This piggy backs on a previous post. I just finished Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds
. It’s a short, quick read that leaves you encouraged to go sit in front of your Bible and study it. It probably took me about 2.5 hours to read cover to cover, then you can go back and use it as a guide to practice studying the Bible the way she recommends.
I’ve tried reading Living by the Book and could never finish it. I think it overwhelmed me and I always felt discouraged when I didn’t get it the way they did. Coming back from Israel I was encouraged to study the Bible inductively, but it started waning when I had such a hard time asking the right questions of the text.
Jen Wilkin’s approach is the inductive approach. Marking up your Bible (or printed text of the Bible if you prefer), asking questions of it, looking at comprehension (or observation), interpretation, and application. So, it’s not something new I’ve never heard of. But she talks about the ways I’ve felt when I’ve tried it before. That it takes time and effort and it’s hard to get good at it. That knowing the right questions to ask takes time, and that I won’t be able to glean absolutely everything from just reading the Bible. There’s people who have been gifted at studying the historical aspects of Scripture, and it’s okay to read their stuff. That it’s there to help you.
But she also encourages you to study the Bible first prayerfully and by itself. You, your Bible, and with a process. Then AFTER you’ve sat and studied the Scriptures by itself, go to commentaries and see what other people have to say. Use the commentaries as complementary.
If you’ve had trouble studying the Bible, either knowing how, where to begin, or are sick of topical studies, I really recommend this book. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time to read, and she’s straight forward. She leaves you ready to study the Bible for yourself.