Ways to Help Understand the Bible

When I made the decision to read the Bible every morning and night, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know that I didn’t have to start in Genesis, that I should highlight what I think is important, or even that I should take notes and write down questions I have. This is probably because I thought it would be an easy read. After a year or so of slacking, I have come across a few tips and tricks to help me apply the Bible to my life and to keep it from slipping out of my memory.

 

1.  S.O.A.P.

My church from back home, River Valley, hands out a monthly S.O.A.P. bookmark to everyone. S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. There are certain sections of a book that take about a week or two to read and then move on to other books, resulting in parts of three to four books of the Bible covered in a month. Every day is only two verses, making it an easy 5-10 minute read. The goal of S.O.A.P. is to get the reader to have read most of the Bible by the end of the year. I try to follow up the reading with my usual prayer of asking God to help me remember it for the day and to help me find areas of my life in which I can apply what I just read. A step further would be going through everything you highlighted at the end of the month.

 

2.  Take notes at church

Writing down what you hear is proven to increase your chance of remembering it. Not only will you now retain this information, but you’ll also have notes to refer to when you get confused during your own readings. I’ve just started referring to previous notes when I get to a book of the Bible that could use some clarification and context. I make sure to reread the verses that the pastor mentioned during that sermon to try to connect everything.

 

3.  When in doubt, Google/YouTube it

After being a part of a Life Group (equivalent to a small group) this summer, I’ve accumulated some nifty resources, one of them being “The Bible Project” on YouTube. “The Bible Project” breaks things down by each book of the Bible. Context is always mentioned and the visuals are great. The speaker tells each book like a story and includes random, yet essential, facts on how things make sense. The video for the book of Ecclesiastes was extremely helpful. I learned the proper Hebrew verbiage and intention for this section of the Bible. I highly recommend that channel or any other helpful videos!

4.  She Reads Truth

SheReadsTruth.com is a website that’s basically like a small group, but it’s online instead of in-person. The authors on SRT will have a new Bible passage posted every day for women to read and comment on. They can reply to each other or simply make a statement directed towards the reading. A great way to really commit would be to purchase the journals for the current/upcoming Bible studies. This would be helpful for people who like to write out their thoughts instead of commenting on others’ thoughts. I haven’t done either of these things, but I have read the verses and emails that SRT sends. They can look something like this:

These are some action steps I take when I feel like the verses I read aren’t becoming personal, or I’m having a hard time understanding the author’s purpose. These little, yet impactful, things help me keep in mind that reading the Bible isn’t just another box to check. Every sentence has a purpose and they direct me towards improvement.