Bible Study

Now that summertime is here, I’m using the bit of extra, unstructured time to try to develop some good habits.  This past school year was pretty brutal, between a heavy load of classes and up to twenty lessons a week.  I was thankful for the income from lessons and for the security of work, but it really took its toll as the academic year wore on.

Unfortunately, one of the first things I let go was daily Bible study.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been spotty about reading the Bible daily.  I’m often more interested in listening to someone else’s commentary on God’s Word than reading it for myself, as if I’m a medieval Catholic.

But there’s no substitute for the real thing—daily Bible reading and study.  So I’ve established a routine now that summer is here, and it’s really helped me keep on track.

I’ve started June with three weeks of camp (I’m currently running Rock ‘n ‘ Roll Camp—with just one student!).  Those have run Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 12 PM, with me usually arriving on campus around 8 AM each morning.  As such, I’ve kept my alarm set for 6 AM, as I usually do during the school year.  That gives me a solid 105 to 120 minutes each morning to eat breakfast, walk Murphy, etc. (even without that alarm, Murphy tends to get me up by 6 AM, so even if I want to sleep in a bit more, she keeps me honest).

So, after getting up and taking her out, I’ll come in and start coffee.  Starting this week, I’m pulling back on breakfast a bit, and am trying to fast in the mornings, other than coffee, water, and my medicine.  That’s not a purely spiritual decision:  I just need to lose weight!

Once my coffee is brewed and Murphy is mollified, I go to my desk and open up my New King James Version Bible.  I decided to go with a Bible Study 101 technique and start with Proverbs, because it’s easy to digest a chapter or two at a time.  Before reading, I give thanks to God for His Word, and whatever else I can think of for which I should be thankful.  I then pray to Him about my needs and the needs of others in my life, and ask His Guidance over my reading, that the Holy Spirit will reveal what He Intends for me to get out of that morning’s reading.

I’m not going to say that this morning routine has suddenly given me vast spiritual insights, but it really does help ground each day and focus it on God.  I’ve also found that whatever chapter of Proverbs I read that day always has something that I need to be reminded of, some nugget of Wisdom that I have forgotten or neglected.

I started with one chapter each morning, but if a chapter is a bit shorter, I try to do a couple.  While in the mountains this weekend, I read a few chapters without taking notes, but started back where I left off last week to keep up.

As for the translation, I’m not trying to start some pedantic Internet flame war about what the “best” translation is.  I personally like the New King James Version because it retains the spirit and accuracy of the King James Version while making the phrasing a bit more readable.  I used to stick to the KJV, but the syntax is so different from modern English, I struggled (even with my vast intellect—ha!).  There are even sentence structures in Stuart English that, if read with modern syntax, have the opposite meaning of what the passage says.  The meaning is accurate if read the way someone in, say, 1620 would have read it, but leads to misunderstanding for modern readers.  As such, reading the pure KJV has caused me some interpretative trouble over the years.  The NKJV has opened up the Bible for me and made it more accessible without watering anything down.

Naturally, I’m open to inputs about other translations, but I’m not looking to start an argument over which translation is The One True Translation (although that would make for a good comment section, so… talk amongst yourselves).

Regardless, it’s been useful getting back into the routine of quiet time with God in prayer and in His Word.  The Devil really does attempt to foil this time—an errant text message that would normally not pop up at 6:30 AM; Murphy deciding she needs to go out again for no reason; an e-mail popping up that demands my attention—but I’ve tried to limit distractions.  I wait until I’m done to boot up the computer; put my phone on vibrate; and ignore Murphy until I’m done (then I shower her with affection, walks, and treats, as is my custom).

My hope is that this little post can help others develop a blueprint for morning prayer time.  Some folks might prefer late-night time with God, or need to do it in the middle of the day.  Whatever the case, it’s not difficult to take ten minutes each morning, but the benefits are everlasting.

6 thoughts on “Bible Study

    • Thanks, Bette! I love the features. My dad had a Dake’s Annotated Bible for years, and absolutely loved it. I’ll definitely use the Blue Letter Bible as part of my morning Bible study.

      And, yes, we should! I’d love to chat sometime. I actually have a bit of time now that it is summer.

      Like

  1. I’m KJV all the way. The ‘new’ is not for me. I think as long as you stay away from bibles like the Good News bible (now called the Good News Translation), you’re fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I think you are correct. My first Bible was a New International Version, which I think is fine for younger readers, but should move up to something more accurate at a certain age. I love the KJV, but I find it a bit “reader-hostile” (after years of pretending that I was somehow more enlightened and cool for reading the Bible the “hard” way).

      One thing I love about my NKJV is that is puts proper breaks between paragraphs. You wouldn’t believe how much that improves the readability, and makes the organization of a passage MUCH more clear.

      I have a little leatherette KJV that I love for its portability and the exquisite feel of the cover, but it can be difficult to read for extended periods of time, at least for me. And keep in mind, I’m not exactly illiterate! : D

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am with Audre on the KJV. For me the language – which admittedly is not always easy -enhances the message of His Word rather than detracting from it while being challenged and forced to think about the meaning of each verse can only be a good thing. The first few verses of John’s gospel are breathtaking when read in Early Modern English. The KJV simply put is just the best of The Best.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have a little KJV that I like to carry with me when I am on the move. I took it with me to open mic last night and read the first few chapters of Ephesians.

        Maybe I have just gotten smarter, or maybe I’ve just read Ephesians a great deal, but it made a lot more sense than it usually does. Or it could be the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and mind.

        You’re not kidding about John 1:1-5 in the KJV. Breathtaking, indeed! John, incidentally, is my favorite of the Gospels.

        Liked by 1 person

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