Morning Bible Study Routine
Several years ago, I was in a lingering dry season of faith. I didn’t have a solid Bible study routine. In fact, my Bible had been collecting dust on a shelf and my prayers were vague and faithless. God felt so far away. Feeling frustrated and alone, I cried out to Him. I desperately wanted to hear His voice or feel His presence.
As I wiped away the tears, I felt a nudge to grab my Bible. But instead of opening up to a random page and skimming the first place my eyes fell, I was being led to study with intention, not just read when it was convenient. I decided to get out of my spiritual comfort zone and study a book in the Old Testament, something I had rarely done. Part of my subconscious brain didn’t think God would speak into my modern life through the Old Testament. What if I still don’t feel closer to God?
Over the next few months, I found myself in a Bible study routine that not only helped me understand Scripture but strengthened my relationship with Jesus. My worldly desires faded away and His guidance became clear. I wake up early, while it feels like the whole world is still asleep. Waiting for the coffee to brew, I catch up on a Youtube video or two. I want to be fully awake to understand what I’m studying. After the coffee’s done, I pour a cup and get cozy on the couch.
Before starting my Bible study routine, the first (and most crucial) thing I do is pray. I invite the Holy Spirit to teach me, to open my eyes and convict my heart. He is our counselor, intercedes when we don’t know how to pray, helps us remember what we’ve learned, and will guide us when we tell others about Jesus. Something I’ve realized is that people learn and soak up knowledge differently.
Needing a little guidance, I turned to two online churches. Pastor Steve Hadley at Harvest Family Fellowship teaches the Bible book by book, verse by verse. His messages taught me how to deeply study the Bible and I fell in love with it. Scripture became easier to understand and when it didn’t, I knew where to turn for answers instead of skipping over sections. We’ll go into that in a minute. I also frequently use The Porch as a resource.
Most days (not all, because I’m human and fall short), I spend an hour or so listening to a sermon from Harvest Family Fellowship or The Porch. I’m in the process of studying through the books of the Old Testament. Right now I’m studying Judges, a book I had never read before. I can’t begin to tell you how often God has spoken directly to my heart through this book, whether it be modern challenges I’m facing, sin I’m struggling with, fear or questions I have.
When I don’t listen and study alongside a sermon, I study on my own. Using the same method, I choose a book of the Bible and study verse by verse until I finish (not all in one day). The biggest fear I had in studying the Bible was getting it wrong. What if I misinterpret or twist God’s Word into what I want to hear?
To help, I use two tools. The first is a Bible dictionary. A Bible dictionary comes in handy if you come across a word you don’t understand. I also use it to define names or locations. There are so many hidden gems in Scripture, especially in what different names mean. Every detail in the Bible was included for a reason. If you haven’t before, I encourage you to look up the name meanings of Adam’s descendants. It’s pretty cool and just one example of how amazing our Bible is.
The second tool I use is a Bible Commentary, which is someone’s explanation or interpretation of Scripture, so it shouldn’t be used to replace the Bible. When I come across a passage of Scripture I don’t understand or want to learn more about, I open up to the commentary. It’s a helpful resource for gaining insight or historical context of the verses. The one I use is from John Courson, but you can also find free ones online.
For years, I would take notes in a separate notebook. The problem was, I never went back and re-read what I wrote. Now I take notes in the margins. When I’m flipping through the pages, my eye will sometimes catch a note I’d previously written and it’s exactly what I needed to read in that moment. I love having a journaling Bible so there is more room to write. There are times when a certain study will directly tie into what I’m going through or God will answer a specific question. When this happens, I date it. It’s really interesting to look back and see how God has used this Bible study routine to speak to my soul.
Color-coding and highlighting have become two of my favorite ways to dissect Scripture. I bought Soul Scripts Brighten Your Bible Study Guide and it encouraged me to do just that, brighten my Bible study routine. I’m a visual learner, so seeing verses through different categories like history or wisdom, and using colors to define them, has been a game-changer.
I end my study with prayer and worship music. I notice a huge difference when I sleep past my alarm and don’t spend time with God in the morning. My attitude is less patient, I get frustrated at the little things, and my focus becomes about worldly desires.
If I can tell you one thing I’ve learned from committing to a Bible study routine, feelings are not facts. When I feel like God is far away, it doesn’t mean it’s true. This is why it’s so important to fact-check our emotions against Scripture. Why do I feel this way? Is it because I’m struggling with a sin and trying to hide from God? Am I distracted by the world? Have I spent regular time with God so I can get to know Him and learn His voice?
God tells us He is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9), He will not leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) and He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us (John 14:16-17). When you’re not in the mood to study or feel like you have a million other things to get done, that’s’s the best time to do it. It’ll get your heart and mind back in the right place.
Your Bible study routine doesn’t have to be perfect or eloquent. Just keep showing up. God will meet you where you are.
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