R.E.S.T. Bible Study Method - Confidently Spend More Time In God's Word
I have lived most of my life being intimated by how to properly study the Bible. Most of that fear was my own doing in feeling there was a "right" way to spend time in God's word.
“When I have a clear method I will make time every day to open my Bible.”
“When I know exactly which scriptures to study, I will feel more confident. “
That "When I...." place was not helping to grow me spiritually and I was not walking closer with Jesus because I was waiting to have it all figured out first.
When I finally got over the need to be an expert at how to study the Bible, I started where most of us do, Google and Pinterest. Down the rabbit hole of many different Bible study methods I went.
Many of them using 6 or more different colored highlighters but two days into this method I realized my entire bible was going to look like a rainbow had thrown up in it. I know this method works very well for others but it left the minimalist in me feeling rather stressed out.
Other methods use a system to underline, circle and put brackets around certain words or groups of words with different colored pens. This method felt like learning a foreign language. At the end of the day all I wanted was a simple method that would help me slow down and spend time in my Bible with more focus and intention.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 NKJV A verse that I have written in my day planner along with a message that I felt God speaking into me “be still and let Me” on one of those days where my anxiety was getting the better of me.
Slowing down is not in my nature. I am a creative introvert who thrives when she is busy and challenged. While this character trait serves me well in most areas of my life, it also hinders me in others.
Busy doing. Creating. Accomplishing. Getting it done. No excuses.
I feel like I have to be running at full speed all the time and burn out can sneak up on me when I least expect it. I have a tendency to go hard at life placing a lot of high expectations on myself and over the course of my life, I have struggled with asking for help, yes even God's. Big girls can do big things all on their own and I will be the one to show them was at one time my misguided mantra.
My growth has had some hard lessons attached to it in learning to be still, surrender my pride and let God do what only He can. I spent many years of my life rebelling against fully trusting Him with all areas of my life. At the present stage of my life, being deeply rooted in Christ is a high priority of mine and I know that requires intentional time invested in His presence and in His word, not some of the time, but a daily non-negotiable commitment.
For the last 6 months I have been figuring out a system that would allow me to study the Bible without feeling overwhelmed with complicated methods or turning my Bible into a piece of doodle art (I know many who love the highlighter Bible study methods and that is awesome, just totally not for me.)
The R.E.S.T. Method has been working out so beautifully for me so it's my hope that if you have been struggling with how to study the Bible, this method will give you some direction.
I love that the whole foundation to this method is the word REST. Just another reminder for my soul to slow down and be still.
R - READ. Taking a small portion of scripture and spend time diving deeper into it, to unpack it and allow the Holy Spirit to speak into you from it. Now you may be reading this and asking yourself "But where in the Bible am I supposed to start??" and I know this can feel like half the battle and overwhelming. This is where you have to let go of feeling like there is a "right" or "perfect" place.
There are several ways I use to choose which scripture I will study:
1. There are some days I feel very inspired to open up my Bible to some of my favorite books (Psalm, Romans, Ephesians, Ruth) and I can easily find a verse that speaks to me.
2. Then there are other days when I am struggling and opening my Bible to find a verse doesn't come so naturally. In those moments I use Google as a research tool. Maybe I am having a bad mom day and beating myself up for a recent parenting fail or going through a hard season in my business or relationships. I will Google "encouraging scriptures for moms" or "scriptures to pray over a business" and through that search I will land on a scripture that really resonates with me to dive deeper into. I am always amazed at how God shows up in these moments to use what is happening in my life in that very moment to teach and grow me.
3. There are many scriptures that I want to dive deeper into from a Sunday morning church service. I will bookmark it in my Bible so I can spend more time on it in the coming days.
4. A verse a friend shared with me that really touched me and I feel led to spend more time on it.
5. I often run across scriptures on quote cards all the time while online and social media and many times there are verses I am not familiar with and will save them to a "Scriptures" folder on my phone to reference later.
Once I find a verse that speaks to me, I of course look it up in my New King James Version Bible (just because it's on a quote card or I find it referenced in a blog post doesn't make it accurate, many rephrase or use different translations). I want to read God's word first hand.
To break the scripture down using the R.E.S.T. method, I use the week view pages of my day planner. You could use a spiral notebook or journal, whatever works best for you. I personally use my day planner for everything and don't want to keep up with extra journals or notebooks.
E - ENGAGE. Write out the verse and underline any important words. I tend to underline action words. Don't over think this, underline words that stand out, words that speak deep into your soul in that moment, words that you feel a strong connection to.
S- SAVOR. Write some quick thoughts about the scripture, ask yourself some deep questions, be honest about struggles you are having and how this verse is speaking into you. If you need help better understanding the lesson, this is what I do - Google the verse and Rick Warren. "Philippians 3:9 Rick Warren" for example. He is a trusted resource for me personally and he has usually written a blog post on that particular verse.
I will spend time reading Pastor Warren's teaching on the scripture and continue with my own reflection on it and the message God has for me.
As a writer, what I also find helpful is diving deeper into words by looking up their exact definitions not only in the English language but the Hebrew meaning of the word too. This has been so helpful to me in understanding the context of the scripture.
For example, I ran across this scripture John chapter 15: 1-8. In verse 5 Jesus said "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." NKJV I felt a strong nudge to look up the word "Abide" that led me through two hours spent in my bible and journaling the powerful lesson I felt God had for me in that moment. (I shared it on my Facebook page if you want to read more you can click HERE, I hope you find it as encouraging as I did).
Looking up the meaning and definitions of words you run across in scripture can really help you understand the verse deeper and better.
T - TAKEAWAY. Write a major takeaway you had from the scripture, a lesson, awakening and/or how you will carry it with you into the rest of your day to not only encourage yourself personally but how you will use it to pour into others. I love to also pray through the scripture, asking God to use it to guide and counsel me through my day.
Studying the word of God not only grows our relationship with Him but it also prepares us to disciple others as Jesus commanded before He left the earth.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
Give yourself some time to get comfortable with the Savor and Takeaway writing prompts of this method. You may feel like you struggle to write out your thoughts and that's okay, I promise it will get easier and you will grow more confident if you will stick with it. The important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong way, it's about your intimate time with God and I promise sweet friend, He knows your heart well.
Whether this method works for you or not, I hope you will continue to intentionally spend time in the presence of God so you can stay rooted in His truth, own your worth as an adored daugther of the King and lean into Him so you aren't fighting your daily battles alone.
If you are looking for a community to help equip you for studying God’s word and growing deeper in your faith The Daily Grace Co. is one of my favorite places for fellowship and Bible studies.
I would love to hear how you are studying your Bible and what method works for you so be sure to leave me a comment.
Welcome Beautiful Creative! I'm April, a mom of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Warrior For Christ • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • Squarespace Web Designer • I pray you find inspiration here to embrace your worth in Christ • I am honored to have you here ❥