Morning Study by Garrett Crawford

Let’s face it. As fascinating and exciting as the Bible can be sometimes, we don’t always get all that much out of it. I’ll admit that some days I feel like all I’m doing is reading words on a page. But I found that with a few suggestions, I have made those times fewer. So now I am passing that on to you.

First, I know this is going to seem really, really obvious, but make sure you begin your Bible study time in prayer. I know, DUH! But I didn’t used to and sometimes I get so focused on what I’m supposed to be doing that I still forget to. Prayer is more than just saying “Hey God, please fill my head with knowledge so that I can scrape through this day”, it also stills your mind and helps you focus on what your time with God. Maybe a few calming breaths at the end too,  just for good measure. Let all that stress and everything that has to get done fall away until it’s just you and God.

Secondly, always have a notebook and pencil nearby. This is absolutely necessary for me, because how I study the Bible requires underlining, making notes and then putting all of that together into a daily entry (more on that in a minute). But even if you don’t have a specific method, the notebook serves two purposes. One: It gives you a place to write down anything that is revealed to you as you read. My old Bible journals have all kinds of little references to verses and what God was telling me through them. I also used it to jot down questions. Two: it provides a place to write your prayers down. Not only does this help me to truly get my burdens off of my chest, it also it kind of fun. I can look back and see a difference between how and what I prayed about then and now. The pencil, besides being a writing tool, well, it just makes me feel smarter.

Have your planner or something to write down anything that tries to distract you. The devil will do anything he can to keep us from connecting with God–even use legitimate reasons. Need to do the laundry? Write it down. Did you forget to turn in a paper on Blackboard? Write it down. Trust me, the dirty clothes will still be there and the paper will not disappear from your computer if you don’t turn it in (Although, if it’s due in a few minutes, I’m sure God will understand).

Speaking of distractions: If you can, attempt to remove yourself from them. It’s not always easy to remove the distractions from the room, but it is possible to move yourself. Make sure the dog is taken out (yes, Mom, I put that one in there just for you), that the children are fed or sleeping, and maybe let the others in your house know to please not disturb you unless someone is dying/bleeding. This isn’t always possible…I’ve carried out many early morning Bible studies during my break at work, but the less I have to block out, the easier it is to focus.

You don’t have to have fancy books and dictionaries with the original Greek and Hebrew. I love using these resources when I can get my hands on them, but quality Bible study time is dependent more on how much effort you put into it than how many books you have to reference. That’s not saying that you shouldn’t learn what you can, try to figure out a method of your own. It might take a while or you might have to come up with a hybrid version of several.

My daily devotions have developed over the last three years, from simply reading through my Bible plan to focusing on one idea from my daily text and writing about it. Some of you may already be familiar with Wayne Cordeiro’s S.O.A.P. method (or at least, he’s more or less the one I got is from), but for those who aren’t I will briefly go over it. I’ve found that it’s has helped me get more and apply more of what I read. The acronym S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer and it’s a method to help focus a great deal of text into one daily application to take away from your time with the Lord. This is only a brief description. I highly suggest reading Wayne Cordeiro’s book, The Divine Mentor, for more—this is only one part of the book, he has a lot of wisdom to pass on.

Scripture: Highlight or mark any scriptures that jump out at you, anything that feels like God is speaking to you.

Observation: Of those scriptures that stood out, pick one. What exactly is it telling you? What can you take away  from it?

Application: How does what you’ve focused on today apply to you specifically? Write down what you it is you think you need to do or learn. And here’s the hard part, you actually need to do/apply it.

Prayer: Pretty self-explanatory I think. I try to thank God for his instruction that day and for other blessings in my life. As someone once told me, “Thankful people are rarely bitter people.”

There is no hard, fast rule about Bible study. It is specific to each person. I’ve discovered what works for me…now it’s time for you to find out what works for you.

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