I have always been a quantity over quality kind of person when it came to studying the Bible. I didn’t realize this until I hit emotional rock bottom back in December. In my anguish, I began really poring over passages of Scripture, delving deeper into the meaning of words in their original language, and writing them out to apply as balm to my shattered soul. But God, in His infinite grace and providence, didn’t leave me on my own. He rocked my OCD world using two perfectly timed incidents: my dear friend gave me a Beautiful Word Bible for a belated Christmas gift, and I stumbled across an in-depth Bible study focused on the last chapters in the book of John–which is precisely where I was in my efficient, read-the-Bible-from-cover-to-cover-and-begin-again, daily study.
And so, in the middle of January, I began a new and strange-to-me way of spending time in God’s Word each morning. This new Bible is filled not only with artsy passages of key Scriptures in the margins, but also with room to write in the margins–huge, LINED (this is very important for my OCDedness) space to fill with thoughts and truths and treasures from the verses I’ve read and studied. The new Bible study was a workbook of sorts, guiding me to a deeper understanding of Who Jesus Is and what He taught in His last hours, and days, on earth. I’m now happily (slowly) working through the book of Acts, using a fabulous book from Warren Wiersbe, as well as another workbook study I found, and learning so much about the Holy Spirit, prayer, and what unity in the early church looked like!
In addition to the new-to-me, in depth studying, I’ve become one of those people. You know, the ones who have rainbow-colored markings throughout their Bible? The friend who blessed me with this Bible has been doing this for years, but I wasn’t really interested. Oh, I have always marked in my Bible–with neat, orderly black ink. I’ve made notes in the margins, underlined and starred key verses, and paid special attention to the names of God. But this is a whole new, colorful world!
Note to all my fellow OCDers out there: I underline with the appropriate colored pens and color in the verses with erasable (hooray!) colored pencils. Oh happiness!
Below is a rough key for the colors I use. I based it loosely on a chart I found on the internet and changed it up to match a bit more of what my friend does. I am adapting and learning–and thankful for erasable colored pencils!
There is no “wrong” way to study the Bible. Any time spent in God’s Word is an excellent investment.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.” ~ Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
God spoke to me clearly and beautifully in my quantity-over-quality years. And who knows, I may go back to my old study habits.
But in this current season of my life, God is speaking volumes to my heart in new and colorful ways. And I am SO grateful.
Bonus: my artistic and creative self is being refreshed and encouraged, also! 🙂
Here are the studies I talked about. The first two are available from Moody Publishers. We have been collecting Warren Wiersbe studies over the years from Paperback Swap. I can’t say enough great things about Wiersbe AND Paperback Swap!
This is a link to the Bible I have. There are many variations, and my friend insists she found it on clearance…so keep your eyes open if you’re interested. 🙂
Whatever Bible you have, READ IT!
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word…
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes…
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” ~ Psalm 119:9, 11-12, 14-16