For my new friends in Tennessee (whom I haven’t yet met) 😉 and anyone else who struggles with fear …
Fear is like a mythological beast with many heads. It is all the same nasty monster but fear may rear it’s ugly head in a variety of ways: worry, anxiety, rejection, pride, self protection …
But regardless of what form our fear may take we must fight the beast with the Word of God. Scripture tells us who we are in Christ; we are loved children of God.
As God’s children we have a choice: We can cower and hide in fear or we can stand firm and walk forward in God’s love.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.
Let us declare together:
We will walk in His love.
We will live our lives Unafraid.
We will be bold, brave, courageous women of God.
And we will meet with Him every day in His Word.
The Word of God is our weapon against the schemes of the enemy. (Ephesians 6:17) Jesus fought the devil with the words of Scripture. (Matthew 4:1-11) We must know, live and breathe the truths found in God’s Word.
How to read the Bible
In my own personal Bible study I have found it necessary to have a reading plan. Either an app or a Bible study works best for me (resources below).
If I do not have a plan I find I will randomly flip through pages of Scripture and God’s Word doesn’t connect with my heart as well as it does when I have a daily plan.
Without a specific plan and a place to go in the Word each day, it is easier for me to let my Bible study time slide.
If you have found it difficult to develop a consistent, daily Bible study time I would highly recommend you start with some sort of reading plan.
And remember – you don’t have to dedicate an entire hour every day!! You can build up to that 😉
Starting with 5-10 minutes each morning in God’s Word is great!! God will honor your obedience and He will grow your desire for His Word.
Pray before you begin
Begin to pray now for God to give you a hunger and a thirst for His Word.
Every day before you begin to read God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit to come, to guide and direct you as you read; to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive God’s individual and particular Word for your heart.
Try another translation
If reading the Bible is difficult and you can’t understand what you are reading try another translation.
Lifeway has a variety of resources to help you determine which particular Bible translation may be best for you.
From their brochure: “While God is the author of all Scripture, the human writers wrote in three languages. Because these languages don’t translate perfectly into English, translators must decide whether they are seeking to convey the exact words of the central idea of the original text. The translation philosophies are often referred to as word-for-word or thought-for-thought.”
I often use the ESV (word-for-word) of the NIV (word-for-word and thought-for-thought) in my personal study.
The Message is a Bible paraphrase from the original text. It could be helpful to read a paraphrase such as The Message before reading the same text in a word-for-word translation.
Apps and/or Reading Plans
First5 – This app is through Proverbs 31 Ministries and it is completely free for download on any smart phone. We are currently reading through 1 Corinthians and we’ll move into 2 Corinthians next. You can jump right in at any time! There is an “experience guide” which corresponds to each study available for purchase but it isn’t necessary. You can access all you need through the free app.
She Reads Truth – The app is free to download on any smart phone and many of their plans can be downloaded for free. Some of their current free plans are: This is the Gospel (14 days) Mourning and Dancing (14 days) Psalms of Gratitude (13 days) Women in the Word//New Testament (26 days) Women in the Word//Old Testament (36 days) The Sermon on the Mount (20 days) and Open Your Bible//Launch Week Sampler (5 days) *see below for the Open Your Bible Bible study book
YouVersion – This app is also free to download and has MANY reading plans. There are plans from Joyce Meyer Ministries, John Piper, and Focus on the Family. They have devotional reading plans and family reading plans – everything from “Mama needs a Do-Over” to “Handling Media Influences” to “The Bible App for Kids.”
Books and Bible studies
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and our Minds by Jen Wilkin
“We all know it’s important to study God’s Word.
But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. What’s more, a lack of time, emotionally driven approaches, and past frustrations can erode our resolve to keep growing in our knowledge of Scripture. How can we, as Christian women, keep our focus and sustain our passion when reading the Bible?
Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.”
This is a small, easy-to-read book packed full of helpful information. I learned so much from this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t know how to start reading and loving their Bible study time.
Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story by Angie Smith
“In seven sessions, Seamless covers the people, places, and promises of the Bible, tying them together into the greater story of Scripture. Participants in this study will gain an overarching understanding of the fundamental layout and meaning of the Bible.”
Regardless of your Bible knowledge or how much of the Bible you may already feel you know, this is a fabulous study for anyone. Seamless helps us to see the big picture of the Bible, weaving together characters and stories from the Old and New Testaments to show how the entire Bible really is one complete story pointing to Jesus.
A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study: A Refreshingly Unique Look at God’s Word by Jen Hatmaker
“Written specifically for today’s busy women, this book offers user-friendly advice on how to get the most from personal Bible study time. Transform the academic nature of Bible study into a fresh, simple format that will radically change the way you interact with Scripture forever. This great leader’s resource can be used with the Modern Girl’s Bible Study series or as a tool for discipleship ministry.”
*Full Disclosure! I have not yet read this book but it has been recommended by many sources. It is currently sitting in my cart on Amazon.
Open Your Bible: God’s Word is for you and for now by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams
“Are you longing to hear from God, aching to know who He really is? The beautiful truth is this—we can encounter the living God today and every day in the pages of His Word. Whether you are a seasoned Bible reader or struggle to keep up with studying Scripture, Open Your Bible will leave you with a greater appreciation for the Word of God, a deeper understanding of its authority, and a stronger desire to know the Bible inside and out. Using powerful storytelling, real-life examples, and scripture itself, Open Your Bible will quench a thirst you might not even know you have—one that can only be satisfied by God’s Word.
The Bible is sufficient and true. God’s Word is for you and for now. ”
*Full Disclosure! This Bible study currently sits on my “to be read’ shelf at home. I have not completed this Bible study but I have gone through several Bible study plans through the She Reads Truth app.
The Loved Bible Project
I am in love with the Loved Bible Project! And I simply cannot say enough fabulously wonderful things about it!! I have written about it just a few times 😉 and if you haven’t seen any of those posts you can start with this one which describes what the Loved Bible Project is:
The Loved Bible Project has been a great way to “love on” a Bible that can be gifted to someone else. I have been loving Bibles for my own two boys, for a former student currently struggling with addiction, as well as a family friend who is not a believer.
I am also loving on Bibles that will be gifted to unknown recipients – perhaps a homeless man or woman or a woman currently in a shelter or prison. I have found that through loving on Bibles to be shared with others, as I share with them the love that God has for their own unique soul, my own identity in Christ is being reaffirmed. It truly is a beautiful life-giving project for both the giver and the recipient.
The Loved Bible Project Identity in Christ challenge is a wonderful way to begin loving on a Bible as it will take you through 31 days of Scripture to reaffirm who you are in Christ. (The calendar is for July but you could go through the challenge beginning any time.)
And finally, a playlist of songs that I have been loving that encourage me to Live Life Unafraid.
One final resource, 33 verses about fear and anxiety