This is it – the final post in our Digging Deeper Series. Thank you for journeying along with me and for your words of encouragement on the way. I have so enjoyed putting the series together, and I’ve learned a few things myself in the process.
As a recap, we started off the series by giving thought to WHY Digging Deeper is important. Then over the next four weeks we delved into HOW to Dig Deeper into the Bible. Here are the links to the four posts if you missed any or simply want to go back and take another look: Read It, Write It, Memorize It, and Pray It.
In this, our last post in the series, we’ll take a look at one more HOW: TOOLS.
Here are some of my favorite TOOLS for Digging Deeper into the Bible:
A Journaling Bible is a Bible with wide margins. (There are even some Journaling Bibles out now with every other page blank!) If you’ve never used one, you can take a look at a selection of Journaling Bible here. Personally, I adore a Journaling Bible for Digging Deeper into the Bible. There are no distracting notes or commentaries or anything else – just the words of God and a place to visually respond.
Online Bible Study Tools
Sites such as Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, and Bible Study Tools certainly make the “Digging” easier.
An English Dictionary
Looking up the words of your Bible text in an English dictionary can bring such insight and clarity. Take, for example, the word “true” found in Hebrews 10:22a.
“let us draw near with a true heart”
Rather than simply reading over the word “true” because we know what it means and not being much affected by our reading. A quick online dictionary search of the word reveals:
- conforming to reality or fact
- real; genuine; authentic
- sincere; not deceitful
- firm in allegiance; loyal; faithful; steadfast
- being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something
- conforming to or consistent with a standard, pattern, or the like
- reliable, unfailing, or sure
- honest; honorable; upright
When we take the time to stop, write out the definition/s, and apply the definition to the Scripture, we can’t help but be affected.
Does my heart conform to reality? Is my heart genuine? Is it firm in allegiance? Does it reflect His character?
Do I draw near to Him with a genuine heart?
(You can also find an inexpensive paperback dictionary HERE if you prefer physical over digital.)
A thesaurus is one of my absolutely favorite tools. Again you can use an online version or invest in an inexpensive paperback. Looking words up in a thesaurus yields much the same result as using a dictionary.
Give yourself permission to explore and then go on a hunt for at least a couple of journaling/study methods that you enjoy. Journaling will help you slow down, attend, and reflect upon what you are reading. Here are two of my favorites:
Verse Mapping – This method reminds me a bit of the old diagramming of sentences we used to do in school. I guess it speaks to me because I’m a Language Arts nerd! On the other hand, it’s quite different because it is NOT rules-bound. Simply write out the verse you have chosen as your target for Digging Deeper being sure to leave plenty of white space on your page. Then go to work – define words, locate synonyms, make connections, and ask questions. For more detail on How to Dig Deeper into the Bible by Verse Mapping, see this previous post on Verse Mapping.
Journible Method –This method is based on Journibles: the 17:18 Series by Robert J. Wynalda. Journibles are available through Christianbook.com, Amazon, and other outlets. I, however, “journible” in a composition notebook.
The idea is to write out the book of Scripture you are studying and then reflect upon it. In this method, you write out the Scripture on the right-hand page and record your thoughts, questions, and reflections on the corresponding left-hand page. My first experience with this method occurred when our small group studied the book of Philippians a while back. Wow, did it enhance my study and discussion time. I simply cannot say enough about this method! For more detailed information see the blog post Creative Journaling: Part 3.
**The Digging Deeper: Engaging with the Word of God – Self-Study Course is a valuable tool for a journaling/study methods journey of discovery. The course introduces adults to multiple ways of engaging with the Bible including S.O.A.P. and Verse Mapping. Visit the Digging Deeper Resources page for more information or click the LINK to purchase. Work at your own pace, on your own schedule as you discover ways for Digging Deeper into the Bible.
Digging Deeper with a soul friend or two is the best! Soul friends help you pay attention to the words as you read and to what God may be saying to you. They help you process and respond. And they just make things more fun!
Commentaries – help with understanding the background and context of passages.
Concordances – an “exhaustive” concordance lists every occurrence of every word in the Bible.
Maps – help with understanding and provide context regarding all things geographical – locations, distances, proximities, missionary journeys.
Other Bible versions – help with understanding a verse or passage. Verses are worded differently in different versions. Reading in an unfamiliar version slows you down and makes you think. Read in several versions and see the passage in a fresh light.