Today there were some really great insights the author, Jen Hatmaker, made in chapter 1 of her book A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study.
On page 16, “God never intended for His Word to be tidy, hands-off package with crisp edges and a wealth of mysteries that we set aside until Sunday morning.” And on page 14, “The insights of the Bible are not reserved for pastors, their wives, and Billy Graham.”
NIV “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
The Voice “When Your words are unveiled, light shines forth; they bring understanding to the simple.”
I really like the statement on page 17 in her book: “My methods—or lack thereof—are hindering my progress.” (emphasis added to the my’s because this statement is like hitting a bullseye)
- “Gloves off, how do you really feel about personal Bible study? Why?”
I think it can be a great thing. However, I always feel I don’t have time for it on a continual basis. But am I lying to myself? I know I’m not motivated outside of a Bible study within a group to study the Bible. It tends to be daunting. I know I don’t know enough about the Bible to really study it.
- “Does fear play a role? If so, how? For instance do your experiences play into any of these fears?”
*a. Fear of lacking biblical knowledge: maybe a little
*b. Fear of failure: I’m not quite sure
*c. Fear of getting stuck: maybe a little, but would be very little
*d. Fear of being changed: Maybe, not sure
*e. Fear of commitment: Yes, because giving up part of my already crowded day, I want my free time for me (man, that sounded selfish)
- “In your journal, write about your experience of one or more of these fears.”
did this in (e) above
- “What are your goals for personal Bible study?”
Goals. Well, there’s a word. I honestly don’t know. Maybe that I’ll have a hunger for the Word. This kind of scares me though because as I said, my time is so precious.
a. “What current situations do you want to change?”
Going to church on a more regular basis. Spending quality time with other women believers. To be a better mom and role model to Athena. To deal with Mari’s death better in and near July than I do now. To be closer to Keith to where we talk more about the really important stuff. To have better self-confidence and to believe in myself and my abilities because I am who I am because God made me this way.
b. “What do you want your life to look like as a result?”
A self-confident woman who doesn’t as easily, if at all, take things the wrong way. Someone who is able to easily keep my frustration under control to not getting frustrated at all. To see through even the worst of times how God is in control and to be one who is positive through it.
- “According to John 14:27, the world gives fear, but Jesus give peace. (I love this next statement) We must recognize fear for what it is: an attack strategically placed to keep you from being changedby Scripture.Use scripture to activate Jesus’ peace for the following fears the Enemy uses against you. Look up at least one of the passages—one that is relevant to a fear you struggle with—and write in your journal how that passage can help you overcome fear.”
What the World Gives What Jesus Gives
*a. Fear of lacking knowledge Ephesians 3:17-19, Isaiah 30:19-21
*b. Fear of failure Daniel 10:12; Proverbs 16:3
*c. Fear of getting stuck Jeremiah 33:3; Exodus 15:13
*d. Fear of being changed Ezekiel 36:24-27; Proverbs 15:31-33
*e. Fear of commitment 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 86:11
*a. God’s love for me will always surpass the knowledge I have now or will have in the future about Him. By Him loving me He allows me to get to know Him better if I choose to.
(In my journal that I’m using for this Bible study, I’ve hand written out each one of these verses in 3 different translations: NIV, ICB (International Children’s Bible), and The Voice. I won’t write each one in here but I will put the verse in from The Voice each time, unless I state otherwise, because that is the version that I typically related to and understood the best.)
Ephesians 3:17-19, “So that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their beings.”
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Life Application Study Bible: “God’s love is total,” says Paul. It reaches every corner of our experience. It is wide—it covers the breadth of our own experience, and it reaches out to the whole world. God’s love is long—it continues the length of our lives. It is high—it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep—it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death. When you feel shut out or isolated, remember that you can never be lost to God’s love.”
Isaiah 30:19-21 (ICB), “[I]…will not cry anymore. The Lord will hear [my] crying, and He will comfort [me]. The Lord will hear [me], and He will help [me]. The Lord has given [me] sorrow and hurt. It was like the bread and water [I] ate every day. But He is [my] Teacher., and He will not continue to hide from [me]. [I] will see [my] Teacher with [my] own eyes. If [I] go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—[I] will hear a voice behind [me]. It will say, ‘This is the right way. You should go this way.’”
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible for verse 20: “The Lord gave His people the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, but He promised to be with them, teach them, and guide them during hard times. God expects a lot from us, and many times following Him can be painful; but He always acts out of His love for us. Next time [I] go through a difficult time, [I need to] try to appreciate the experience and grow from it, learning what God wants to teach [me]. God may be showing [me] His love by patiently walking with [me] through adversity.”
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible for verse 21: “When the people of Jerusalem left God’s path, He would correct them. He will do the same for us. But when we hear His voice of correction, we must be willing to follow it!”
* The highlighted note above touched me the most. The bottom line that no matter what happens in my lifetime god is there giving me the strength to get through.
As for how either one of these passages can help me over come my fear, I don’t see that for this fear here.
*b. Daniel 10:12, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. From the very first day that you began to pursue understanding and humble yourself before God, your words have been heard. I have been sent in response to what you’ve said.”
* It’s important to remember that through all things Good is beside us. We never to have fear failure because if we humble ourselves before God He will always be there beside us helping us.
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible for verse 12: “Answers to our prayers may be hindered by unseen obstacles. Don’t expect God’s answers to come too easily or too quickly. Prayer may be challenged by evil forces, so pray fervently and pray earnestly. Then expect God to answer at the right time.”
* I loved this note because we all get so impatient with God. We want answers now instead of waiting for God’s answer because His time is almost always not our timing.
Proverbs 16:3, “Whatever [I] do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee [my] success.”
Part of note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible: “We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on Him, while working as if everything depended on us.”
* I think we all too often just expect God to do all the grunt work and we reap all the rewards. We must remember to always do whatever we can and remembering we’re doing it for God and not ourselves.
*c. Jeremiah 33:3, “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known.’”
Exodus 15:13 (ICB), “You keep Your loving promise. You lead the people You have saved. With Your strength You will guide them to Your hold land.”
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible: “God is ready to answer [my] prayers, but [I] must ask for His assistance. Surely God could take care of [my] needs without [me]asking. But when [I] ask, [I am] acknowledging that [He] alone is God and that [I] cannot accomplish in [my] own strength all that is His domain to do. When [I] ask, [I] must humble [myself], lay aside [my] wilfulness and worry, and determine to obey Him.”
* The Jeremiah passage is so true. The note at the bottom really puts it into perspective.
*d. Ezekiel 36:24-27
Note from bottom of the page in my NIV Bible: “No matter how impure your life is right now, God offers you a fresh start. You can have your sins washed away, receive a new heart for God, and have his Spirit within you—if you accept God’s promise. Why try to patch up your old life when you can have a new one?”
Proverbs 15:31-33, “Those who learn from the lessons of life will join the others who are wise. Those who disregard discipline sabotage themselves, but those who are open to correction gain understanding. Reverence for the Eternal is the first lesson of wisdom, and humility always precedes honor.”
With the second verse, I think that’s more applicable to me as a believer. I’ve always been told that I’m good with constructive criticism. It’s important that we always try to improve who we are as a person. Changing for the better, you can never go wrong.
*e. 2 Chronicles 16:9, “The Eternal watches everything that happens on earth so that He may strongly support those who follow Him. By hiring mercenaries, you have acted foolishly and proven that you are not following Him. From now on, peace will elude you and you will surely fight wars.
Psalm 86:11 (ICB), “Lord teach me what You want me to do. And I will live by Your truth. Teach me to respect you completely.”
When we remember to put our faith and trust in God, He will guide us down the path we’re on. He will always be beside us. We must always remember to put Him first above all else. I personally felt more connected to the second verse.
This is the end of my first day in this Bible study. It’s been a very interesting experience so far. I hope you will enjoy this journey along with me.