How to Get to Know the Bible Better {Through a Psalm}

Alright, friend--let's kick off this new series! With every "how-to" that we cover, my prayer is that God will unlock lots of other "how-to's" in your own heart. "How-to's" that come, not from me saying, "This is the way to DO something," but from Him saying through all of it, "Come closer to me. Let me love on you and show you my truth. Open your eyes and your heart and your ears and your hands and your mind. Know me. Love me."

A huge piece of me has been hesitant to do a series like this simply because it's so easy for us get intimidated and not do something at all when we feel like we can't do it the way we think we're "supposed to." So, I'll encourage you lay down the "supposed to" and the "right way" and the "measuring up to" and the "good enough" and "I just can't..." and please do not think for a second that I'm trying to take you down a one-way street to understanding the Bible or to give you a one-size-fits-all methodology. Not even a little bit. What I AM doing is offering you tools that can help you with:

  • getting into the Bible (whether you've been doing it every day for 90 years or if you've never even looked at a Bible for 90 seconds), 
  • creating patterns for real time with God that work in your unique life, and
  • better understanding the God whose Voice is still speaking the words you find on every page of that Bible.

Bible knowledge that could take on a trivia challenge isn't the ultimate goal of knowing the Bible better. Loving God is the goal. We love Him by getting to know Him, and we get to know Him, in large part, by listening to His voice in His Word.

So, let's open the Bible together, my friend. Here's my invitation to you: open your eyes, open your heart, open your ears, open your hands, open your mind. This God--the God who inspired every word on the pages of the Bible--He loves you. He knows where you're at. He knows what you need. And He knows how to draw you into the places where your needs can be met. 

Here we go!

How to Get to Know the Bible Better_Choose Joy Bible Study for Women_Psalms

Today, we're talking about:

How to Get to Know the Bible Better {Through a Psalm}

"Writing Between the Lines"

This is an incredibly simple and low-key study method. You could use it on any passage of Scripture, but I'm just going to show you how it looks using the Psalms. I've found this to be a great way to connect with God in any season, deepen my understanding of who God is and what He's like, turn Scripture into prayer, learn to have an actual back-and-forth conversation with God (where I'm actually listening to Him, instead of just doing all of the talking myself), and apply God's Word to my life. I'll call it, Writing Between the Lines.

This is my go-to method in four situations:

  1. If I'm pressed for time (although it usually leaves me wishing I had MORE time, once I get into it),
  2. If I'm tired and having trouble getting my brain to process much,
  3. If I'm feeling particularly strong emotions (I know...shocking that I would feel strong emotions, right? Sorry...I'm sure my Mom got a good laugh out of my use if the word, "if" in that sentence there), or
  4. If I need a little break from a more in-depth study or I'm in-between structured Bible studies.

What You'll Need:

  • A Bible or a Bible app
  • Something to write with
  • Something to write on

How to Write Between the Lines:

A handful great Psalms to start with if you're looking for one:

  • Psalm 16
  • Psalm 23
  • Psalm 27
  • Psalm 37
  • Psalm 63
  • Psalm 103
  • Psalm 139

Step 1: You can begin by praying and asking God to reveal Himself to you and to move in your hearts through His Word. Ask Him for understanding and for the truth that you need today. You can really make this entire process into a prayer--a back-and-forth conversation with God as you take in His Word and give Him back your own words.

Step 2: Then, please go ahead and write out the first line or verse by hand. Just copy down the words you see there.

Step 3: Next, you'll mull over the words you just wrote down. On the next lines of your paper, you'll write what comes to your mind as you process. As you write, you can put the verse into your own words, you can ponder the definitions of particular words or phrases, you can write what stands out to you or any lightbulbs that go off, and you can answer questions, like:

  • What do I think it's trying to say?
  • What does it tell me about God?
  • What does it tell me about me?
  • What am I going to do with it?

You might write three words. You might write a page. You might not find a lot of connections. You might feel like your mind gets blown.

Step 4: Then, go ahead and write out the next line or verse, and repeat the same process--writing what comes to mind, what stands out to you, the answers to the above questions, etc. Continue this back-and-forth between God's Words and your own words. Try to see if you can go until you've finished the Psalm, to get the most complete picture of God's intention for that particular chapter. And that's all there is to it!

Here's what this looks like in my journal:

From a  Writing Between the Lines  study of Psalm 23. (Notice where I indent slightly? The indented lines are my own thoughts. The outside lines are the verses).

From a Writing Between the Lines study of Psalm 23. (Notice where I indent slightly? The indented lines are my own thoughts. The outside lines are the verses).

Here's an example of when my response to each line can turn into a whole page. From a  Writing Between the Lines  study of Psalm 63.

Here's an example of when my response to each line can turn into a whole page. From a Writing Between the Lines study of Psalm 63.

Here's another look at that study from Psalm 63.

Here's another look at that study from Psalm 63.

You certainly don't have to go through an entire Psalm, or have long answers! Here's an example of focusing on just a few verses from a Writing Between the Lines study of Psalm 69.

You certainly don't have to go through an entire Psalm, or have long answers! Here's an example of focusing on just a few verses from a Writing Between the Lines study of Psalm 69.

 

For more in-depth study as you Write Between the Lines:

If you want to spend more time here or look further into the passage you're studying, take note of any subheads--letters or numbers--next to the words from the passage. If you see them, you'll often find verses to look up as cross-references (simply meaning verses that relate or are somehow connected to this verse). Go ahead and look up those verses and write down anything that stands out to you.

{I'll be talking more about cross-referencing in a later post.}

Coming up in this series:

  • How to Get to Know the Bible Better {Essentials and Extras}
  • How to Get to Know the Bible Better {When You're a Mom to Little Ones}

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Writing Between the Lines!

As we make our way through this series, please share what God is showing you, what works or doesn't work for you, and what you're getting out of this! You can leave comments here or post them on social media! Don't forget to tag @tochoosejoy and hashtag: #KnowtheBible. I'm so looking forward to hearing from you!