I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Bible Study Information

My good friend has a Bible study blog and she posted today under the title "I Don't Know How to Study." Her post is wonderfully informative with links to lots of resources and with several different methods of study. I would HIGHLY encourage you to read it!


I will quote one of my favorite things she says that I hadn't previously thought of, "there is a time for shallow and a time for deep. And we need balance of both. When you dig into a topic so deep that you ignore all else, you can fall into error. But if you only ever skim the surface, shallowly, you also won't get the wisdom and insight that you need." She advocates STUDYING a topic and also devotional Bible reading for an overview. Very wise! Now go read the whole post!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bible Study Ideas

If you are ready to start studying your Bible instead of just reading it devotionally (reading devotionally is good, too, but in my experience study opens up whole new worlds) here are a few tips and ideas I have. Of course, these are not the only ways to study the Bible, but they are what I have done personally. You will need a Bible, preferably one with cross references; a concordance; a notebook; and a pencil or pen. Also helpful is access to different version of the Bible. Bible Gateway is a good site for different versions, and I'm sure that there are online concordances available (if you know of a good one, please let me know.) I generally either start with a particular verse or passage that I want to study OR a topic (e.g. widows, hope, etc.)

If you start with a verse:
• Look it up in different versions
• Look at the marginal notes (especially other scripture references)
• Look up key words in the dictionary (even words you know the meaning of)
• Look in a concordance for the Hebrew or Greek meaning of the key words
• If you find a word that you want to investigate further, see below

If you start with a topic:
• Look up that word in a concordance to find verses that speak to you (this can be tricky, especially if the topic is huge, hopefully I'll write more about this step later)
• Look up other related words (you can find other words translated from the same Hebrew or Greek word in a concordance or you can get ideas in a thesaurus)
• If you find a verse to investigate further, see above

If a topic is too big or overwhelming or is just not what you are focusing on right now, but you would like to get to it later, start a collection of references, gathered as you come across them. Save them for later when you are ready to do something with them.

I would encourage you to write out verses by hand, as much as is practical. This is very helpful to paying attention to every word and really meditating on it. Sometimes it is good to write a verse on an index card and put it where you will see it frequently. Sometimes I end up writing the same verses down multiple times over a period of weeks or months, and getting something new out of them every single time. Of course, the most important elements are an open heart and a willingness to listen to God’s leading and the Holy Spirit's insight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Corinthians 13:2

And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What I Did With My Collection

I took out a spiral notebook (the kind that are 10 for $1 in the back-to-school sales--I always keep a good supply on hand.) I looked up a couple of the scriptures in my collection to get ideas for organization, then I decided that the task of organizing them was way too overwhelming so I just split them into two categories: THE SOURCE and PURPOSE & METHOD (i.e. everything else.) Then I randomly chose a reference, looked it up, decided which of my two broad categories it fit best in, and then hand-copied it into my spiral notebook. It was that simple. Of course, I would pray, sometimes pause with insight, and occasionally have an "Ah-ha!" moment, but overall it was just a lot of copywork. A lot of copywork done with an open heart and a desire to see God's plan for education. I crossed the scripture reference off on my dog-eared paper after I had written out the verse and then chose another one. Some days I just chose the shortest scriptures. Other days I wrote out entire chapters. I always read both before and after the verses to get the context, and sometimes wrote those verses down, too. Some days, due to lack of time or because of a gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, instead of copying down more verses, I would go back and read the ones I had already written. I would highlight, underline, and meditate on these verses. This copywork went on for months; in fact, I have still not completed writing down all the passages in my collection, and I occasionally find new verses to add to my collection. It is ongoing. The Bible has a LOT to say about education.

Slowly, slowly, my view on education began to change. It changed from the inside out. It changed, not because of what someone else told me, but through the Holy Spirit bringing God's Word to life in my heart. This is how Romans 12:2 looks in my life. This is how I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Psalm 25:12

Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Collection

I homeschool my children. Before they were even born my husband and I planned to homeschool "differently" and "uniquely." You see, although I loved school and it seemed to be a great fit for me, my husband (who was highly intelligent) did not have good school experiences. He was adamant that we not have "school at home." Unfortunately he didn't live to see the beginning of our official homeschooling. Frankly, he would have been disappointed because my eldest's preschool program looked awfully like school at home (and not one of those great hands-on preschools, either.) Fortunately it fell by the wayside in a few months when it became obvious that he was not ready for worksheets and formal learning, and we went back to our happy lives just exploring and learning naturally.

About this time I started researching homeschooling. First I researched curriculum. I researched exhaustively, and through that research came up with what I believed were the best curricula available at the time. I also researched philosophies and methods. I read books, researched on the internet, and paid attention to how my children learned. This was all good and valuable.

A year or two passed. I came across a concept called "Lifestyle of Learning" which I began to embrace. I obtained many of Marilyn Howshall's out-of-print books and devoured them (see sidebar for her new website--she is back in ministry after a several year hiatus.) They told of being led by the Holy Spirit in educating your children. This made sense to me and to some degree I followed through, but something was still lacking. More years passed. During those years I began to really study my Bible. I did my widow study and some other smaller word studies. I started to study about education, but got bogged down and distracted.

While I was reading my Bible one day, I came across a scripture that pertained to learning and education and I decided to jot down the reference so in the future I could come back to it. Thus began my scripture collection. On an old piece of notebook paper, folded in half and stuck in my Bible, I wrote down references for any scripture I ran across that had to do with teaching, learning, education, knowledge, wisdom, etc. I did this for a year or two, until my paper had scripture references written at all angles all over one half of that piece of paper. I decided it was time to do something with my collection.