A Change of Heart
I discovered the intriguing world of inductive Bible study about six years ago. Following the technique I learned from my pastor, I began soaking up the word of God like a sponge. Excitement sparked like lightning inside my brain as I began connecting dots across Scripture. I started to really know the Bible for the first time.
And then something happened. I was faced with my first of three miscarriages and my perfect Bible study routine with all its coffee mug pictures was wrecked.
I could barely see past my grief, let alone search a book of the Bible for the author’s intent or overarching theme. Somehow I had pridefully decided in my mind that those who didn’t study the Bible inductively were doing something wrong. I was a Bible study snob.
Inductive Bible study did its work in my heart those years prior to our losses. Truly, “if the law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction,'' as David says in Psalm 119.
I love deep Bible study, but for a season, I didn’t have the brain space to dig deep. In this season, I needed the Word in a different way. During this time I was no longer merely excited to learn, I was desperate for healing—for the Healer.
Every time I tried to pick it back up, another wave of grief would carry me back to the Psalms. In these pages, I learned to lament, praise, and become more deeply rooted in the Vine in the midst of suffering.
Our approach to Bible study often changes with various seasons. There’s no one size fits all. Chronic illness, a new baby, grief, as well as other stressful circumstances can alter the way we seek the Lord in His Word. And that’s okay.
No Shame in a Devotional
Looking back, I’m sad to admit I had a lot of pride built up in the “how” of studying God’s Word. In my mind, there wasn’t room for devotionals or guided studies. My way was the best way—until I could no longer do it “my way.”
I do believe it’s important to study God’s Word. However, I’ve also learned there’s no shame in seasons when the most you can do is pray a Psalm back to God or read a biblically sound devotional. We must avoid legalism regarding our study. This leads to lifting ourselves above others when doing well or feeling like a worthless Christian when we fall short of our own standards.
Why do we study Scripture anyway? Is it to gain knowledge or solidify our theology? Do we study it to fight sin? Surely these are benefits, but when we make them our sole purpose we miss out on the real treasure. We miss out on Christ.
Jesus is the center of the Bible and He should be at the center of our study. Merely knowing facts about Him isn’t enough—we must seek to know Him through His Word. This is the goal. He is the greatest treasure, and I love what Proverbs 2:1–6 says:
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
As disciples, we should look to God’s Word, seeking to know His character. Wisdom comes from above. True understanding isn’t found in a person who’s full of knowledge about God, but a believer whose heart treasures God.
Practically, one way we can do this is by asking a simple question every time we read Scripture or a devotional: What do I see about God here? Then ponder the truth you’ve found throughout your day, praising Him for who He is.
Bible Study Snobs
I fully believe we should seek to add inductive study to our Bible study diet if possible. But let’s be gracious to ourselves and others when simply reading God’s Word is all they can muster. Don’t become a Bible study snob like I was.
We will all have times of suffering and trial. Let’s commit to taking in Scripture daily while remembering it won’t always look perfect. Just get in the Word and seek Jesus. That’s what truly matters.
Meet the author:
Brittany Allen is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and mama to Theodore and three babies lost through miscarriage. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically, making Christ their ultimate Treasure in every circumstance. Follow her on Instagram @brittleeallen and find more of her writing on her blog at https://brittleeallen.com/.