Falling in love with the Word of God has been a process for me…
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, for most of my young adulthood life I had an uneasy relationship with the “Book” that was supposed to be the center of my Christian walk.
I knew I was supposed to love the Bible, but to be honest, I rarely spent time in its pages outside of church on Sunday.
I was nearly 30 before I found tools that helped make the Bible my own.
“How to Have a Mary Heart” E-COURSE
This new course is built around the tools that helped me!
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In a recent Facebook Live, I shared seven ways you can interact with the Word of God on a more personal, intimate level.
Here’s an inside peek at how I’ve made the Bible my own…
Seven Ways to Make the Bible Your Own
1. Get a high-quality Bible
Though it’s an investment, I’ve always tried to buy the best Bible I can afford. After all, I plan to live with it for years and years. Not only that, I’d like to pass it on when I go. A high quality leather-bound Bible is more likely to stand the test of time than a simple paperback or hardcover Bible.
I especially love study Bibles that have verse commentaries at the bottom of the page as well as study helps such as cross-references and an extensive concordance. Here are some different Bibles that fall in that category:
- NIV Study Bible (unfortunately, Zondervan has discontinued the 1984 version which I love – undecided about new version.)
- NLT Life Application Bible
- ESV Study Bible
2. Mark verses that stand out to you
While I don’t mark everything I read, I do mark the verses that really speak to my heart. Below, I’ve included a video describing some of the markings I use, but the internet is filled with other marking methods you might want to explore.
- “Reading and Marking Your Bible” Word Time Video from Having a Mary Heart DVD Study
- GMG Bible Highlighting Chart – uses different colors to designate different categories of scripture
3. Highlight significant verses with notes in the margin
When a portion of scripture has special significance or resonates deeply, I’ll write a phrase or keyword in the margin to identify why it stood out to me. At times a teaching outline will come out in my study; other times a verse used in a sermon begs to be captured. While I use it sparingly, it’s a great way to record my walk with God. Especially those big, spiritual “a-ha” moments I don’t want to forget.
4. Develop a method of marking key revelations
When a scripture really, really stands out to me, I try to mark it in a way that I can easily see. Check out my “Star System” in the video to see what I do. But here’s a chart of Precept Ministries “Inductive Study Markings” that might inspire you to come up with some markings of your own. When appropriate, date those “key” verses to give context and record of God’s work in your life.
5. Personalize the concordance
Some Bibles don’t have an extensive concordance. Even study Bibles leave out verses I refer to often (or list the reference under a keyword that doesn’t come automatically to mind). When that happens, I add the word that makes sense to me in the alphabetical index, noting the “word-reference-first phrase” so I’m able to find the verse quickly.
6. Use blank pages in back of Bible for important notes
I like to use the blank pages at the end of my Bible to capture key verses, quotes or life-long prayer requests. There aren’t a lot of pages, so I try to use them wisely. For instance, here’s a quote I felt God impress me to write in the back of my Bible years ago. Perhaps it will minister to you today.
You are God’s opportunity in your day. He has waited for ages for a person just like you. If you refuse Him, then God loses His opportunity which He sought through you, and He will never have another for there will never be another person on the earth just like you.
Springs in the Valley – July 25th
The back of the Bible is a great place to keep a simple outline of the plan of salvation with key verses. Speaking of which, check out this simple graphic Randy Raysbrook created to go along with his excellent article, “One-Verse Evangelism: How to Share Christ’s Love Conversationally & Visually.”
7. Use the “presentation pages” in the front
All Bibles have a presentation page that records when you received the Bible and who gave it to you, but some higher quality Bibles also include other pages to record when you were married, the birth dates of your children, records of deaths, etc. Imagine how special it would be for your children’s children to hold your Bible in their hands and see the special events that shaped your life.
Falling In Love With God’s Word
Well, I hope these ideas help you engage with your Bible in a more personal and meaningful way. As I’ve interacted with the pages of my Bible, its truly become alive and precious to me.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes…
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
PSALM 19:7-11 ESV
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I’d love to hear from you…What do you love most about your Bible?