Does studying or understanding scripture seem overwhelming to you? Picking up a Bible can be mind-boggling. There are so many different translations to choose from. How on earth are you supposed to figure out which Bible version is best for you? And how will you ever understand what the scriptures are trying to teach you?
Maybe you’ve heard different scriptures throughout your life. In a church, while the pastor was giving his sermon, during Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, or perhaps even in a Bible study that you’ve taken since.
Or, it could be you are feeling a nudge to see what the Bible is all about for the first time in your life.
Studying the Bible does not have to be hard. In fact, when you use these very simple steps, you’ll be able to finally unlock scripture the easy way.
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When I was young, I can remember trying to understand the King James Version of the Bibles that were nestled in that little wooden pocket on the backs of all the pews.
I’d memorize those hard-to-understand verses for Sunday School or Vacation Bible School, but if I’m being honest, it was only to get one of those cool awards I’d been collecting from my favorite Sunday School teacher.
I never paid much attention to what the verse was teaching, and quite honestly, I probably wouldn’t have really understood them anyway.
There are so many books and chapters of the Bible that are difficult to understand. The stories are from so long ago they seem irrelevant now.
How on earth can they relate to you and your life today?
HOW Can scripture benefit you?
There is a lot you can learn and gain from studying scripture. It:
- Gives you guidance on how to live out your life.
- Provides truths and promises from God which allow you to navigate your way through the endless challenges and difficulties throughout your life.
- Helps you to learn how to embrace your challenges for what they truly are – opportunities to learn and grow.
- Teaches you that it is possible to have both peace and pain at the very same time.
- Fosters a real relationship with God. After all, there’s a big difference between knowing God and just knowing about Him.
What’s the Best way to Understand Scripture for beginners?
But recently, I did something a little different.
I worked through a Bible study that had a different verse associated with it every day. The author encouraged us to take that verse and write it down using different translations of the Bible.
I spent my adult life studying God’s word using the New Living Translation of The Life Application Study Bible (which I love by the way), but performing this simple assignment using different translations helped me to really dive deeper into The Word. For the first time in my life, I finally began to truly understand and unlock the meaning behind the verses.
It was such an easy thing to do, and yet it was one of the most powerful studies I’ve ever done.
For instance, in Proverbs 3:5-6, the New Living Translation teaches us
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
Reading from The New Living Translation, it does give you a great understanding that you are to seek His will in everything you do and he will guide you on which way to go.
But let’s take a look at a couple of other translations.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. AMPC
Adding the word “confident” in the Amplified Bible Classic Edition helps you to see that when you trust in God, you can go to him before stepping out and be confident that he will guide you and show you which way path to take.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. MSG
The Message Bible goes even further. “Don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” Be patient and listen for God’s voice in absolutely everything you do. And the most important, “don’t assume that you know it all.”
As you can see by reading (and writing) different translations, you get a far better understanding of the verse. Each one unlocks more to help you better understand its meaning.
How Can I Dive DEEPER into the word?
You’ve probably memorized, paraphrased, or heard a handful of verses throughout your life. Such as,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT
But have you ever sat down to read the entire chapter that each of those verses come from?
By performing this very simple act, you’ll get a more complete picture of what the verses mean and how you can apply it in your life.
Using the verse that we discussed above, Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. NLT
When you read the entire chapter of Proverbs 3 (which takes less than five minutes), it:
- Gives you a deeper understanding of why you can trust God and how you can take the steps to do just that.
- Helps you to see that because He has a specific plan for your life, He knows what’s best for you and how to get you to it. Quite frankly it’s a whole lot easier than when you try to forge it for yourself. (Ask me how I know this!)
- It also teaches you not to be afraid of discipline from the Lord or of sudden disaster, that He alone is your security, and that the Lord corrects those he loves.
What’s the fastest way to make time for reading scriptures?
I understand that it is tough trying to fit time with God into your already hectic day. But there are plenty of ways to do it.
Just like when you spend time nurturing a new friendship, you should also spend time really getting to know who God is.
After all, it’s the most important relationship in your life, so shouldn’t you sacrifice some of your time for it?
You could spend some time at morning swim practice, evening ball games, and practices, or at your favorite vacation spot. Spend time during your lunch hour or a few minutes before your day gets started.
Simply bring your journal and a pen with you, pull up Bible Gateway on your phone, and write your verse for the day!
This can be so darn easy (because let’s face it, we all need easy in our life!), and doesn’t have to cost a dime!
Keep in mind, if you miss a day or two, it’s o.k.
God is still waiting for you and is definitely not mad that you haven’t shown up. He’s a patient and loving God just waiting for you. Simply pick back up where you left off and keep on going! He is always there, ready to teach you something new (Yep!, I’ve missed plenty of days myself.)
A 30-Day Scripture Writing Challenge
Now that you see how valuable studying scripture and spending time in the presence of God can be in your life, what do you say we don’t just talk about it, we actually do it?
I’ve put together a FREE 30-Day Scripture Writing Challenge for you. Simply subscribe to our newsletter below and I’ll send the first verse to your inbox right now!
I have no doubt that you’re going to love how writing different translations of each verse unlocks what the Bible is teaching you. You’ll finally see how it applies to your life right now.
Here’s how it works:
- I’ll email you a new verse every day for 30 days. (Don’t worry, it’ll be a short email.)
- You read and write the verse each day using your favorite Bible and then hop on over to Bible Gateway to be able to read and write each verse using different translations. I usually choose three to five different translations. You do what works best for you.
If this little challenge seems too easy, that’s because it is!
But don’t let that fool you! It may be easy, but it’s so incredibly powerful!
What do i need to study scripture?
You don’t need much, nor do you have to spend a lot of money (or any, for that matter).
- Prayer Journal – You can use just about anything for your prayer journal. Pick up a journal from Walmart, Target, Staples, or find some of my favorites at DaySpring. Or, simply grab an extra notebook that the kids didn’t use this past school year. (You know what I’m talking about… the notebook where they only wrote in a couple of pages and then left the rest of it completely empty!)
- Bible – My two favorite Bibles are the Life Application Study Bible and The Beyond Suffering Bible. Having a study Bible provides the extra help you need to understand the context of what the Bible is teaching you. (Think of it like cliff notes. Am I dating myself here?) If you don’t have a Bible, no worries, you can use an app like Bible Gateway below.
- Bible Gateway – This app can be pulled up on your phone or computer, making it super easy! If you already have a Bible, use it for one of the translations and then jump on Bible Gateway for the rest.
- Pen and highlighter.
- Blank Scripture Cards – Download our FREE blank scripture cards from our community library so that you can write your favorite verses and have them with you any time you need some encouragement.
See what I mean? Super cheap and easy!
There’s absolutely nothing more powerful when you’re needing encouragement than being able to stand firm on God’s promises because of everything you’ve learned from this powerful way of studying scripture.
By spending time getting to know Him, you’ll be able to arm yourself for anything this life throws at you.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Don’t forget to sign-up for our 30-Day Scripture Writing Challenge so you can get started right away, and be sure to say hello before you leave!
Until next time, my friend…
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