In July I started to write out the book of Hebrews (a book of the Bible) as an experiment to see how it might work as a way to “study” the Bible. I finished my experiment on Saturday. Some days I did a lot. Sometimes I skipped it in favour of other devotional material. In the past four months I filled an entire notebook and suffered hand cramps…all the while I marvelled at how in the days before printing presses, the scribes did this all day every day to preserve and distribute the word of God!
I wrote the text itself on the right-hand pages and wrote little notes and questions for myself in green on the facing pages.
Here’s what I learned over the past four months:
1. Handwriting slabs of scripture makes me slow down enough to take in and meditate on the words in front of me. I have a tendency to speed read….that’s not a viable option when it comes to reading the Bible…it’s not all about getting from one end of the book to the other. It’s a living document that needs time and attention.
2. Handwriting an entire book (rather than reading a verse or passage in isolation) lets me make connections throughout the book and start to understand the context of particular verses and chapters.
3. Having JUST the scripture as my God-time gives me an entirely different, and I think much deeper connection to the heart of God during my quiet times. I still like to use devotional books and instructional texts, but focussing on the scripture alone, I think, lets God speak directly to my heart and tell me what he’s thinking about what’s going on in my head and my heart without someone else’s words getting in the way. God wants to have a relationship with me, but we can’t have a healthy relationship if I do all the talking (praying) and not take time to listen to him. This gives me a way to actively listen to what God has to say to me.
4. This style of Bible study takes the intellectual pressure off having to answer questions posed by someone else, and allows God to prompt me directly and have me think about things that are immediately relevant to my life.
I’ll be continuing this practice for sure. I loved it. It might not suit everyone, but I would challenge you to give it a go before you dismiss it.
My biggest problem now is trying to figure out what book to do next. I’m thinking Romans or Isaiah. Or maybe James……..
While I’m deciding I’ll be working through the Soul Revolution book, and continuing the 60-60 experiment..but that’s a post for another day. 🙂