Three Questions I Ask Before Choosing A Bible Study (Grit + Grace)

I have been struggling a bit in my devotion time this year.

Last year I used a reading plan to read through the Bible in one year - and it was great!  I really enjoyed getting the big picture of the whole Bible, especially because I read in order of historical chronology.

But I didn't really want to do that again this year.  Mainly because I can't ever seem to manage to get up more than five minutes before my kids, which leads to me rushing through my Bible reading, especially when I have multiple chapters to read.  This year I wanted to slow down and really study each chapter that I was reading, just for a change of pace.

The problem with not having a plan is that...well, you don't have a plan.

I didn't really want to start over at the beginning of the Bible again, because I feel like I really need some practical help this season of my life - with things like patience, and gentleness, and self-control, because that is the way I want to interact with my husband and children.  And those are the things I struggle with most right now in this beautiful and busy season of life with your kids.

But since the beginning of this year I have been just kind of poking around, reading here and there in my Bible, and it hasn't felt as productive or edifying as I know my devotion time should be.

With the busy and fun season of summer starting (how is it already June?), my goal for this month is just to start a more structured Bible study to give me some direction in my quiet times.

I have three that I am eyeing right now.

Ecclesiastes: Wisdom For Living Well - I just came across this study from Women Living Well.  While I haven't read much from this organization, I have had the book by the same name recommended to me, and I think this study sounds good for this time in my life when it is sometimes difficult to see the meaning in the day to day.

Becoming A Woman Of Excellence - This is a classic study, and from what I've heard I think it would be a good, practical one for developing that patience, etc., that I need so much right now.

Breathe - I did this study last summer with my church, but I am thinking about reading through it again.  I have been running, running, running so much lately, I think the reminder to create some space to grow my relationship with the Lord would be a good thing to revisit.

As I have been looking at what I want out of a Bible study, there are three things I am considering.  

1.  Who wrote it?  Do they have a reputation for being biblically sound?  Has anyone I know done this study?  I am very unlikely to pick up a study from someone that I have never heard of unless it is recommended by someone I know and trust.  There are many theologically weak or even wrong teachers out there, and I want to make sure I am spending my time on something solid.

2.  Is it on a topic or book that speaks to my situation right now?  Some studies are wonderful, but if you go through them at the wrong time you won't get much out of them.    Of course I don't always know how a study will speak to me - sometimes I might get more out of something than I originally thought.  But I think praying about what study the Lord will have you do is a good thing, and hopefully will bring some wisdom in picking something that will be helpful in this current season of life.

3.  Is it Bible-based?  This doesn't mean that it has to go through a single book of the Bible.  I am fine with topical studies, but if I am going to use a guide in my personal time with the Lord, I want it to be packed with God's word.  My personal study time is about growing my relationship with the Lord, after all, and that won't happen unless I am reading HIS words!

Have you done any of the studies I am thinking about?  What studies have you used in your personal devotion time?  I'd love to hear YOUR recommendations!


Update: My goal for the month of May was to play or do something for fun with my kids each day and tweet about it.  In retrospect, this was a really difficult month for this goal with the house renovation gearing up.  We installed our floors and got halfway through re-covering the ceilings this month.  We were BUSY.  Then one of our moments of play (bouncing like Tigger around the living room) led to a certain little boy breaking his arm (you already know this if you follow me on Instagram).  So yes, it backfired a bit.  

Considering how insane our life is right now, I don't think I did too bad.  I didn't have big moments of creative play every day, but I definitely played with the kids more than I usually do.  The tweeting though?  Not so much (I think I remembered to tweet three times through the whole month of May).  I think this is a goal that I am going to be extending through the summer, just to be more mindful of incorporating playing with the kids, so I'll keep the #ourdailyplay hashtag going for now!


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Natalie @ She Builds Her Home said...

These are all very wise questions, Callie!! I appreciate your perspective. I've struggled a lot with devotions in the past because I feel like, as you mentioned, a lot of them are just not Biblically sound! It is hard when a study "looks good", but then you get into it and you're like "now that's not right..." haha! I am doing a chronological one year plan this year and I really like it, but I can definitely relate to wanting to do something slower and really STUDY it next year!

Hannah M said...

I have been looking for a new devotional/Bible study as well. There are so many out there to choose from! I've never heard of "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" but it sounds like it would be a very appropriate study for me right now, I might just get it. One I was looking into was "Open Your Bible: God's Word is For You and For Now" By Amanda Bible Williams and Raechel Myers. Though I haven't read it, so I'm not sure how it actually is.

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