How to Study the Bible
Looking back at my journey of becoming more biblically literate, I am reminded that I grew tremendously when I ordered the Give Me Jesus Journal at the end of 2019. Before this, I only picked up my Bible on Sundays during church. My life was filled with devotionals on the Bible App, but I didn’t know how to actually read my Bible. When I did read my Bible, I fell into the trap of making it all about me instead of all about God. I would watch Bible study videos by Kim Cash Tate on YouTube, but I didn’t know how to read the Bible by myself.
In the Fall of 2019, I read Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. It completely changed the way I viewed Scripture. This made me want to be intentional about actually reading my Bible. After this, I found Phylicia Masonheimer on Instagram. She talked a lot about Bible literacy and theology. This made me realize how little I knew about God and the Bible.
One day Phylicia posted that she used the Give Me Jesus Journal for her devotional time. I was intrigued so I checked out the website. It looked beautiful and had different sections for Bible study and prayer. The journal also had everything I needed in one place. I wanted something I could carry with me in my backpack to school that wouldn’t be too big. Well-Watered Women was also having a sale at the time, so I decided to purchase the journal.
A Need for Structure
Before this, I tried to do my Bible studies with a generic journal. Often my notes were scattered because they lacked structure. As a result, it was more difficult to interpret and apply Scripture. The Give Me Jesus Journal, however, had labeled sections that made my Bible reading time clearly centered around Jesus, as it should be.
Because I was new to studying my Bible, I needed something that offered some guidance for how I should spend that time. The Give Me Jesus Journal offered just that. The structure of the journal and all that it entailed really inspired me to be consistent with my Bible reading. I was able to see the Bible in context and it allowed me to actually enjoy learning more about God.
On the days where it was difficult to make time to read my Bible, I would remember the Word before World Manifesto (located in the journal) that I would recite every day.
Click the printable Word Before World Manifesto below for a free download.
Approaching Scripture with Purpose
That little push helped me to be intentional about putting this time with Jesus first. I know that new journals can be overwhelming, but I honestly felt inspired flipping through this journal for the first time. Cluttered information can overwhelm me, but the layout of the journal seemed so intentional, I didn’t feel that way at all.
The first book of the Bible that I studied with the Give Me Jesus Journal was 1 John. Sometimes I struggle with just immediately jumping into Scripture, but the journal reminded me to slow down and prepare my heart through prayer. Through that time of reading 1 John, I really enjoyed the “Be Still and Know” section.
As someone who struggles with anxiety, that section allowed me to surrender whatever was on my mind and heart that day so that I could completely focus on Scripture. Also, I really enjoyed the “What am I learning about God?” section because it helped me to learn more about the attributes of God. It helped me to relate Scripture back to God before I applied it to my life.
Pray Big Prayers
The prayer section towards the back of the journal also helped me tremendously. I would get overwhelmed with all of my prayer points; however, with the journal, I was able to separate my prayers by day. This took away that overwhelming feeling and allowed me to pray more deeply about each topic.
The prayer section also taught me how to pray God’s Word back to him. This is where I realized the beauty of writing down your prayers to God. My prayers became more intentional and specific as a result. The prayer section strengthened my prayer life tremendously.
Time in the Word
Before the pandemic, I spent my daily time in the Word in my car during my breaks at school. That was honestly a very rewarding season of my life. Taking that time to use my journal and read the Word allowed me to feel refreshed for the rest of my school day. I had to truly learn to prioritize that downtime.
I’m very good at “keeping busy” so sometimes I had to say no to certain things so that I could keep that study time free. Now, my time in the Word takes place in my home at random hours of the day. Since I am not a morning person, my study time is normally in the afternoon. I try to start my devotional time off with worship music and then I spend about 30–40 minutes in the Word, which I end up doing about five times a week.
Making an Impact
I can honestly say that the journal has made a huge impact on my life. As a result, I’ve been able to impact the lives of those in my community because of my deepened relationship with Christ. As a college student, I am surrounded by people from all different walks of life.
I started a women’s Christian organization at my university. I was able to better equip my executive board and the ladies within our organization with this newfound knowledge of God and his Word. We even had a general body meeting discussing the importance of Bible literacy and how to read your Bible!
I’ve also been able to pour into my close friends. Prior to purchasing the journal, I was terrified to have Bible studies with others. I never had anything to add because I didn’t know how to understand the big picture or even the small details of Scripture. Since then, I have read through Luke with my best friend and now I am reading through Proverbs with another friend.
I have also led multiple Bible studies through my Christian organization. I know that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even share what I’ve learned from Scripture if I didn’t have the Give Me Jesus Journal as my encouragement and organizational structure. As a well-watered woman, I’ve been able to encourage others in their walks with God, for which I will forever be grateful.