What book has led you closer to God?
Favorite or recommended devotional?
How to study the Bible? The SOAP method? Or what would you recommend?
What would you say is the best way to study the Bible? (Or, I mean, what do you do?)
What devotionals would you recommend for someone who wants to begin reserving some quiet time for the LORD every day?
These are all questions that I have received on my ask.fm.
First of all, everyone has different methods for studying the Bible. Like I've said many times before – your personal relationship with God is your relationship with God to make your own. It's between Him and you.
Some people study in depth every day, with a study Bible, a concordance, taking tons of notes, highlighting verses as they go. While others read a couple verses before they get out of bed and meditate on those throughout the day.
There's nothing wrong with either of these.
God never told us how much time we have to make for Him, or when, or how often. It's not about who does it how and when. It's about loving Him and meditating on His Word, hiding it in our hearts, and obeying what He has said.
I'm a perfectionist. Always have been. So when I started really growing in my relationship with God, and realizing my identity in Him, and my love for Him, I strived to have a good solid Bible study time every day. This is a good goal to have. But whenever I couldn't, or didn't have as much time as I wanted to, I would get really upset with myself and just give up on my time with Him.
That wasn't the right course of action at all.
I needed to give myself grace and remember that I can't always do things the way I want to. Sometimes I won't be able to have a two-hour devotional time, but I can have two minutes. And in those two minutes, I should ask God to show me everything He wants me to take away from whatever passage I am reading.
Like I said, I used to have a good solid Bible study time set apart every day. I would get out my devotional journal, my prayer journal, my Bible, my highlighter pens, my worship music, my day-to-day devotional and I would shut my phone off and just read and write for as long as I wanted to.
But now, guess what I do?
I wake up in the morning, turn onto my side, open my Bible and read as many chapters as I want/can before having to get up and start my day. No highlighter pens, no journals, [sometimes] no music. I've simplified. Because right now, in my walk to Jesus, that's what He wants me to do and how He wants me to spend time with Him. Before, I was stressing out too much about having it all together and making notes and highlighting verses and making my journals look pretty, and then when I couldn't do that, I would just slack in my Bible time because I “didn't have time for everything”. I didn't have time to make it perfect.
And He was like “Raquel, you just need to want to spend time with Me. And I will meet you there.”
(It was also a lesson on being less of a perfectionist too, that's for sure.)
So my greatest recommendation, as far as how to study the Bible, is to seek Him and ask Him how He wants to spend time with you. You may be at a time of your walk with Him where He wants you to really study and make a window of time in your day to take notes and mark certain verses and look up words in a concordance. Sometimes that's a really good diving board to growing a solid relationship foundation with Him.
But for others, He may just want some one on one quiet time with you. Just you, Him, and the Word open in your lap.
Every relationship is different. Every time spent together is different, based on the relationship. Just like going on dates. Sometimes you're feeling like being wild and crazy and dancing at a concert till 2am. But other days, you just want a quiet dinner at home, snuggling and watching a movie. Both are good times, both are fun, you learn things about each other during both scenarios. But most importantly, you're together. And that's all that matters.
Your times with God are your dates with Him. He loves you and wants to have a relationship with your soul – the one He created and put in you. Figure out the best way to grow and love Him back. He'll show you.