You had a great life planned out. But here you are changing diapers, running a vacuum cleaner and planning daily meals. Or maybe typing business notes for your boss or scrubbing floors at a restaurant. How did you end up here? And how are you going to make any difference in the world doing this? You only have one life.
A retreat speaker once said she had chosen “GG” to be her grandmother name. It stands for “Godly Grandmother”. My mind drew a picture of a saintly old woman in her rocker with her Bible on her lap. Yes! I want my children and grandchildren to have a godly grandmother. One whose voice and advice echos in their mind long after I am gone.
I have always looked up to my grandmothers and I want to follow in their footsteps. I decided then and there that “GG” was my desired grandma name also.
What Makes a Godly Godmother?
I returned home from the retreat and God began to talk with me about what does that mean? Are you suddenly a godly grandmother just because you have 3 or 4 grandbabies? A grandmother is loved and treasured. She makes cookies and treats for her grandkids but how do you get that “godly” word to form in front of “grandma”? God began to show me that to be that Godly Grandmother, it had to start now. Now before my children are even raised and having children of their own.
Actually, it doesn’t really have anything to do with being a grandmother. It has to do with living a holy life before God and man. Studying His Word. Spending time in prayer, listening to Him, obeying His commandments and instructions to you, worshiping Him on a regular basis. Living life before your children and grandchildren that exemplifies God. This is the definition of a godly grandparent.
I recently picked up a book by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee. You may know them from the largely publicized fight for rights ~ Hobby Lobby vs. Obamacare. Jackie and her husband is the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. Or more recently they have been largely involved with the creating and opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.
Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy
Mother and daughter teamed up to write this precious book about legacy. They share about the matriarchs in their own family and how they themselves have been challenged to continue the legacy to new generations of the Green family.
There lives alone would encourage us to live godly legacies but they don’t stop there. They submit that there are many ways to create a legacy in our lives by showing us a dozen different roads to legacy. This alone creates an excitement that, “yes, indeed”, no matter where you are in life, you can create a lasting legacy. Legacy comes from the courage we live out through our struggles. It comes from lives of generosity, wisdom, compassion, and of course, the faith and prayer that we might first think of.
Jackie and Lauren create this excitement by sharing stories of women. Stories of Biblical women, known and little known, that made a difference all the way to the cross.
Legacy Builders of All Times
There are also so many women of history that encourage us that we can make a difference for the next generation. They share about Susie Spurgeon, Elizabeth Elliot, and Corrie Ten Boom, and many more down through history.
Even if you have no legacy to fall back on. You can lean on these and others to encourage you to build your own legacy for others. Even if you have no children to whom a legacy can be left, others can see your life and be encouraged.
“We believe that God will multiply our days and shape an eternal legacy.
So, women of God, together let’s be a generation of legacy-building leaders—of generosity and prayer, through loyalty and witness—wherever God calls us to go. A great adventure lies ahead!
Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy
CHALLENGE: Let’s Make a List
So, who has built a legacy for you?
We want to know. Michele and I are planning several legacy link-ups this summer. We’ll begin with women who have built your legacy. Start thinking about who that is and write a tribute to her. Post it in your own blog and then come back here and link up with us. Share your post and read about other legacy builders from our readers. Michele and I are excited to learn who has built a legacy in your life and why they encourage you to continue the legacy.
Leaving a Legacy;
Subscribe before you leave to be notified when the link-up is live. We can’t wait. How about you?
I purchased this book after seeing the Greens interview on the Huckabee Show. The above review is my personal and honest review. Following you will find the Huckebee Interview.
We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews.
This is not my normal “Cooks Corner” article. I prefer to do funny and informative. But let’s face it- we all have serious moments and seasons in our life. These seasons challenge and refine several points of our character. How we handle the refining of our character becomes the ingredients in our recipe for life. Refining can be painful, but the pain acts as a pruning. Pruning the branches in your life that are not fruitful, maybe even branches that are poisoning the rest of your life.
I just returned from Wisconsin where I was certain I was traveling home to bury my father but instead watched him return from death’s door. It was a relief to see him alive, but I know fifty years of diabetes is bound to take a toll on your kidneys and heart. So, time is short and I need to make the most of the time I have.
Arm Chair Quarterback
Talking about one’s life makes you vulnerable. I think we all like to protect ourselves and our family- which is natural. We like to pretend “it’s all okay” and that we are invincible. Everyone has “stuff” to deal with in their life. My “stuff” is going to look different than your “stuff”. And it is really easy to say to someone “Yes, but you have it easier, my situation is harder…”. I am here to tell you, do not belittle someone else’s situation. Our individual situations affect us differently. We each have to walk out day to day life with that situation or that person. It easy to call the shots when you’re not the one having to deal with the results. Our life challenges can be complicated and they often involve feelings and emotions. Life is messy, people are messy.
I am totally guilty of dispensing advice with the backhand of a tennis pro. You should do this, and then that. Callously lobbing advice to someone about their life, pointing out shortcomings and then the “biggie”- JUDGEMENT.
I often am reminded of Job, the Bible character, and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. I really believe these three friends came with good intentions, but ultimately really hurt Job. If they had been my friends I would have removed them from my Christmas card list and unfriended them from Facebook. But, being the guy Job was, he most likely chalked up their advice and judgment as “misguided”. Forgiving them and moved on.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the book of Job, which is located in the Old Testament of the Bible, you should go read it. After reading Job, go check out this awesome YouTube video by The Bible Project. They give you a “cliff notes/whiteboard” version of Job. Then check out another The Bible Project animation YouTube video about the book of Job.
friend or foe?
Photo Credit: Momentmal
Much of what we do and say can be counterproductive in others lives. We don’t like to see people we love in pain or suffer. So we say things we think may be helpful or consoling. Or worse, we get into the seat of judgment pronouncing their shortcomings and possible sins which led to the current situation. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to be a listener. Just having someone listening and being reassuring is very soothing.
I wish the book of Job had a reconciliation for Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, but it doesn’t. God stepped in and put the proper perspective on Jobs situation. If you watched the above-mentioned animation, I hope you enjoyed Job being humbled as God began to show Job how intricately He designed the universe, nature and human life. A “Universe of complex decisions”… God taking care of it all, all according to his plan. My heart was pierced when God asked if Job could design and run the universe. Who am I to tell God how to do things?
Diamonds of out us
Photo Credit: Open Clipart-Vextors
To see these challenges as Gods tool for refining us, not punish us, is the biggest obstacle. It is a process and not something we just whiz through all smiles. Sometimes He is gentle and sometimes He gets out 60 grit sandpaper- ouch! All for our good and all for His glory.
So as you go throughout your days and weeks, each and every person you encounter is dealing with something. Today may be a good day or today may be a bad day. We all need to practice grace and forgiveness. Time is short. We have just this one life. Love on people. Especially unlovable people who you know, work with or live with. It may not seem like your making progress, but you are. Inside you, things will change, if you let it.
Recipe For Life
4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of Hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
4 quarts of Faith
1 barrel of Laughter
Take Love and Loyalty, mix it thoroughly with Faith.
Blend it with Tenderness, Kindness & Understanding.
Sprinkle abundantly with Laughter.
Bake it with Sunshine.
Serve daily with Generous Helpings.
I lack the words to tell you the effect this weekend has had on me. I went to visit my dear friend, Debra at the nursing home. She is fighting Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Besides the chemotherapy and some kind of radiation cap that she had to wear all the time, Debra has had two brain surgeries to try to stop the swelling and the growth of cancer. The doctors give her less than six months to live.
I entered the nursing home at the far end of the facility. It was a long walk down to Debra’s room but it gave me a chance to see the whole facility. It all looked nice. I was comforted to see that she was in a clean facility. There were seating areas everywhere and visiting rooms and dining areas. There were wonderful helpful workers all along the way. My hat is off to the nursing staff that works with these precious people suffering from such debilitating diseases. I am thankful for every one of them.
I could give you a discourse of the next two hours but for my friend’s sake, I’ll just share a few things I have found lacking as I go through this trial with my friend. I’m just a bystander in this matter. Although, being a pastor’s wife, I have gone alongside many time.
The Greatest Need is Support For the Caregivers
My husband and I found that what is really lacking is support for the caregiver. Awareness is rising of late but we really need to become more aware of people with chronic illness, cancer or not. I would like to see churches create a team of people that make sure our sick do not fall through the cracks. Sadly, the sick become “Out of Sight: Out of Mind”. I recently read this article about How Can the Church Better Serve Chronically Ill by Shona Smith. Shona had some wonderful advice for churches. Even the sick could take this information and share it with their chur leaders.
The Caregiver is Lost and Alone
We have found that outside of caring for their loved one, they are also holding down a job, trying to keep the house/family together, dealing with financial issues, and they often are completely ignoring their own health. I recently read Sarah Beckman’s new book Hope for the Hard Places (my review here) which gives excellent step by step advice for when trouble comes our way. Many of us would do ourselves a favor to read this book and prepare our own families for the inevitable Hard Place.
My friend Anita Ojeda has experienced caregiving for her husband who had cancer and survived. There are many things she learned along the way and after the fact. She is now trying to encourage caregivers to take care of themselves. You will find her website, Blessed: But Stressed, very helpful. There is also a facebook page, Self-care for Caregivers.
What is Lacking for Cancer Patients
Core friends that stick around. We’re all guilty of this. The first month we do whatever we can for the patient and family. But somehow we tend to fall back into our routine of life and completely forget about our friends. Let’s admit it, I am guilty. You may be guilty as well. We need to be calling or dropping by frequently, doing simple household jobs, cooking a meal, etc. I have a downloadable list of ideas to get started on. The aforementioned author, Sarah Beckman has another book called, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. I haven’t read this one yet. But possibly, we all could learn a few things from her book.
Prayer. Real true “I see it and feel it” prayer. Facebook is a place to start where you can tell them you are thinking of them. But we need to visit them and pray over them. Call them and pray with them over the phone. I had a friend once that rose early every morning before work and walked around a friend’s home praying for them. Every day for months until her death. Now THAT is visible prayer.
Encouragement through cards, flowers. Debra’s room was not only dim but void of cards. Again, I’m guilty as I have not sent her one card. 🙁 There was one small flower arrangement and that is it. (live flowers might not be good, as some patients cannot handle the smells.) I would like to get a card shower going and have everyone I know sent her a card. If you want to get involved send me a note through our “contact us”. I’ll send you an address.
Other Great Things Lacking
Providing other needs. If you visit on a regular basis, take notice of needs like is she cold? Does she need a blanket? Drinks and snacks so they don’t need to buy them? Don’t go empty-handed when you visit. grab a bag or basket and place a few ready to eat items in it. Maybe a book to read or puzzle books. You can get many items like this at a dollar store. Speaking of blankets, I know of two churches that make quilts to send to cancer patients and others. I received one when I first was hit with chronic pain. Not only does it keep me warm, but it also encourages and reminds me that someone cares.
Lastly, and importantly, an illness like cancer is terribly expensive. Even with great insurance, the bills begin to rise beyond what a person can fathom. And just when you think you have a way to figure it out, there is another surgery or issue that arises. In Debra’s case, they are still trying to get hospice care or a way for someone to sit with her and tend to her needs. This comes with a $250/day copay. Think of it, where would you be if this were you?
Here’s my challenge
I imagine we all know of someone who is struggling with a serious illness. Donate to their cause, even if it is just $10. Maybe you can add it to your monthly budget. Just 10 bucks. Give up a cappuccino. You will brighten their day and make a difference in their lives. Imagine if everyone would give just $10. The bills would be taken care of quickly. Find their GoFundMe page and donate today.
Can you volunteer your time while being on disabilities like fibromyalgia and chronic pain?
Hello, My Friends,
I wanted to share with you what it’s like to live with Fibromyalgia, yet still, be able to volunteer. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to volunteer with a disability when I first went on disability from work, because I was bedridden for a long time due to pain and fatigue.
Over a period of several years though, my treatments of medication and gentle exercise, etc. began to work and I found myself feeling well enough that I knew I wanted to give back to the community again. I just needed to find the right way to do it, so that I wasn’t overwhelming myself too much.
I found a great organization in my home province of BC called Patient Voices Network. They give everyday ordinary people the opportunity to have a say in how health care is delivered in the Province by allowing us to be Patient Advocates when Health Care Organizations are looking for the Patient Voice in their engagements.
This can be done in many different ways –
being part of focus groups,
councils and so much more.
After becoming a member of PVN, I immediately jumped in by becoming involved in a committee that was working to improve surgical outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer. I helped to develop a DVD that all patients would receive along with a booklet outlining what to expect as they started treatment, right from the moment of diagnosis all the way to follow up after surgery. Since then, I’ve been invited to several forums, I’ve participated in some surveys and focus groups and I currently sit on 4 different committees, one virtual reality testing group and one Provincial Survey Measurement Working Group.
Doing Too Much with Chronic Pain
Everyone says “oh, you do so much”, but my actual time commitment is really not that much. One committee meets quarterly, one meets bi-monthly, and for some of them, I don’t even have to travel as I can join them online. I do travel to Vancouver from my home in Langford for 2 of the groups, but my expenses are all covered, and it’s fun to meet with my teammates in person.
I get such a great sense of satisfaction being able to give back to the community in this way. I know I’m making a difference to others with the work I’m doing, and because I’m able to pick and choose what I want to commit to, I am able to maintain my own health at the same time. I have plenty of time to rest so my Fibromyalgia stays under control, and if I’m not feeling well for some reason, I can always call into the meetings that I normally attend in person.
I highly recommend looking into Volunteer work for anyone with Fibromyalgia as there are many ways you can assist others while still taking care of you. Find something you are passionate about, and see if you can make it a part of your life. It helps get you out of the house, keeps you active and involved and helps others at the same time.
I hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.
From my heart, Pamela
Thank you, Pam, for sharing with us about volunteering. This is a wonderful way to get out and do something for others.
What About You, Readers?
How are you get out and doing for others? What volunteer organizations do you recommend? Share in the comments below.
With Easter coming up, I thought I might share a few tips on how I made it through Sundays with children. Regardless of how often you make it to church, Sunday worship with kids can be a challenge. Sometimes it can make you wonder why you bother going to church at all. Check out why regular worship is important here.
The day is completely different from any other day of the week and likely the night before was different as well. I remember Sundays when we arrived at church a bit frazzled just from getting ready for church.
Keep Reading even if you have no children, some of these steps all of us can take to improve our worship time.
Start Preparing Early in the Week
Check with the church office to see if anything is going to be different this week.
Will there be Children’s Church or Nursery Attendants available for your child?
Do the children remain in the service for a portion of the service?
What are the service times? Some churches change the time on special days.
Saturday Preparations for Worship with Kids
Plan a simple breakfast that is easy to serve and clean up. For us, muffins and milk or orange juice usually did the trick.
If you have babies or toddlers, clean out and re-stock the diaper bag.
Decide what everyone is wearing. Our daughter, by 4 years of age, was pretty obstinate about what she would wear. But we found that if we planned this with her the night before, there wasn’t a fight on Sunday morning.
Is everything clean and pressed; down to the shoes. Avoid having to find socks and shoes (or shoelaces) and hairbows at the last minute. When everything is laid out and ready to put on, it takes much less time and aggravation to get everyone dressed and in the car.
Lay out everything you need to take with you (Bibles, lesson books, etc) Have them ready to grab as you walk out the door.
Get your bath and hair washed. For as many as possible, do this Saturday evening. Especially with large families and/or few bathrooms.
Keep Saturday evening sacred. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins at sundown, the day before. I see a lot of good in this because it keeps us from staying out late and being too tired for worship in the morning. So we tried to stick to the rule that everyone gets home by dark. It’s not always possible, but this definitely helps the whole mindset of preparing for worship the next morning.
Sunday Morning Schedule
Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This keeps you on time even if something goes awry. Children do much better if they are not being rushed. This also give you a few minutes to visit with friends or just get your mind focused on worship.
Arise early and enjoy a cup of coffee before you start getting the kids going. Typically, worship starts later than the start of school or work days. Why not rise at the same time to make the morning more enjoyable?
Turn on some upbeat worship music. In one home we lived in, we had an intercom. I piped the music through the house. This was everyone’s wake up call or at least notification that I would be coming around to get them out of bed.
Breakfast for the children. If you cook something, such as bacon, this could be another way to get them rolling out of bed. I know it works for teenagers. 🙂
Get dressed. I never figured out which was better.. dress the kids first or myself. I’ve had that fail either way. LOL! Maybe get dressed and put on an apron! 🙂
Assign others to help with the littles. You’ve laid out the clothes so this shouldn’t be difficult.
Give a 10-minute “Time to get in the car” call. Start looking over everyone to be sure they are fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc.
Again, leave 15-20 minutes earlier than needed.
Church Arrival & Worship with Children
Use the restroom. Non-negotiable rule. This keeps them from having to get up during the service to use the restroom. This is a no-no in our family. If you must take them out because they are disruptive, do so and get them calmed down. Then return to the service. If you don’t they will learn that you will take them out if they get disruptive. Children CAN learn to be quiet and respectful in church.
If you are a regular, watch for newcomers and greet them.
Find a seat. I suggest in the front half of the sanctuary. There are fewer distractions. Sit as a family. Another non-negotiable.
Prepare your heart for worship. Pray silently. Read some scriptures. The bulletin may have the pastors’ text. Go ahead and read it over to begin thinking about it. If the bulletin has the scheduled songs, meditate on the words of these songs.
Instruct your children during worship. They should learn to sing/sit/stand/pray along with the congregation. No toys or coloring during this part of the service.
Smaller children can have non-distractive toys or a book/coloring book. Save that container of Cheerios for the last few moments of the service when they are getting restless and the pastor is making his final point or call for decision.
Encourage your school-age children to take notes. You could even set up rewards for doing so. As a children’s minister, I created a small booklet for the children to take notes on days we stayed in the service. Such as this one. I gave them a small prize after church if they showed me their work.
After Worship Activities
Don’t rush out. Greet those around you, especially newcomers. Go straight to the ones you don’t know. They will leave quickly, especially if no one speaks to them. Your friends will be around and you know how to contact them anyway. If you need to speak with them, give them a quick, “Don’t leave before I talk with you.” greeting and then head to the visitors. If you are a visitor. Wait around a bit. Give people a chance to find you. Or just go ahead and speak to someone near you.
Clean up around you. Pick up bulletins, papers and anything you brought with you. Most churches have volunteers that do the cleaning. No one gets paid to do this, so help out and clean up your own mess.
Ah, summer! We have all been patiently waiting for spring to show up, much less summer. But I thought it would be good to bring some summer thoughts into our head. One of the good things about living in my childhood town Friesland was its smallness( population 300, think Leota but a tad bigger). I could bike all over town and pretty much be only be about 5 minutes from my house.
Round, Round Get Around, I get Around
I liked how safe I felt biking around, walking around, or just hanging uptown by the Band Concert Wagon (I will explain this in a post this summer). Friendly folks who watched out for you and then the folks who tattled on you when you did wrong or THOUGHT you were doing wrong. But, that’s how small towns go, and for good or bad it was all part of the experience.
One of my favorite things to do in the summer was to pack a sack lunch, grab a friend and go biking around town to find a spot to picnic. In order for one to really call it a picnic you needed your sack to have a can of pop (pop is translated to soda in Minnesotan), I liked RC Cola at the time, so my lunch would contain one can RC. Then( and this was the SUPER important part) I would have to have a good dessert.
But first, dessert
Photo Credit: EME
Most mothers frown on dessert being the most important part of lunch. But desserts have secret powers, and every kid knows it. It gave you status and the power to negotiate for something even better in someone else’s lunch. It’s just like Donald Trump’s book “Art of the Deal”. Sometimes you have to walk away to get what you really want. You know, play hard to get and then go in for the kill!
My favorite dessert was Hostess Ding Dongs. I can still feel the thin foil that each chocolate puck of goodness gently wrapped around. Slowly peeling the foil off was also part of the fun. I loved to reveal the chocolate cover over the chocolate cake with the delicious white creme middle. YUM! To others, it may have been a foil hockey puck, but to me, it was Hostess heaven! Personally, my parents should have bought stock in Hostess, but that ship has sailed.
Of course, one’s lunch must contain a sandwich. This could be a p.b.j., a bologna sandwich, good ole ham, and cheese, but NEVER, NEVERcold roast beef. Refer to my article on Cold Roast Beef Sandwich.
X marks the spot
We were not terribly fussy about where to picnic. In fact, we would (not too often but occasionally) indiscriminately claim someones front porch as our picnic spot, and without permission just sit on their front porch and talk and eat. Some major hangouts were the Friesland Elementary playground (the giant merry-go-round was fun, spin and eat your lunch), someone’s backyard in a makeshift tent, down at the railroad tracks by the boys’ fort, the Katsma boys big tree house, or on the Band Concert Wagon. Photo Credit: Clkr-Vector-Free-Images
I am sure we surprised a person or two with a group of young girls sitting on their front porch. Can’t remember anyone ever saying “no”, but we sort of saw ourselves as having an eminent domain- there wasn’t much you could do to stop us. Like a roaming band of raccoons, looking to eat and then leave. We were good though and that probably saved us from being ousted.
Feltcha with a black heart
One property you never, ever stepped foot on was Feltcha’s. Feltcha was an old Dutch lady who lived along and she was mean. Feltcha had to have had some extrasensory detection for busy body kids roaming the town. She carried a broom every time she stepped out of her house and she meant business. “Feltcha with a black heart”. That’s literally how she was known in town, and the adults knew her as that also. Feltcha and her encounters with us will require an article or two, so stay tuned. She was what little children saw in their nightmares.
The best part after finding a spot to picnic was settling in to eat and checking out what everyone brought in their lunch. After a thorough inspection of each attendee, lunch negotiations began and participants did their best negotiating. Once you were finished with your “deal”, then chatter would start about what happened at our houses and Friesland “goings-on”. Things like: how much money you had to go to Band Concert, who had the fastest bike, who’s mom was mad at them, who was going to the swimming pool in Randolph and so on, were all hot topics of discussion. It’s too bad we don’t have more kids biking around making random stops on peoples front porches to picnic. The late ’70s- it was just a different time, different attitudes and a different culture.
Photo Credit: Open Clipart Vectors
As with most things in life, all good things come to an end. If your mom said you could go picnic then you could about bet there were chores to be done and that required you to come home. I guess that was the trade-off- you got to picnic but now you can work. I also think it was a check-in of sorts to make sure you were alive, especially if you went down to the tracks. The train generally came through between 11:30 am and 12 noon, so if you had said you’d be at the tracks your mom was on alert.
Hope my mom isn’t reading this but… I remember my brother and the Katsma boys hitching a ride to the bridge on the Caboose of the train. That’s another story for a different time. Whatever the case, it was fun. Fun to be free and safe to bike, hang out and eat and just be a kid. No TV, cell phones or video games- just plain old kid fun… and I really miss it.
Maybe we all need to make better use of our local park and picnic. Spend more time looking into faces instead of screens. Talking to each other instead of texting. Who cares if you don’t have a “picnic” looking lunch? Just grab a bunch of stuff and go. Sometimes spur of the moment is just what the doctor ordered.
P.S. Always be Ready For a Picnic
The best way to start going on spur of the moment picnics is to have a picnic basket stocked and ready to go. Check out these through our affiliate links. We’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Our profits help keep this site going. Thanks
There are many different methods to study the Bible. There are also several acronym methods that are similar to each other but all have the same end result: an effective Bible study. Let me help you walk through one method of study so you can dig in deep in the Word for yourself.
If you’re not sure about Bible study, whether it is something you should be doing, you can read 8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study. This should help you understand the importance of Bible study for your spiritual growth.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to study the Bible for yourself, then you’ve come to the right place!
Various Bible Study Methods
Let’s take a quick peek at some of the Bible study methods that are out there. You may recognize some of these, if not in title, then in the description:
The Survey Method is like a panoramic broad view of the Book that you’re studying. You learn about the author or main character, the geography, the era, the theme and important topics.
The Topical Method is like many of the Bible study books you see in Christian bookstores. It focuses on a specific topic and explores the whole Bible on that topic.
The Biographical Method is a biography of a Biblical character, like David, for instance, and studies all about him, what kind of man he was and what he did that made him so well-known.
The Word Study Method is a study of words or terms that may be unfamiliar to readers, like, redemption, propitiation, sin, the blood of the Lamb, etc. Tools used for this type of study would be a concordance and a Bible dictionary to help you dig deep.
The Devotional Method is more of a devotional time than a technical study. You read a portion of text, the devotion based on that text as well as an end with a simple prayer. This is probably a method that you have heard of or maybe even used before.
The Expositional Method is studying the Bible verse-by-verse. This is more familiarly known as the Inductive Bible Study Method. It uses the three elements of Observation, Interpretation, and Application.
Source: originally published on Women’s Tabletop Friendship as 6 Bible Study Methods to Enhance Your Bible Understanding.
Of these six methods, I most often use the Topical, Word, and Expositional Methods. I would love to work on a Survey study sometime, maybe of the Minor Prophets since they would be suited to a panoramic survey.
How Deep Do You Want to Study?
That’s a great question, how deep do you want to study? How effective do you want your Bible study to be?
A couple of questions to consider are, do you want to let someone teach you the Word or do you want to learn for yourself?
If you want to hear someone else lead a study, like in a women’s study group, for example, you would read the assigned work and then listen to the study leader. You would respond to the questions and possibly turn the pages of your Bible to find the answers. You may even write down notes as you go along.
Will you learn from this method? Sure you will but if you’re like me, you may quickly forget what you learned from it.
Now, if you want to go deeper in your Bible study, and if you want your study to be effective, you will need to do the research.
Effective Bible study means you dig into the truth for yourself.
When you use the Bible tools to find the answers, you will remember what you’ve learned so much more than listening to someone else teach it.
You see, when others present Bible studies to you, they’ve done the research and dug into the Word to find what they want to teach. They reap the rewards of an in-depth study but you, the listener, not so much.
That’s the kind of study you want to do, dig deep for yourself, right?
So, how do you do this?
Tools for Effective Bible Study
To study deep, you’ll need some tools. Let’s look at what they are first, then we’ll go over the “how to study” part.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. This is a great reference book to have on your bookshelf. You can use other concordances as well but as far as I know, this one is the most complete one on the market.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. This reference is invaluable. It gives a great explanation of the original meanings, whether it’s Hebrew or Greek.
The New Bible Commentary, Revised. This is a one-volume book and is very handy to have. However, you may have other commentaries that are just as helpful.
These are my top ‘go-to’ reference books on my bookshelf. Some others that I use are:
Nave’s Topical Bible
Zondervan Handbook to the Bible
The New Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words
Commentary on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Frusset, Brown
Do you know where I bought many of my hard copy reference books? Thrift shops, Bible store second-hand section, second-hand stores, etc. People are no longer keeping their hard copies of these amazing reference books. Possibly they received them in inheritances and just don’t feel they need them. But, I do, so I’m blessed with them!
If it isn’t feasible to have hard copy books, then have you considered the Blue Letter Bible or Bible Gateway? They have excellent resources, commentaries, tools, everything you would need to do a comprehensive study. I sometimes use them but I do prefer my hard copy books. There’s just something about turning the pages of a physical book, you know?
Some other tools you will need before you get started with your next great study are:
A good pen
Quality colour pencils and a pencil sharpener
A Bible you can mark in that has a wide margin for notes
A variety of colour Micron pens with archival ink that won’t bleed through thin pages
A large 5×7 inch index card for developing a keyword list
If you don’t want to mark up your favourite Bible, you can always check the thrift stores or second-hand stores for a Bible. Or, you can print out the book you want to study from an online source like Bible Gateway. I usually paste the content into Word, then enlarge the font size to something I can read.
So, let’s talk about the “how to” part of an effective Bible study now.
Getting Started with an In-depth Study
Remember I mentioned the method that I use the most, the Expositional Method, otherwise known as the Inductive Method? Let’s look at how that works. Once you have this figured out, you’ll be able to apply these principles to either the Topical Study or Word Study Methods.
First, the thing you should always do before starting any kind of Bible activity is, begin with prayer. I know you knew that!
Step 2 – decide on a book study
Decide which Bible book you are going to study. If this is your first time using this method, you may want to start with a short book like Jude or Philemon. They each contain 25 verses so it would be a great introduction to the Inductive Study Method.
Step 3 – identify keywords
You’ll need your additional tools, listed above.
Read through the text a few times and note if there are any keywords that stand out to you. Write them on the index card.
Label this index card with the Book Name Keywords, ie, Philemon Keywords. You can use this card as a bookmark later on.
As you are reading the text, you may see words that you are not familiar with, especially if you’re using the King James Version. Though it doesn’t matter what version you use, there are words that need further discovery.
For example, you may see “sound doctrine” or “healing” or “salvation” and wonder about the original meaning. This is the time to crack open those research books to see what the writer originally meant.
So often in the various translations, the original meaning is lost. When we read it, we apply today’s English to the meaning which throws us off in our theology.
So, it doesn’t matter what the word is, if you take the few minutes to look up the original meaning, you will gain a whole lot.
Step 4 – identify the author and recipients
The best thing to do is always start with the WHO. Who wrote the book and WHO is/are the recipient(s).
Refer to the Kari King Dent reference for marking keywords to decide on how you will mark the Author and the Recipients. Once you decide that, you can identify it on your index card, similar to what you see on Kari’s keyword list.
Now, as you read the text, mark the Author and the Recipient. Make sure these markings are distinctive from each other.
In addition to marking the Author and Recipients, you need to also mark the pronouns and any synonyms.
Once you have these two people clearly marked, it will be easy to see who is who as you observe the rest of the text.
Step 5 – observe what is in the text
Read through the text again and ask yourself the 5W and H questions. They are, who, what, where, when, why and how.
So, as you read the text, ask yourself some questions like
who is writing this book?
who is he writing to?
why is he writing to this person or group of people?
what is happening or going to happen?
when is it happening?
where is this taking place or will take place?
how will this event take place?
As you are finding the answers, make note of anything noteworthy in your notebook. Include the address, which is the chapter and verse. This helps when you are looking at your notebook, later on, to know where that answer came from.
Step 6 – mark the keywords
Now the fun begins. You already identified the keywords in Step 3, so now you will read through the text again to mark them. But, let’s do this in order.
Before you start marking, you need to decide on a symbol. Use the Kari King Dent reference file to help you come up with creative ways to mark keywords. You can use her symbols or you can make up your own.
Why do we do this? Well, the main reason is to have continuity between all the books of the Bible that you will study. When you decide on a symbol for “God,” you will always mark it the same from book to book. So, when you are flipping through the pages of your Bible and you see symbols, the “God” symbol will always be the same and therefore, recognizable.
Now, focus on the first keyword that you identified. Read through the text again to look for that keyword. When you find it, mark it with the symbol you decided on. Make sure it is on your index card first so you don’t forget what it is.
Read the text again for each keyword, marking it as you go along.
For each keyword you identified, you will read the text and mark it. This means that if you identified 10 keywords, then you will read the text at least 10 times to mark each of those words.
Interpret to Discover the Meaning
Once you have finished marking all the keywords, you are ready to interpret the meaning of the text. Make sure though that you are using Scripture to help you interpret and not what you think it means.
Thinking outside of Scripture can get you in trouble with your theology. That’s how false teaching starts. So, as you are interpreting the text, ensure that you are keeping everything in context.
What’s context? It is interpreting the text in light of the surrounding verses, and the entire Word of God.
You can ask yourself some questions to help you with your interpretation.
is my interpretation consistent with the theme or purpose of the book?
is it consistent with other Scripture that contains the same subject or theme?
am I considering historic and cultural context?
Keep in mind that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. So, if you have a different interpretation than other parts of the the Bible, you will need to rethink your interpretation.
Well, that’s one way to have an effective Bible study that has you digging in deep. This is something that you can do on your own but you don’t have to.
If you would like to join other women who are starting out with this method, feel free to join us over on Facebook in my private group called Deeper in God Bible Studies. We have both Writing Challenges and Bible Studies.
The Writing Challenges are either 5 or 10-Day Challenges where we write out whole Books of the Bible. For instance, we’ve written out Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. We’ll be writing out Philippians from April 1st to 5th.
When the Challenge is finished, we flow right into the Bible Study using my own Study Guides that are available to group members only. There is no charge for either the Writing Challenges or Bible Studies.
That’s a Wrap
Well, that’s a wrap for today. I hope this gets you started on your own in-depth Bible study.
You now know about the various study methods and you know how to study using the Inductive study approach.
Don’t forget that you can join my study group. We’d love to have you! The link is up above.
If you have any questions about how to have an effective Bible study, please leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Who First Read the Bible to You?
Who first made the stories in the Bible come alive? This summer, we are hoping to offer a Link-up Series, Summer of Legacy. We are looking for anyone who would link up a post about someone who helped build your legacy. This could be parents, grandparents, teachers, even a public figure, current or historical or biblical.
Here’s how it will work. You write a post on your own blog. Then on the set week, you come to our website and add a link to your blog. We hope to do one a month, May through August. Each month will have a particular theme. Presently, we are considering the following topics.
Legacy Builders: Women
Legacy Builders: Men
Building A Legacy in a Blended Family
Building a Legacy Through Adoption
Sign up now to be notified when the LinkUps become available. This registration will NOT subscribe you to our weekly newsletter, just Link ups
We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews.
I struggle nearly every night just trying to get to sleep. I can sit in a chair all evening yawning and nodding off. But get into the bed, and the eyes pop wide open. This leads to my mind begins to wander and I start to think about all kinds of things that keep me awake. The next day, I can barely function.
As a matter of fact, fatigue is the second most common symptom for fibromyalgia sufferers. Many times those diagnosed with fibromyalgia will also be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Therefore, it is vitally important to get that restorative rest as much as you can.
As a sufferer myself, I respond along with you, “Yeah, right!”
A book everyone should read … probably more than once to be reminded of the importance of rest.
Buchanan took a sabbatical to research the subject of the rest of God. And found so much that pricked his own heart about taking too little rest. He noticed that “the harder he worked, the less he accomplished.” and he realized that “the Sabbath was a form of mending”. There is some renewal that only comes from resting in the Lord and being still.
“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Our world is seemingly
becoming less concerned with God and more concerned with self. Society
preaches being happy at all costs; putting our happiness above all else. When a
weekly commitment that Christians are encouraged in the Bible to keep becomes a
challenge to us because we do not feel like it, then it may be the time to
remind ourselves that church is not really about us…it’s about God. Allow me to
Of course, we receive amazing benefits from going to meeting Together (attending church),
Yet, in that church family, we will likely encounter people who irritate us from time to time. There comes a time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality. (Remember, there are others who put up with us on those occasions when we might be the ones irritating them!)
My Sunday School teacher, whom I happen to be married to, has said, “If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it.” In other words, instead of lamenting the lack of energy, excitement, or enthusiasm, perhaps we are being called to prayerfully initiate it. Instead of considering leaving a church because it doesn’t fulfill our needs, perhaps God is prodding us to stay and be a prayerful part of the solution. Instead of wishing people would change, perhaps God is teaching us to prayerfully change our attitude toward them.
If our church is a
Gospel-preaching, community-reaching, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-receiving
church, but there are some other aspects that we see as negative, just think
what our positive, prayerful approach could possibly accomplish!
Lord, help me become excited about the wonderful opportunity of regularly attending church and being part of a church family. Help me to see and be thankful for the blessings I receive when I go to church, but to be even more concerned about the blessing I can be to others in my church family, as I put the focus on You and Your love. In Your name, I pray, Amen.