My grandmother has always loved to work jigsaw puzzles. I have many fond memories of us spending hours in front of a puzzle working well into the night to finish the picture. Even today at the age of 91 with her being almost completely blind and dealing with Alzheimer’s, she still sits for hours working puzzles. The puzzles may have become fewer in pieces, but she still loves fitting the pieces together. When she completes a puzzle she is always excited to show it off, to let you see what she has accomplished of taking all the pieces and fitting them together to reveal the complete picture.
That is what we are doing when we study God’s Word. We are taking each piece of knowledge we receive from reading God’s Word and placing it in its proper place to see God’s story being revealed. We are becoming more Bible literate. Jen Wilkins in her book Women of the Word: How to STUDY the BIBLE with Both OUR HEARTS and OUR MINDS gives her definition of Bible Literacy: “Bible literacy occurs when a person has access to a Bible in a language she understands and is steadily moving toward knowledge and understanding of the text…Bible literacy stitches patchwork knowledge into a seamless garment of understanding.”
I need to be up front and say I do not have it all together and I am not perfect! It is not easy trying to be diligent and faithful in spending time in God’s Word on a daily basis. Let’s be honest, it is a struggle for me and I am sure for many of you. I get in a routine and then something comes along and messes it up. One day becomes two and before long it has been a week. One thing I do know is My God is faithful to forgive me and prompt me to spend time with him.
The other thing I struggle with is how to approach the study of God’s Word. No book, study plan, or Bible study book can replace just digging in and reading God’s Word and letting the Holy Spirit direct you. That being said, I am always interested in seeing, hearing and reading how other people approach the study of God’s Word. Are you one that reads the Bible through once a year or do you select a book at a time? Do you follow a daily devotion or reading plan? Do you write verses down and meditate on them? Or do you just let the Holy Spirit lead you in your reading. Do you use Iva May’s approach in Chronological Bible Teaching reading the Bible Chronologically? How about Jen Wilkin’s 5 P’s of Sound Study approach in her book: Women of the Word: How to STUDY the BIBLE with Both OUR HEARTS and OUR MINDS? In Angie Smith’s study Seamless she streams all of the major stories in the Bible together in one thread. There are so many ways to approach the study of God’s Word, but what are we doing with our knowledge and understanding? Are all the pieces of the puzzle fitting together?
As we start 2018, do you have a plan? Did you make a New Year’s resolution to Study God’s Word more? So how is it going? No matter what plan you use, make sure that you are seeing God’s complete picture. Don’t shy away from the things you don’t understand? I have many times written or said to God, “I don’t understand this passage.” You know, it is usually not long before I hear someone preach on the same passage or read a book where the verse I don’t understand is revealed to me with more understanding. As Women of the Word let’s be more intentional in becoming more Bible Literate this next year.
Lord, may we make a commitment to spend more time in your Word. Not just to gain head knowledge, but to gain understanding so that when the end of 2018 comes around we may be able to see each piece of your Word revealed as a beautiful picture of YOUR LOVE for us from Genesis to Revelation.