Stone Soup for Five

Jun 26, 2015

Simple Bible Meditation for Complete Beginners

 "What value is there to reading one, three, or more chapters of Scripture only to find that after you've finished you can't recall a thing you've read?" 
-Donald Whitney

For years I've read my Bible in many ways...  Chapter by chapter, reading a book 50 times, or reading from cover to cover, but I always struggled with forgetting what I'd read after I checked it off of my to-do list for the day.

In 1990 (before the internet), Maurice Roberts wrote "Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness.  At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness.  We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess....It is unhurried meditation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character."

As I'm reading about the Spiritual Disciplines, the discipline of meditation has appeared in every one of the books.  It is not the meditation of Eastern Mysticism, one of emptying your mind, but rather the complete opposite, it's filling your mind with a verse or passage and letting that soak in deeply.

Though I'm still experimenting and learning what the "system" of meditation looks like, I can tell you it is an entirely different way to be in the Word, and the results have been amazing.  What starts as reading, flows into study, which flows into meditation, then application, then praise and prayer.  The flow is almost seamless.

As Christians in today's technology saturated culture, we can all take a step back from "to-do-ing" our Bible reading and spending more time steeping our minds slowly and unhurriedly with meditation. "Read less (if necessary) in order to meditate more... It's better to read a small amount of Scripture and meditate on it than to read an extensive section without meditation." -Donald Whitney


I'm not really sure what it looks like for everyone, but I'll tell you what it has been looking like for me.

READ - After praying, it starts with reading a chapter in the Bible, and after reading, finding a verse that stands out.  I underline or notate that verse then re-read it a few times emphasizing different words each reading.

WRITE - Next, I write the verse in my journal, but not in paragraph form but outline form.  Separating into lines that seem to make sense and put the different main points on a different line.

CONTEXT- Next, I read and write down the context in which the verse was found.  I re-read the chapter or section surrounding the verse to try to fully grasp what the author was talking about.  I want to be so careful not to pull verses out of context and warp them to what I think or want them to say.

DEFINE - Now I pick some words (even some that I know what they mean) and pull out my dictionary and write the definition.  Some of the words in my Bible are also notated with the original Greek words and definitions, so I will use those when possible to get a deeper understanding of the Greek.  It's amazing how many Greek words have no equivalent words in English.  Their language was so much richer than ours and these definitions really help.

STUDY - Here I might look up some commentary for more confusing passages, or read the study notes in the Bible or for the Greek words.  I also look up the cross references of other verses noted in the margins and write notes.

QUESTIONS - Next I ask questions.  How does this apply to me?  What is it telling me about God?  Me?  Jesus?  How to live?  For example with this verse, I started by asking, what does  "By His doing" mean?  Then write down my thoughts "It means that it was God's plan.  His effort.  His action, His activity."

QUOTES - There are some amazing theologians out there and I love to hear their insights.  Some of my favorites are Matthew Henry and Charles Spurgeon and many other commentators on Blue Letter Bible or Bible Study Tools.  It's so easy to find great thoughts on every chapter and verse in the Bible.  Today is one of the best ages to study with great minds and sit under the teaching of them with just the click of a mouse.

WORSHIP - After working through this (sometimes I work through just a part of the verse--like I did above--and will come back to it the next day) it leads naturally into worship.  Putting it all down on paper and organizing my thoughts about what God has done leads me to fall down in worship, which naturally leads to prayer.  The prayer usually mirrors my worship, thanking Him for what He had done and asking Him to help me in areas that the verse has spotlighted.

This way of Bible meditation has been so beneficial and is completely adjustable for the time you have available.  You can do each section in a few minutes, or take longer on each if you have time.  You can do them all in one day, or break each apart into several days and make it work specifically for you and what you have going on in your life.

"Most information, even biblical information, flows through our minds like water through a sieve.  There's usually so much information coming in each day and it comes so quickly that we retain very little.  (This was written BEFORE the internet!)  But when we meditate, the truth remains and percolates.  We can smell its aroma more fully and taste it better.  As it brews in our brain the insights come."  -Donald Whitney

In the Bible studies I've written, I've included these methods of meditating on a verse or two and how to analyze and break it apart for deeper meditation.  Be sure to subscribe on the sidebar to get your free copy of Ephesians and put this to work in your life!

Jun 25, 2015

Penny Bennett Totes--Awesome bags

For those of you new to this blog, I wanted to take a second to introduce Penny Bennett and her amazing totes and bags.

Jun 23, 2015

Summer (re)Reading Book List

There are so many good books I want to read.  So much learning I want to do.  So much information I want to plow through and learn and do.

Jun 19, 2015

Blessings from Raising a Hard Kid

Raising a hard kid is the toughest thing I've EVER had to do in my life.  It's not only physically tough, but also drains me emotionally and mentally.  Most days my brain is completely taken up with the stress and conflict and gray storm cloud of emotion that my hard kid is.  And it is so easy to forget that these kids who make us crazy also carry with their hot mess of emotions hundreds of thousands of blessings.

After talking to quite a few parents of hard kids, I've compiled a list to help us remember that all this struggle is for a reason.  Here are twelve of them:

Jun 4, 2015

What I Learned from my First Book Launch

Last week's Galatians Bible Study launch was the biggest thing I've ever done and  I want to talk with you about it for a minute and share my heart.

May 28, 2015

6 Tips to Get More Out of Your Bible Journal

When I started my first Bible journal I struggled with what to write in it.  I made lists of facts but that was about it.  Things really started improving when I changed my approach and went back to a student's mindset and what I had learned about studying in High School and college.

May 21, 2015

Inside Debbie's Bible Journal

Today we get to sit down with Debbie and flip through her Bible Journal and see the works she did through the book of Acts.  In February I shared 28 days in Acts and Debbie hopped along for the ride creating her own pages! Love them!

May 20, 2015

A peek inside Carolyn's Bible Journal

Carolyn took some time to share her Bible journal and some of her pages from the Journal and Doodle Bible studies with us!  THANK YOU Carolyn! Love them!

May 18, 2015

Lisa's Bible Journal and Interview

Lisa was kind enough to take some pictures of her gorgeous Bible Journal and the work she's done with the Journal and Doodle Bible studies to share with us!  I love LOVE looking through other people's journals and seeing what God is teaching them!  I hope you enjoy your time with Lisa too!
I stumbled across Kari's bible journaling pages on Pinterest in the winter of 2013. I had been marking up my Bible fairly regularly, but I wanted to improve my study skills instead of relying on the notes and writings of others. 

May 14, 2015

My Big Problem with Bible Study

Before I can get really into my big problem with Bible study, I have to first share a bit about where I've been...

I became a Christian in my early teens without any opportunity to really grow.  I went to a youth group event at a church I didn't attend or know anyone and met Jesus in a barn, sitting on a hay bale.  Soon after, I realized I had a horrible allergy to hay as my eyes puffed up and my throat began to constrict.  I looked like I had a hugely emotional experience all coughing and red and swollen... but in reality I was introduced to my Savior with awe, surprise and wonder, and severe allergies.

I'll just let you soak in all the 80's awesomeness
 that this picture is...

May 13, 2015

A peek inside Kimberly's Bible Journal

 Kimberly was kind enough to answer all my interview questions, PLUS include pages from some of her work through the studies.  These journal pages are from the 1 Cornithians study Journal and Doodle study.

May 11, 2015

Interview and a peek inside Janna's Bible Journal

Janna was kind enough to share her Bible journal with us and some of her thoughts on the Journal and Doodle Ephesians study.  (If you haven't gotten your free study, be sure to subscribe on the side bar for an instant download!)

I love Janna's journal because of its clean simplicity and the deep meaning she's drawn out from the Word!