Tips for studying the word and digging deeper.
(SIDE NOTE …. it is starting, at least in the mornings / evenings, to feel like FALL around these parts! Eeek… this Midwest girl is loving it! Although I am learning that my family really needs to dress in layers because the afternoons feel n.o.t.h.i.n.g. like fall. But with that… I am excited to use some fall’ish images)
In the post, Making Time for Coffee, I talked about a tool I love using during my devos time. I wanted to share this tool along with a little of one of my own personal testimonies, or better yet… one of my herStories and how this tool helped me dig deeper in my faith and learning more about the Bible.
The tool is called, Bible by Olive Tree. It is an app that I use on my iPad and iPhone. I believe the app itself free app, and then you can purchase different Bibles and commentaries. (I will mention that I didn’t purchase them all at the same time. I have slowly been adding to my collection for a few years now. Quiet often the app will give away free Bibles and they are on sale a lot!)
The reason I enjoy using this tool are (the descriptions I have taken from their website):
1. You can study with the resource guide
The resource guide makes it easy to study by presenting all the relevant information in your library alongside your Bible passage.
2. You can customize your experience.
Take notes, highlight verses, bookmark your favorite passages, and watch them all sync automatically to all of your devices.
I love that when I highlight a verse it highlights it in every version. So, I can switch back and forth easily between versions and see how they vary. I love that as I add notes throughout my “bible” they are all connected. I love that I can parallel two different versions.
Would you like to know what My MOST favorite part about the app? The note section. Notes can be taken two different ways 1. Notes and 2. Tags.
I love this section because as I have been reading my Bible over the years and I come across a scripture that stands out to me, I have been “categorizing” them. For instance, I will list some of my categories. Anxiety, Daily Prayers, Deployment, Direction, Finances, Gods Promises… Then when I am struggling with feeling anxious or needing a promise to hold onto, I can open the app and find scriptures that I have already found.
Let’s say, I am feeling anxiety over something, I click on the category I created, “anxiety” and I have 20 verses that I have marked and saved under this section. Here is one of the scriptures I have saved,
2 Samuel 22:7, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”
In Samuel 22: 20b it says, “He delivered me because He delighted in me”
In verse 29, “For You are my lamp, O Lord; The Lord shall enlighten my darkness.
And in verse 33, “God is my strength, and power, And He makes my way perfect”.
OR here is one more example: I click on “Direction”:
Isaiah 30:21, Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.
Now, back to the app.
The Bibles that I particularly love are the ones that have the Strong’s Numbers attached as well as ones that come with extra study notes.
For example, I purchased a New King James Version with Strong’s Numbers, then I also purchased the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible Notes. With just these two I am then able to read extra notes from those who have studied and studied the Bible and then also look at words in Greek and Hebrew to try and grasp a better understanding of the words as used in their first context. I also have other versions of the Bible and like I said earlier if I have any notes from my KNJV, they will be on the new Bible I open up.
Now for a testimony of how this actually played out in the normal life of… ME !
Here is an instance where I, (being led by the Holy Spirit) was able to dig deeper using the Strong’s concordance numbers.
Here is a short (very summarized) story from when I was pregnant with my Anna.
My uterus was not growing the “average” way they like it to so my doctor wanted me to go in for an extra ultrasound wanting to be on the safe side (which I must say in the Military is a BIG deal to get an “extra” ultrasound. Generally, you only have two. One when you are about 10 weeks and then another for the gender reveal (which they say is really only to do an anatomy scan… but really most of us are looking forward to what little parts we will or will not see on that little black screen).
At one point, I started to get a little nervous (okay who am I kidding, EXTREMELY nervous) because the tech just didn’t seem to be acting like I had experienced in my previous ultra sound appointments. She was talking at first and then got quiet and wouldn’t really say anything. She finished with telling me that I would be hearing from my doctor. That’s encouraging, right? Yea, uh NO!
A day or so later I received a phone call from my doctor saying Anna’s kidneys looked extremely large and in other areas her sizing just didn’t seem to be growing the way she should be. Even throwing the word down syndrome into the mix.
She set up an appointment for us to be seen by a high-risk doctor and then she added, “but don’t worry it could be nothing.”
R…..I…..G…..H…..T… (blank stare….) Just take a moment to picture (if you know me) my face when she said that. HA, right, no big deal, it could be nothing.
That Saturday morning I was thinking about all the possible decorations I could make for Anna’s room and the idea of painting a sign that read “fearfully and wonderfully made” came to my mind. I stored it in my thoughts for later then moved on with my day.
I started doing my devos a bit later when my mom called and said she had been praying for me and felt like the Lord was saying this,
“Anna is fearfully and wonderfully made. He, has inscribed her fingerprints with his finger.”
Then no JOKE, THREE MINUTES later (I went back and checked because it just seemed like it was only a moment before my mom had called me) one of my best friends texted me this,
“Psalm 139:13-14 NIV”
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.
This was definitely a bit encouraging and I did feel a little better… but I was still worried and having negative thoughts.
A week later I woke up and felt as though I needed to dig deeper into that scripture. I pulled out my Bible (iPad) with the concordance and looked it up. The words I’ve bolded were the ones that stood out to me while I was reading so I clicked on them and then the words in the parentheses were some of the definitions in Hebrew.
Psalm 139:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 For You formed (created, erect, recover, redeem)
my inward parts (a kidney, an essential organ, seat of emotion and affection);
You covered (protect)me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
Now I about dropped my iPad when I clicked on the word, “parts”, and read, “a kidney, an essential organ…” This was exactly the part the doctors were worried about. In that moment, I just knew that Anna was going to be okay.
It was as if the fear literally fell off of me. The worry fell off of me, and I had a peace that God was telling me she was going to be 100% okay.
I then held onto thatscripture as my promise that the Lord formed and protected Anna’s kidney and that I did not need to fear an issue with her development.
Okay so a big old story to say that one way to try and dig deeper into the Bible is when scriptures stand out to you. Be it during a sermon, or while reading the Bible, or even a devotional type study. If you’re reading something and a scripture just stands out like it is being highlighted on the page, to pause and take note of that. Generally, in my case God is trying to say something to me.