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Grasping the Main Idea in Personal Bible Study

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A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study
Ch. 5: Grasping the Main Idea & Inspecting the Details (Pg. 81-92)

Truth be told, I am not a journaler.

There have been many, many failed, yet noble attempts.  I have tried to keep up with my sore attempt at writing some type of autobiography. My ventures at journaling are simply grueling.

Something tells me this is a completely different journey into the world of journaling.

How do I know?

It has absolutely nothing to do with me or how well I do or do not write. It’s simply an open page, waiting to be filled with the markings of a relationship with the One True Living God

One theme streaming across Jen’s book that has caught my eye (and heart) is her mention of the Holy Spirit. I have never considered calling upon the Holy Spirit to guide me as I read Scripture. What a profound moment.

As we seek out the truth of God’s Word, let’s remember first and foremost to ask our Comforter and Teacher – the Holy Spirit, to prepare our hearts and minds to be intentional as we seek understanding, and as we begin to write on blank pages about our deepest questions and of God’s story in our lives.

Practically speaking, how do we find real and honest ways to be productive in God’s Word?

First – Grasp the Main Idea.  As we take a look at the big picture of what we have read in Scripture, we should ask, “what is the point?”

Second – Inspect the details.  As we search out details in Scripture, we need to look to the Holy Spirit for help to guide us as we ask honest questions, in which oftentimes there will be a lot of those, “why?” questions involved.

“When we ask ‘why’ of a perfect God, there will always be a perfect answer. Every time.”

Jen Hatmaker

Helpful Tips for Reading the Bible

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:8-9

In this chapter, we’ll see personal examples of Jen’s journal entries based on passages she has read. She also lays out the basic groundwork of what will help us build a great foundation in our writing as we read through passages of scripture.

  • After reading, back up and ask of every passage, “What’s the point?”
  • God never intended the Bible to be a string of disconnected details
  • There is a point to every passage
  • Identify the general topic and write it down – i.e. “What is the big picture here? What is God trying to say?”
  • His Word will always apply to our lives

“From this place, the main idea can often be expanded through journaling. This is where the Holy Spirit can enlarge our comprehension and multiply His word.”

Jen Hatmaker

So how do we allow the Holy Spirit to enlarge our understanding?  Let’s take a look…

  • Inspect the details of God’s Word by asking God questions like,
    • Who is this passage talking about?
    • Why is this particular word used?
    • Why is this necessary?

Come with an open heart.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in areas where you may feel skeptical or uncertain.

“Keep this in mind: Every one of us has dry entries. Not every single day will be bursting with insight and wisdom. Give yourself a break. Some days are breakthroughs, and some are simple responses. The point is to stay in the Word with a fully engaged mind and allow the Holy Spirit to carry you along.”

Jen Hatmaker

Dear friends – this place of journaling is an honest and open communication among you, God, and the Holy Spirit. It’s meant to be a place where you can come with real, raw, and honest questions, as you become fully engaged with a loving God.

Weekly Challenge

My challenge to you this week is to begin calling on the Holy Spirit to guide you and prepare your heart as you begin to journal through Scripture reading. One bite at a time. One foot in front of the other. Build upon what you’re reading.

Please feel free to share any past experiences with journaling and what God is teaching you now about this new approach to journaling with Scripture. Don’t forget to use the hashtags, #intentionalfilling & #moderngirlbiblestudy.

Join the Discussion

Take a few minutes this week and answer these questions in our comments below.

This is a great opportunity for you to personally consider how you commune with God and what approaches would allow you to dig deeper into that relationship.  It is also a great way for you to learn from the other women who are also on this journey.

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  1. I am working on journaling every day. I ask the Holy Spirit to guild me as I read and as I write. I am hopeful that in time I will get better at this and it will be a blessing to me and will glorify God. It is not always easy to find the point or should I say the important point in the reading. Right now I am reading in Leviticus and this is a hard one to find that one truth in. But, I am sure that I will be able to do it.

  2. – No, I wouldn’t say I’ve stressed myself out yet trying to decipher the meaning of scripture but honestly, that’s probably because I’ve never been dedicated enough to dig that deep.
    – At times, yes, I find myself over analyzing the content. It’s hard to imagine or picture how things were done so long ago.
    – I need a dedicated, uninterruptible space – which is very difficult in my current living situation and season.
    – I feel called to ask all the why questions. Why is it necessary to list every single detail about the tabernacle? Why? Why? Why? I know there is a reason but what would the Holy Spirit want to illuminate to me regarding that.

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