I just recently spent an amazing two weeks camping out in the book of James.
Having completed my first “cover to cover ” journey through the Bible, I was really excited to be able to go back and really get into the nitty gritty of some of the books that really stood out to me.
I’d made a mental note to myself that the book of James would be the first one as, let’s face it, its pretty awesome!
If you’ve been following my blog posts at all then you’ll know by now that I’m a pretty avid note-taker.
We have enough notebooks in our home to build a 7 story building. It causes my husband heart palpitations when I arrive home from town with “another notebook?!”
I thought you may be interested to see how I went about studying this incredible book?
So, here we go…
My first page of notes consisted of just getting a general overview of what the book of James is about.
You can find this in the beginning of most study Bible’s but I have found a great resource (which I came across on Pinterest) from NewSpring Church where they have put together simple, easy to read overviews of each book of the Bible.
Here’s an example…
Firstly, i’d reccomend you reading through the whole book before you start your study as it helps you to get the idea behind the bigger story.
This will help to lessen the chances of you taking a verse out of context; The bigger picture is always a good thing to start with before breaking a book down.
I had decided that the way I was going to go about studying James was to go through it verse by verse.
I started by reading the whole book, and then by reading a chapter at a time before breaking it down into verses.
I would read the verse, then stop and pray for Holy Spirit to come and speak to me through His Word.
I have found that writing the verse out can be hugely beneficial.
It seems to send it a bit deeper into me if I have taken the time to read and then write it.
Plus it helps for future reference; It means I can just pick up the notebook and don’t have to go looking for each verse in my Bible.
I have recently gotten into the habit of decorating my notes by adding boxes, banners and just generally making it all look a bit more prettyfull (not a real word).
This is completely unnecessary and serves no other purpose then to make me happy!
Putting important things in boxes and bubbles also helps me for future reference.
I’m a huge lover of lists, so as soon as I spot an opportunity to make one…I am onto it!
So, as I said above; I decided to study the book by chapters and then break it down even further by verse but because there is just SO MUCH goodness in this book it is really easy to get to the end of a chapter and feel like you’ve just eaten a ten course meal.
I found it really useful to just pause and write a list (list!) of “Things to remember from this chapter”.
I found this so useful as it caused me to stop, look back, reflect on all I’d just learnt, and just take a moment to properly absorb it all.
Again, this is going to be a helpful tool for the future as I will be able to find what I’m looking for in each book at a quick glance at these lists.
The other thing I did at the end of every chapter was to write a prayer.
We know that God’s Word is truth and everything He speaks over us is true but sometimes you read things in the Bible and just think; erm, really?
We can sometimes feel so far removed from what He thinks and says and asks of us.
So I found that by stopping and praying, it enabled me to ask Him for help in areas I struggle in, to bring revelation to me of things the He says I am, to send His Word deep into my heart and allow them to transform me from the inside out.
Plus to thank Him for all that He has spoken, for His perfect and wise guidance and for strength to walk in the truth of His Word.
Some other tips that I used while studying are:
–Research words. Look up their English meanings, then look up their original meanings (Google can help you here, as well as the Logos app).
–Grab a study Bible or two. Although it is important that you learn to read the Word for yourself and not become dependant on someone else’s interperratation of it. A study Bible can be a hugely useful tool as it can shed light on a verse in its historic context, plus it can help to tie it with other parts of the Bible that you may not make the connection to.
–Don’t stress! If you really don’t understand a part of the Bible, give it to God. Ask Him to reveal to you the meaning of a verse and trust Him to speak to you and give you an answer. I have had moments where I have woken up in the morning with an answer to a question I’ve asked Him, it’s always so exciting when that happens!
–Pray! We can sometimes make prayer an overly formal thing when in reality it is communication between you and your Father who totally adores you. Get into the habit of praying as you go, speak to Him everywhere and about everything. As I read His Word I will often find myself saying, “Oh wow God, that’s so cool” or “Oh, now I know why you said this, and how this ties in with this”.
There are also moments where I will say, “OK God, no idea what’s going on here, can you please come and show me?”.
He loves it! He loves my dependency on needing Him to reveal even the simplest of things to me…it keeps me humble and keeps me 100% focused on staying close to Him and hearing His voice.
His book is His voice and He longs for us to fall in love with it, to get excited about reading it. To be passionate about being transformed by it and to chat with Him about it.
I truly hope that this post will inspire someone out there to pick up their Bible and get stuck in again.
One Girl and her Jesus xx
[I’ll post some photos below of my notes in case anyone fancies a “little” read]