- You will remember more of what you read.
- You brain will connect old and new information.
- You will gain confidence in your handling and understanding of Scripture.
Today I have an easy study tip for you. You'll be amazed not only by what you learn, but by what you retain if you put it into practice.
Read and reread.
That's it. Take the passage you are studying and read through it multiple times. (Rick Warren recommends at least 5 times in his Bible Study Methods book.) It's up to you to decide if you prefer reading in one sitting or spreading it out. I tend to glaze over if I do it at one sitting, but it takes a little more planning to get multiple readings in several days in advance.
For example, if you attend (or teach) a Sunday Bible study or small group (you know, Sunday school), start today and read through the lesson passage. Don't try to mark it, highlight it, or analyze it. Just read it. Repeat daily the rest of the week and by class time or lesson prep time, you'll have a tremendous foundation ready for God to build on.
Here's a special Christmas season project for you. This week, read Matthew 1 each day, maybe even in the evening with the family. Next week, read Matthew 2. The following week read Luke 1, and the week after that Luke 2. Soak in the details and the wonder of God who clothed Himself in flesh, and chose to live among us and identify with us.
Happy reading and re-reading!
One of my jobs each week is getting the bulletin ready. It’s less of a program for the worship service and more like a newsletter. In trying to find something substantive for the back page, I ran across an email with a piece reprinted from Rick Warren. He quotes Habakkuk (which is one of my favorite little books) and makes the statement, “Even as you make a decision to follow the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay.”
When God does that, every bit of faith I mustered to take that step, to follow that dream, gets pitched right out the window. If God would tell me up front, “Now it’s going to take five years (or ten or twenty) before this all comes to pass,” I’d be all set. He never does that though. He expects me to trust Him. From beginning to end. Without constant reassurance.
I don’t have to be reassured that Jesus is really giving me eternity in heaven. I don’t have to be reminded that God is omnipotent. So what’s the difference? Me. That dream, that assignment began in God’s mind and is a part of His plan which cannot fail. However, I often fall into believing the success rests solely with me now. The pressure mounts to make it happen.
God never tells me I have to bring His plans to fruition. One reason for the delay is to make sure I understand that it isn’t about what I can do for God. It’s about seeing God’s purposes fulfilled, getting to be there when it happens.
The other thing I need to grasp- quoting Rick Warren again- “A delay is not a denial.” If things don’t fall in place after what I think is a reasonable time, I take that as a sign I’ve done something wrong, God is displeased, and I’m being benched. God has a timetable and His purposes will always be accomplished. Always. A promise is a promise.
If I trust God with my eternal soul… surely I can trust Him when it seems things aren’t working out the way I thought they were going to. It sounds so simple when I type it out. I’ll keep working on it.