From Checklist to Choice
I’m a woman who thrives on routine. I get a thrill of accomplishment as I forge ahead and get things done.
But when it came to my Bible study, this full-speed-ahead approach lacked emotional/spiritual connection and relegated it to just one more thing I could check off my To-Do list.
So for years now, I’ve transitioned from a checklist mindset to a slower-paced intentional desire to learn about truth and love and the character of God and the righteousness of His word. Each time I reach for my cherished leather-bound book with its well-worn gilded edges, there’s an expectancy of comfort and guidance and knowledge instead of merely another task I felt proud to complete.
What My Mornings Look Like
But before I settle down to read in the mornings, I get my husband off to work with a smile—this is my primary mission, after all. This is real world practice of studying God’s word. But after the kiss goodbye and the wave from the window and before I start managing our homeschool, this is what I do:
I open my Bible and randomly start reading. Not what you expected, huh? But when I use the flip method (sounds so official, I know, but I just made that up), there’s always something useful and fitting I can apply to my life and immediate circumstances—unless I happen to land in the genealogies, then not so much :).
But lately, I’ve gone deeper in study by writing out the Scriptures. I pick whole books like the epistles of Paul and the book of Psalms and transcribe them in a simple, spiral-bound notebook.
When you write out the portion of the Bible you’re studying, you’re forced to slow down, and when you do, you find concepts and insights you would have easily missed if you race over them.
Why I Practice Writing Scripture
Benefits to copying Scripture:
- Muscle memory: From eye to mind to hand, this helps with long-term memory.
- Attention to detail: You discover words you hadn’t noticed before.
- Better understanding: When you speak words slowly in your mind your overall comprehension improves.
And if you can speak the words out loud as you write them, even better. You’re engaging more of your senses to the task at hand.
When writing out Scripture, you might only copy five to ten verses. That might not seem like much compared to other study methods. But those few verses will provide you with more meat than you realize.
As I write out a verse, each word is spoken out loud or in my mind at least twice as I lay it on the page. (I keep correction tape handy because, inevitably, I will make a mistake.)
How I Dig Deeper
I take note of unfamiliar words I can look up in Strong’s concordance to further help me understand what is being said.
“Now . . . may . . .the . . Lord . . . direct . . . your . . . hearts . . . into . . . the . . . love . . . of . . . God . . . and . . . into . . . the . . . patience . . . of . . . Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NKJV)
Hmm. I know direct in this verse means ‘to guide’. It’s not unfamiliar, but let’s look it up, anyway.
Direct: #G2720—to straighten fully; to guide.
Wow! I never thought of it quite like that. My heart gets bent out of shape by worldly distractions and the sins that so easily beset me. God’s desire is to straighten my heart out for me so I can have a closer communion with Him and love others as He would.
Oftentimes, when you read passages quickly, you forget what you’ve read just as quickly. But writing out the Scriptures helps keep the message in your mind longer which helps you mull it over all day long.
I spend more time on fewer passages writing out Scripture, but I gain more substance when I do and the poetic majesty of many verses leaves me in awe as I reread them again and again with a smile thanking God for His life-giving word.
Gleniece Lytle lives in Arizona overlooking a lonesome desert valley. She’s been married for 35 years to her Mighty Man and homeschools the last two of her five children.
She grows herbs, quilts in her spare time (ha! what’s that?), and writes on her blog, Desert Rain, about contentment, loneliness, biblical truth, and godly marriage. She also writes a monthly newsletter called Abide & Blossom to encourage the weary Christian woman to flourish in the droughts of life.