rubber stamps, stickers or clip art. A good way to learn simple art is to trace pictures you like, or trace around a real object.

Read a chapter and choose a verse out of it each day to write out and comment on.  Add definitions so create a deeper understanding of the verse.

Discussing  your verse with someone you like can give you more insight into the verse.

It is perfectly fine to use 18th and 19th century commentaries such as Adam Clarke or Matthew Henry to see what their definition of difficult passages were.

Bible study does not need to be formidable or put you to sleep. If you will use some of these ideas, you may find that these quiet moments will become the happiest times of your life.

I have used the King James translation here because of its poetic beauty and the direct relation of its words to the original languages of the scriptures. When using other versions and paraphrases, it is good to check back with a Hebrew and Greek/English direct translation to get a better perspective. For example, the KJV refers to the body of the Christian as a "tabernacle", yet modern versions use the word "tent." There is a great deal of difference between the meaning and connotation of those two different words, so be sure to check the original sources --the original languages if you want to really find some depth in your personal Bible study.

Your Bible study notes become your own personal commentary. Personal Bible study, even if you only read a verse a day, will help you distinquish between what the Bible actually says and what false teachings will try to persuade you to believe.

Even reading one verse a day and dwelling on it and thinking about it can give you a feeling of stability, so start out small and be content to just write a verse.  It gives you something to talk about, opens doors of friendship, builds your faith. Pamper yourself with whatever simple beauty you need in order to create the time and place for this wonderful spiritual indulgence.
Secluded Garden by Kathie Thomson from Allposters.

For my friends with the braille computers who will not be able to see the photos of the notebook, here is what I wrote:

Cover Title:  This is personal.  I wrote that because the meanings of these study verses are going to affect me perrsonally. You can name your notebook whatever you like, or just put a picture on the cover.

Page 1: And we know all things work together for good, to them that love the Lord... Romans 8:28. This is part of a verse because of the small size paper I used. My notes: Even disappointments are part of the path to something good. Look for a brighter day and use the dim things in a great way.

Page 2: Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Delight: to be greatly pleased in or to rejoice in. Delight is more lasting than temporary excitement.

Page 3: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known unto God.  Philippians 4:6  My notes: Don't be distracted, and pray that evil will be removed. (from any situation that troubles you)

Page 4: I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another gospel, but there will be some that trouble you and will pervert the gospel of Christ.  Galations 1:6-7 My notes: there is always a false teacher distracting people from the plain gospel of the scriptures.

Page 5: Cast they bread upon waters, for thou shalt find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1
my notes: Nothing is unfruitful if you keep planting and working. Influence is something you might not notice til years later when someone tells you the effect it had on them.

Page 6: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16  My notes: Be a credit to your Heavenly Father by obeying his commands and living the way He has taught you in His Word.


Anonymous said...


I really liked this idea. I have in the past written personal scriptures and prayers in spiral notebooks, but it seems much nicer to add some beauty. I'll have to pray for wisdom to find a special secluded spot in my day.



Finding Joy said...

I like to add pictures from magazines that I really like (garden or flower scenes in particular) or a few stickers - it makes it very personal and much for joyful to visit. I also bought a packet of colourful gel pens so I can add colour to the pages. I don't make my own books though.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I found religion late in life and I am still learning. Even the basics take a long time to learn. The suggestion to set up a place to pray is similiar to advice I received from a Catholic nun, but it is more detailed. I especially like the notebook and the pretty way you have it set up.

Your suggestion to dwell on a line of scripture every day is excellent advice. I find that when I do this, I feel much better no matter what the day brings.

Connie said...

I don't fear for the future as I know the ending of the Book, honey. I trust in the Lord and sometimes forget that and just go on a "tantrum"! All is just fine now though.

Anonymous said...

Oh I just *love* this idea, so inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Thank thou so much for this post. It has been very helpful to have these ideas. If you can one day would you show us how you can keep a prayer journal? I keep prayer requests in a notebook but it gets a jumble. I have heard some say they keep one neater and have a place for answers to the prayer etc. It has always been a mystery to me as to how to organize a prayer journal. Sarah

Blessed Homemaking said...

I would love to come to Bible study at your house!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely idea. I will do this with my scripture memorization. I am memorizing praise verses. It takes me a long time - my goal is one verse a week. I am working on Psalm 148. So far 6 verses. I find it helpful to write them out at the end of the week and this would be so much more fun with adding artwork! When Satan works on my mind I now start saying my praise verses that I have memorized and I have found such peace in this. Thank you for your lovely ideas. I believe God inspires you to inspire us.
blessings - carol

Rightthinker said...

This is so incredibly helpful!

What a wonderful and feminine way to study the Word, and apply this study.

I think it's so incredibly important to find and have joy in our lives. To be thankful for the lives, blessings and salvation Jesus has bestowed on us is a beautiful thing.

God Bless you today!

Anonymous said...

Your message reminds me of George Mueller on daily devotions, on meditating on a small passage of Scripture, which fed his spirit, brought happiness to his soul, helped him to pray, and then to minister to others:

Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of George Mueller who would meditate on a small portion of Scripture, which fed his spirit, made his soul happy, led to prayer, and helped him minister to others.

Anonymous said...


this is such a beautiful way to meditate and memorize the Word.

Sometimes I like to say the scripture over and over putting emphesis on each word changing the way its taken. Not only do I repeat it over again each time but it changes the way its read.

Then ask the Lord how this applies to my life and what I should do about it.

I also like to read a story and picture how each person might feel.

Again I ask the Lord how this story or scripture applies to my life and what I should do about it.

I love how you've made these scriptures into a little book and added drawings. That personalizes it more. Thanks for sharing.
Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

Really lovely, and inspiring. Others have mentioned the usefulness of meditating on one, smaller portion of Scripture...I, too, think that's a good idea.


Ginger said...

Thank you for your lovely, encouraging post. I, too, have found keeping a scripture journal a sweet experience. It is interesting to get a peek into yours.

Kim said...

Lovely ideas Lydia.

You are so right, even if we only read and dwell on one verse a day, it provides such spiritual refreshment and encouragement.