A basic journal or notebook has also been an invaluable tool while studying the word. Taking notes on what stands out in the passage or writing a summary in my own words can be a powerful way to start to digest and even remember the passage. I really like these moleskin style journals and I have used many over the years, but you will also find me using a cheap notebook from recycled paper from Target at times too. The goal is just to be reading and then processing what I have read, as often as possible. And this processing of the Word is aided by physically writing down what the Holy Spirit brings to your attention. Journaling brings about a powerhouse of revelation in the Word, otherwise I find it easy to read a passage and not engage with it enough to really remember exactly what I was reading.
Whenever I am starting a new book of the Bible, my Study Bible is the first place I go to find out the Who, What, When, Where and Why. At the front of every book, it is going to talk about the background information that will be invaluable to trying to understand what genre that book is, who wrote it, who the audience of the book is and why it may have been written. Also, you will find key parts of history that may have been happening at the time and places where the book was written, as well as maps of the region, routes, charts or diagrams that can add color to what is happening in the book. Without understanding these key components we might be tempted to read the book for just what it is saying to us today, instead of first what God was saying to the people then. Jen Wilkin does a deep dive into why all of this is important in Women of the Word, which I talk about below.
Another reason, these two Study Bibles have been incredible resources for me is when I am trying to get unstuck in the Word. After re-reading a passage, journaling through it and even using my cross-references, I will then try to see what the Study Bible will say about that passage. It is so helpful to see other points of view or extra background information that may be found in the bottom part of the Study Bible.
Honestly, it is a tragedy that Jen Wilkin titles this book Women of the Word, because I know a couple of men pastors who say that this is the best book they have read of how to easily start studying your Bible. In fact, the first time I heard about this book was at a Parent’s Discipleship Resource Night where my church was trying to help equip parents on how they can first dig into the Word themselves, because we can’t give our kids what we don’t already possess. The pastor’s whole talk was built out of this book and he encouraged everyone there that night (even men) to read pick up a copy of this book.
This book is both a fun quick read and the resource I come back to time and time again. I have a feeling I will never put this book away for good and I can’t recommend it enough to every person who wants to use their Bible to know and love Jesus more.
A Journible is tool for writing out the Word using a hard backed book that gives you a space to write every verse on the lefthand side of the page and gives you a place for notes on the right side of the page. I wish that the Journibles were a bit more feminine looking, but they truly are such a wonderful resource. If you just can’t get past their covers, another good option are the Illuminated Scripture Journals seen below. They are a better resources for keeping your notes than they are for sheerly recopying the word. They simply do not give the room needed to write the whole book out, but they are cheaper and definitely beautiful to look at.
If you have never tried to write out the word, you don’t have to recopy a whole book, but rather you could start by simply recopying a passage or a chapter from the Bible into a journal. Some good ideas might be: Psalm 19 or 29, Isaiah 40, or John 1.
However, if you are ready for the challenge of doing a whole book check out the Bible Study section here for an easy step by step plan on how you can write and study a whole book of the Bible.
These commentaries are not a word-for-word breakdown of the Bible, but rather helpful thoughts on how the content of that book connects back to Jesus. They are written by a collaboration of authors and the authors even change based upon which book of the Bible that CCE is based on. I try not to read these until I have really grappled with the passage myself. These are Bible scholars thoughts on the passage and cannot replace the personal revelation that God has for you and me from His word. Yet, I find that these commentaries help to round out my understanding on a certain passage that is similar to being in a book club with friends where the “joy shared is a joy doubled.” I just can’t say enough good things about the Christ-Centered Exposition series and I am grateful for all the ways it has showed me that the whole Bible is connected by the red thread of Jesus.
I would never recommend a devotion taking the place of your time in the Word, but I would recommend it to help “stoke the fire” when it comes to longing for and loving God more. Paul David Tripp is just amazing and I think he will go down as one of the all time greatest Christian writers. This devotion is an amazing gift to give and is absolutely gospel centered.
If you don’t like to be challenged, don’t read this haha (but you are here so I know you do!) There is a devotion for everyday, but sometimes I just open up to random day. It never matters, because I am always recalibrated to remember that Jesus is King, that my life is all about Him and that His glory matters most in every situation.
I know this is a kid’s book. But y’all, this book is sooo good at helping you and me to connect the dots that the whole Bible is about Jesus. The tagline for the Jesus Storybook Bible is that “every story whispers his name,” and ahhh it couldn’t be more true.
I have been reading this storybook for the last 7+ years to my kids and wow, I am always learning, always challenged and always touched by the writing and illustrations of this book. It is also amazing on audiobook.
My kids and I started reading this book for our homeschool curriculum this year and I just LOVE it. It takes the gospel truths makes them easier for kids to understand without dumbing down the theology. The illustrations are also just sooo beautiful. I had to wait 3 months for this book to come in, because it was backordered, but now I know why! It is amazing and something that I believe will become a staple in Christian households much like the Jesus Storybook Bible is.
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