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When I first became a Christ follower at 18 everything I learned was new and exciting. I got most of my Bible study from weekly Sunday sermons and maybe reading a few books throughout the year. As I have matured in my spiritual walk I have learned that I need to not only be intaking MORE Bible study, but that I need to do it on my own. Following a Bible study guide is great and I do this often but as believers we need to read the word and interpret it without bias. We also need to be ensuring that who and what we are allowing to speak into our lives, actually aligns with what it says in the Bible and not just taking a pastor or Bible study teacher’s word for it. We are all fallible because we are human. Also there is a ton of false information out there about Christianity and it is our responsibility to know and share truth. Starting out trying to interpret the Bible on your own can be very overwhelming. I get that. This is where a good Bible study comes into play. There are a ton of resources out there and there are many I recommend to people, and I am going to talk more about one of my favourite resources but we need to be aware of Christian authors who soften or alter truth in order to reach more people with a more palatable message. The message of the gospel is an overwhelming message of love but there are a lot of things in the Bible that many teachers choose not to focus on. Revelation for example; it in itself is a scary book to tackle. God gives us an undeserved grace but so many people choose to actively disobey God because of grace. We all sin, we mess up and make mistakes but what is your heart posture? Are we coming to the Lord in regular repentance. I am the first to admit that I am not repenting like I should.Do our works align with what we say we believe? We can’t work out way into heaven but shouldn’t our works reflect what we proclaim? If you call yourself a Christ follower you need to try to understand the Bible in its entirety. This is no easy feat and something I certainly haven’t mastered, and I know I won’t ever be able to here on this earth. There is an element of curiosity to the Bible. It does not have every answer to every question. If we understood the Bible completely it wouldn’t be of God. God is God and only He knows somethings that we will never be able to understand. He is sovereign over all. It is easy to focus on the message of love and not on judgement. It is easy to pass over verses like Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” If you are listening to this you likely are living in a part of the world considered rich. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling to pay off credit card debt or living paycheck to paycheck. You are rich, you have opportunity that millions around the world do not. Our world is so noisy with the message of consumerism and more. Bigger house, better car, nicer clothes. And to reflect on Luke 12:48 Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. We are given so much here in Canada and the States. Much is required of us. My Pastor once said, It is easy to profess Jesus than to possess Jesus. So I want this episode to encourage you to dive into your Bible. You were bought with a price and our lives should reflect that. We need to be in deep relationship with the Lord and partnered with prayer the best way to do this is by knowing our Bible well. Knowing how to study it not just taking someone else’s word for what it says. When I was trying to learn more about how to study the Bible I came across the inductive method and it really helped me. I ended up designing these Power Bible Study Sheets based on the inductive method but also adding in some things that helped me to learn, remember and connect. One sheet which breaks down a passage of scripture. These are some of the questions When was it written, where was it written, why was it written, who was it written for – We are looking for context here. Is is a prescriptive or descriptive passage of scripture, are there commands, repetition, themes or keywords? If this sounds like it would be helpful to you, you can check this out in the Spiritual Study and Prayer Journal I have created. A tool I designed for myself to cultivate a more intentional relationship with the Lord, it is designed for a year full of study, prayer and connection. Studying the Bible for yourself is not about being legalistic it is about relationship. God will reveal things to you that maybe you have missed before because you heard that passage in a sermon, you may have even memorized some if it but did you take the time to break it down and really understand it. Like any relationship, in order for it to be thriving we need to be intentional. I think a really great guide to help us learn the Bible better is Jen Wilkin. She is an author and Bible study teacher, and what I love about her so much, is she teaches you how to study the Bible for yourself through her studies. I just dove into her Covenant Study in preparation for my church’s winter Bible study as I facilitate a table. One of the very first thing she has you do is summarize a chapter into 2 sentences. That forces you to really dive in and pick out the main theme and actually see everything that happened from the beginning to the end and it’s amazing what you can pick out. There is so much I picked out in Genesis chapters 12-16 that I never really picked up on before. So to summarize this, listening to sermons, reading books, conversation with other believers, Bible studies, podcasts, are all good tools but nothing can take away from pressing in, committing to and learning directly from the word. Father God, thank you for this day and for technology and for the ability to be able to learn about you through all of these other outlets. Whether we are driving the minivan to soccer practice, doing the dishes or folding laundry we have ways to multitask and take in your word. That is such a gift and a blessing that generations before us did not have. Thank you for that gift. Lord help us to get directly into your word and learn how to study the Bible for ourselves. Put the urgency into our heart to get to know you better Lord. For me specifically Lord give me the desire to learn about you often and make the priority, I know I cannot do it with my own strength. For each women listening right now Lord put that desire into her heart. Thank you for her listening to this podcast. For looking at this title and wanting to understand why it is important to take studying the Bible into her own hands. Lord give her a new piece of information this week as she sits down to learn your word this week. Thank you for who you are and for what you have done for us Lord. We were bought with a price and let our lives reflect that. In Jesus’ heavenly name I pray. AMEN.