I haven’t been blogging recently, because as you can probably tell from my last post, I really don’t feel like I have anything productive or interesting to say! It’s a hard time at the moment.
But one thing that has been going well, that I have been enjoying and getting a lot out of, is reading my Bible. I wrote about this a little while ago, and have since tweaked the way I do Bible study having read Sweet Journey by Terri Maxwell.
I use a Bible, notebook and pen (allowing me to indulge my stationary fetish!). I’m reading the King James Version at the moment, which I haven’t before. The language is gorgeous and extraordinary, but sometimes hard to understand, so to clarify I sometimes look up those verses in different translations. BibleGateway.com or the Online Parallel Bible (bible.cc) are good for that.
I’m reading Job at the moment – chosen deliberately, for no matter what I’m going through I haven’t lost all my children, livelihood, possessions, and been inflicted with painful sores from head to toe! I write the date and chapter at the top of the page – the date helps keep me accountable so I know if I’ve missed too many days. I’m reading one chapter at a time which works well with longer Old Testament books, but with shorter New Testament letters, maybe even just a few verses a day would be good.
I write a short summary of the chapter at the top of the page. It is important for Job because the chapters are either Job or his friends speaking. At the end of the book, God proclaims “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends, for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.” (Job 42:7, KJV.) Writing it down helps keep straight in my head whether what is being said about Job’s situation is right, or just SOUNDS right.
I then copy down a verse that jumps out at me from the chapter, either one that summarises the content nicely, or that applies to me personally. I end with a couple of sentences about what I have learnt from the passage, and a prayer that I may be able to apply anything gained to my own life.
From somewhere in the depths of my memory, probably remembered horribly incorrectly, there’s this little rhyme which comes to mind when thinking about a verse or passage:
What have I learned about Jesus and God?
What have I learned to cause shame?
What have I learned about following good?
Is there a promise to claim?
This all sounds like a lot, but really only takes around 15 minutes and one small (less than A5) notebook page. I haven’t read Job like this before, and it has been so interesting looking at what a worldly view of a situation can be, explanations which sound like truth and wisdom, as opposed to what God has to say about it. And of course there is the example of Job’s legendary faith and righteousness which shines through under enormous trial. It is so good that at the moment, despite everything else, reading the Bible is a real privilege and a pleasure and the more I do it, the more it feels like that.