I am so excited!
In the break between my bible studies with the girls here, I decided to pick up a 7-week study and do it on my own. It is "Faithful, Abundant, and True" by Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. I've done quite a few Beth studies, but had never done a study from either Kay or Priscilla. This 7-week study is broken into two-week segments by each speaker/teacher.
Kay was first. She is 100% "what does the bible say?" She has you drawing, coloring, linking, and noting. Everything starts and ends with the Word of God. She has no other resource. She has no other commentary. Just the Bible. And she pushes YOU to find the answers. If she were sitting next to me during my study, I can imagine me looking at her with pleading eyes to find out if I'm right (because I need to know I'm right), and having her say, "What does the bible say?" It's the loving, older woman teaching the younger woman how to find truth without a seminary degree. And I loved it!
Kay is the founder (?) of Precept Ministries. I had heard the name before, but had never really known about it. After my two weeks with her, I started looking it up and I got really excited. Her entire ministry is based on teaching people to read the Word, know the Word, and live the Word by studying the Word.
Now, I know she wouldn't say other resources are a bad thing, but sometimes I think we can get so caught up in what this big name Pastor or that big name Pastor says that we forget that God has given us…all of us…access to His Word and we don't need a seminary degree or to have completed an intense theological training to know the Word of God for ourselves. I mean, I'm guilty of it. How many times have you heard someone say something about the Word of God and it went against everything you knew, only to realize you only knew what you knew because that's what someone else had told you? You couldn't actually back it up with Scripture. And the further your conversation went, the less certain you were of your "correctness." How many times do you walk away from church and check the validity of the Pastor's sermon? I don't. I almost always take what they say for granted. And I pray they are right, but God has given us access to His Word and wants us to know it as well.
be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
- Joshua 1:8
So, the sucker that I am purchased their bible. It's not much different than a regular bible, but they've given wider margins, a slightly different layout (i.e. ever verse starts on its own line), and space for chapter by chapter and book by book overviews. Because this form of study is best done with a fresh page, I figured it deemed purchasing a new bible. (And really…who doesn't love the feel of a new bible and all the promise it holds? I find myself holding the new bible and anticipating all that God will do in and through me as I grow closer to Him.)
With the start of the new year, it was the perfect time to dive into this Bible. I found the 3-year reading plan and mapped it all out. (Way less intimidating than a one-year plan! And really…2016 isn't THAT far away.) I pulled out all my colored pencils and felt-tipped pens. I read through all the introductions. And I dove into Genesis 1-2.
Lets be honest. If you grew up in the church, you can practically recite Genesis 1-2. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…" We know what he created (everything), when he created it, how Eve was formed, what Adam's job was, and what he was told not to do. It's so familiar, it's easy to skim and move on. I mean, what could we possibly still have to learn from it, right?
While I didn't necessarily find out something new that had been created, it was such a precious start to this study. God created. He was actively involved in the creation of all things. He didn't sit back and watch. He didn't let evolution take it's course. In six days…literal days…He created the entire world. He gave man dominion over all He created and gave him woman to be his helper. (Sorry ladies…we're not meant to rule.) And this one still makes me laugh…He created us to eat PLANTS. Meat was never in the original plan. As someone who LOOOOVES a good steak, this kind of makes me sad. (Don't worry…I'm not turning vegan. I still believe it's not a meal without some form of meat.) But, there's a reason our bodies do better when we're eating vegetables and fruit. We were created that way.
Ok. I digress.
God wants to be known. He wants us to know Him and He wants us to tell others about Him. I know that my 3-year plan to read through this bible (and make it colorful and pretty) may take 5 years. I know that I will struggle to make it through Leviticus and Numbers. I know that there will be days when I am not this excited to be in the Word. And I know that I will mess up and have to start again, but I also know that He has promised to walk this journey with me. He desires to do a good work in me. And there is mercy and grace at the cross. Oh how sweet the journey with the Lord is.
And how much greater when you get to do it with colored pencils!