Friday, March 14, 2014


How do you deal with personal Bible study?  Are you Quinn Quiet Time? Do you sit in the morning silence with an afghan, a steaming mug of tea and your well marked Bible?  Or maybe you are Sally Serious Study.  Do you sit at the kitchen table with three translations, two commentaries, your copy of Strongs, a pack of colored pencil and a notebook?  Maybe you are Five-Minute Frances. You only have five minutes in the car before you have to head in to work but you spend it reading a few verses that linger in your mind all day long.  

If you're like me, you've been all those girls at different times in your life.  But these days I am a different creature all together. I'm a mom.

I've written before about the effort we go to bring Bible study and the Christian life alive in the lives of our girls.  So much of my Bible study time is with them.  Gone are the days when I have hours to chase down an esoteric questions.  These are the days when we bellow out the 84th Psalm to the tune of Yankee Doodle.   It's as hilarious as it is catchy.  I find myself humming it under my breath all the time.

But this term as I looked towards my older daughter's Bible work, I was a bit frustrated.  Last term we experimented with picture journaling, soap journaling and an academic word study journal.  They were all workable for our study in the prophets, but this term she was studying the epistles and needed something more structured, more academic and yet still focused on recognizing and obeying the commands of God.  I looked and looked for a free printable that would do the trick.  Nothing!

So I created a journal from scratch.  I sat down at the computer and laid out  some generic pages: first one to examine the book and its outline, then one for individual chapters, one for special verses and one for  memorable images.

I want my girl to be "Sally Serious Study" when the time is right, and that means building her analytical Bible study skills now.  I asked rigorous questions, required an outline and made her find connections to both gospels and the Old Testament in each book. I knew that "Quinn Quiet Time" has something going for her cozy approach, so I put the journal worksheets in a mobile notebook that could be snuggled up with tea and chocolate in an arm chair.  And since my daughter would far rather be "Five-Minute Frances," I tried my best to break it into manageable chunks.

Then I fell into one of the great dangers of homeschooling: smugness.  Totally obnoxious, entirely inexcusable and a temptation surely every homeschooling parent has given into more than once.  I was very satisfied with the journal, satisfied with my kiddo and satisfied with my plan. I was very close to the line where you congratulate yourself on having boxed in the word of God. But in this case, blogging knocked it right out of me.

When we decided to spend the month of March discussing the books of 1st and 2nd Peter, my brain went immediately back to her journals.  I rubbed my metaphorical hands together and started out to follow the path I had laid out for her. Cheerfully, I sat down to read and re-read the book.  I thought about the overall outline and analyzed the chapter structures. I thought I could organize, outline, and hammer the text into blog-sized pieces. But I'll just tell you, the word of God got a hold of me and hammered me into shape instead (for example Suffering and Submission).  There's nothing wrong with serious study as long as I remember that I'm not managing the Word; I'm learning, obeying, and believing it. On top of all that, I gave myself a headache!

This week as my girl struggles to outline Galatians, I have much more sympathy than I might have otherwise!  We'd love to offer you the printables for free  either for your own study, for a Bible class, or for your homeschooler.  But take care, "the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword;" digging in can be dangerous (Hebrews 4:12)!


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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