If you ask any of my family and friends, I was a huge fan of The Daily Grace Co. long before working here. I have given, recommended, and taught our studies at church for several years. Why do I tell you this, you might wonder? As I walk through one of our products with you, I know that I have shared it many times before joining this amazing company. I genuinely love this product and believe it will help you grow in your walk with the Lord, so I want to tell you how you can use it to grow spiritually in this new year.
As a new year begins, cultivating good habits is front and center in all aspects of life. We want to eat better, exercise more, and have better Bible Study habits. We all struggle with creating good habits for studying God's Word. Sometimes we are in a season of life where we have more time to dig deeper. Other times, we are so busy that we are lucky to meditate on a single verse for five minutes. Whether we have a few minutes or an hour to spend in the Word, the goal is always to know our Savior better. This is why I love the Abide Journal. It allows for deeper study of the Bible, but you get to set the pace.
Let's look at how to use this helpful tool.
- Choose a book of the Bible you would like to study. If you are new to studying the Bible daily, consider picking a smaller book to start. Then work up to those longer prophetic books. Let's pick Colossians as an example.
- Day one: Take some time to read through the book in its entirety. If it is a longer book, break it up over two days. Reading the book in this way will help you with context and the main themes. After all, Colossians, for example, was written in letter form. We almost never read mail in small increments; we usually read the whole thing. Make this a habit as you approach your study.
- Day two and every day after: The beauty of the Abide Journal is you can go as fast or as slow as you like. In the top left corner, you get to write down what passage you plan to study that day. It can be one verse or a whole chapter. The sweet spot is usually somewhere in between. Try to keep groups of thought and subject matters together. This is where having read the whole book will help you break it down. In our Colossians example, a good place to start would be Colossians 1:1–14. Colossians 1:1–2 would be relatively short, while the whole chapter, which is twenty-eight verses, would be a lot to cover in one day. Begin by reading your passage, then follow the section prompts below.
- Be Still – In this section, look for contextual info. This is where you get to be a detective and put your observation skills to use. What do you notice in the text? Look for words that repeat, lists, and major themes.
- Abide – After you write your observations in the Be Still section, you will seek to understand what the text meant to the original audience.
- Cross-references help the reader use scripture to interpret scripture. In your study Bible use the tiny letters within the verse to match corresponding letters in the commentary section. This section is often located at the bottom or in a side column. These corresponding passages will help shed light on a similar idea or thought.
- Summarize or paraphrase the text to become more familiar with the passage.
- Note how the passage points to Jesus and the gospel.
- Adore – All of Scripture points to God's character. Whenever you study a passage, look for the attributes of God. In this section, write out how the passage displays God's character. Helpful Hint: There is a chart at the front of the journal that lists the attributes and their definitions.
- Apply – Lastly, ask how the truths you learned in God's Word change you? What sinful patterns do you need to put aside? How does the passage help you become more like Jesus?
- Repeat the process each day with the next set of verses until you complete the book you are studying. Then prayerfully choose another book and start the process again. The more you practice these skills, the more you will use them to think about Scripture during your Pastor's sermon or the Bible Study you attend.
- The Abide Journal also has a Prayer section and an Adore section. Use these sections to keep track of prayer needs and to list out all the ways you have seen God's faithfulness in your life.
The Abide Journal is one of my favorite tools to use and give. If you are still somewhat intimidated to dive into the Word in this way, just give it a try. The journal has example pages for each item to walk you through the process. Putting in the time to deeply study God's Word will never return void in your life. New habits can be difficult to start and maintain, but they are always worth it. Dive in and enjoy the process of getting to know your Savior better.