How I Study the Bible

February 16, 2022
By: Wendy Alsup

My 40-year-old memories of youth group are hazy, but a clear theme was ingrained in my psyche growing up in the church. I needed to study the Bible on my own! I started many a new method with the grandest of intentions, but I’d fail after a few weeks. This pattern repeated in my life for decades, with a trail of half-filled journals to show for it. Finally, in my late 40’s and early 50’s, a two-part method has emerged that I’ve been able to keep consistently, perhaps because the two methods counterbalance the weaknesses of each.

Schedule Time to Sit with the Scriptures

My first method is the grand one. It’s my big, noble goal. Instead of using a traditional journal, I buy a yearly day timer. I prefer a dated, weekly one. I schedule in my online calendar a time in the morning to sit quietly with my day timer and the Scriptures (and without my phone). I read Scripture, pray, and write out both prayer requests and encouragement (or rebuke) from the Scriptures on that day in my day timer. This method requires me to:

  • Plan ahead a quiet time in a quiet place
  • Gather my Bible and day timer
  • Sit for a bit without interruption

This method has proven helpful because the day timer makes it clear when I’ve let a long time go between these quiet times.

Read Until a Thought Strikes

But I have a second method that picks up the slack when that time I had set apart for quiet study gets eaten by an unexpected need at work or home. Frankly, as a single mom who works full time, lots of grand intentions for quiet, prolonged Bible study get eaten up in the daily grind that is my life.

Last Christmas, my sister bought me a small, inexpensive journaling New Testament. I have strategically placed it by the chair in my house where I regularly sit and check my cell phone. This method of Bible study requires me simply to discipline myself to pick up my New Testament before I turn on my phone to check social media or news. I turn to my bookmark in the New Testament and read until one thought has struck me (my mind rarely has room for more than one thought). Each page of this particular journaling New Testament has a blank space where I can make note of the principle or description from Scripture that struck me and write out any burdens for which I am praying. This method is quick and doesn’t require forethought. And in my crazy daily life, it has been a lifeline to nourishment from Scripture when the time for longer, deeper study is unavailable.

We need grand feasts of Scripture. We need time in the Word with the appetizer of prayer, the main course of Bible reading, and the dessert of meditation on what we have read. But grand feasts are not always feasible. We won’t survive without spiritual protein bars and trail mix. I encourage you to put a journaling Bible somewhere you spend a lot of time. Leave it out in your line of sight with a pen stuck in the middle of it. And discipline yourself to put down your phone and pick it instead. This is the spiritual fuel that will keep you going on the marathon that is your busy daily life until you have time to sit and feast anew.

Are you excited to start journaling as you read the Bible? The NKJV Bible Journals are the perfect resource as you begin this journey. Focus on one book at a time and soak up the Word of God – with a full page of lined paper next to each page of Scripture, you’ll never run out of journaling space. Learn more.

Wendy Alsup

Wendy Alsup is a mom and math teacher in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She is the author of Companions in Suffering: Comfort for Times of Loss and Loneliness and I Forgive You: Finding Peace and Moving Forward When Life Really Hurts.

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