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What if I don’t enjoy studying the Bible?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #3

Ever been in a place where you don’t have a desire to study the Bible? If this is you, you are NOT alone. This is a common struggle every Christian has dealt with. In this quick 15 minute episode, Chris and I share a few reasons WHY this might be the case, as well as several practical steps to take in order move forward!

What if I don’t enjoy studying the Bible?

There are many potential reasons for why we may not enjoy reading the Bible, but here are three of the most common reasons why many find it hard to open the Word.

  • Running and hiding – All too often, our response to our failures is to run away from God. Instead of experiencing the mercy of God by drawing near to the throne of grace, we believe the lie that it would be better to hide our sin and keep our distance.
  • Spiritual pride – Some get to the point where they feel they’ve read it all and have answered all the big questions they’ve had about the Bible. The felt need for learning more and knowing God better has diminished.
  • Comparison to a past spiritual high – Sometimes we open our Bible and we feel God speaking in incredible ways. This often happens when we first come to Christ, or while attending a conference or retreat. It is exciting to feel the sudden stirrings of a truth that changes everything for us, or a much-needed comfort of a promise delivered during a time of need. But these “feel-good” moments do not occur every time we approach Scripture, and it is easy to get stuck feeling like time in the Word is not worth it if we don’t immediately feel something.

So, we’ve all been there. Now what? Here are 6 actions to take if you find yourself lacking a desire for Scripture.

  • Be encouraged! The fact that this lack of desire bothers you is a good sign. God is working in you!
  • Pray. It is God’s will for you to be in the Word. If you ask Him to grant your heart a longing for time in the Bible, He will answer that prayer because that request is in line with God’s will.
  • Act in faith, not on your feelings. Feelings are deceptive and poor guides. Move ahead in obedience, with the expectant faith that God will answer your prayer to stir up a passion for His Word.
  • Quit comparing. In the age of Pinterest, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling that our time in the Word needs to look like so-and-so’s. Though it can be helpful to see how others spend their time in the Bible, we must not give into trying to one-up what everyone else is doing.
  • Manage your expectations. We must let go of the thought that our “quiet times” must be a certain length, depth, and with a particular ambience to be worthwhile. Have 1 minute? Take it. Not exactly sure what to study? Start somewhere. Have no idea what you just read? Trust that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to what you need to see, when you need to see it. His Word does not return void. Any time in the Bible is good.
  • Remember. Recall what is true about God and who you are because of Christ. God is not going to reject you because you don’t always want to open your Bible. His acceptance of you is not dependent on your actions. Preach the gospel to your heart and remember that you are loved unconditionally.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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How do I know when to take the Bible literally?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #2

Have you read a verse and not been sure how to take it? Every wonder of something you are studying should be taken figuratively or literally? Some passages are pretty clear. Others are not. Listen in to this 15 minute episode for a few tips to help you move toward a better interpretation (and thus, application) of these tricky passages.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO TAKE THE BIBLE LITERALLY?

  • Keep in mind the genre (type of writing) and the context. This goes back to our three “A”s.
    • Author: Who is writing?
    • Audience: Who are they writing to?
    • Aim: Why are they writing it?
  • When reading prophetic Scripture, know that there are Godly, educated, (way) wise(er than us) scholars who differ on their interpretations … so if you are unsure if a certain passage is literally or figuratively speaking of what is to come, you are probably not going to be able to figure it out either.
  • When it comes to moral issues and daily practice issues, cultural and contextual clues must be considered.
  • When you encounter a teaching that is also taught frequently and clearly in other places in Scripture, then we can apply the Bible literally to our lives.
  • If something is taught sparingly and is unclear, we ought to look at the PRINCIPLE behind the command, instead of the SPECIFICS of the actions.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

  • Go to your pastor (or small group leader) if you have questions. He will LOVE it!
  • Bible Study Hub online study group

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

  • Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary – If you do think something is figurative instead of literal, this resource will help you see the meaning of the words through the eyes of the original audience by spelling out the cultural significance.
  • A solid study Bible will also help with some of these tricky passages. Our favs are:

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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What do I need to know about the book of Psalms?

 

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #1 (Season 3)

We’re so excited to kick off Season 3 of the FOCUSed15 Podcast! We started off with diving into the book of Psalms, with another What do I need to know about … episode. Here’s what we packed into this 15 minute episode. Obviously, we couldn’t hit on the depth and width of this great song book, but here is our attempt at pointing out some of the highlights! I hope you’ll listen in.

DID YOU KNOW? Many of us are going to be reading through the Psalter together in 31 days, so we thought this would be great timing. (It’s not too late to sign up. Get your free reading plan and catch all the details of the group here.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PSALMS:

  • The correct way to refer to the Book of Psalms is plural, whereas individual Psalms are to be stated as singular (ie, Psalm 1 NOT Psalms 1).
  • AUTHOR: Many authors.
    • David (73 named in title. New Testament gives credit for 2 more),
    • Asaph (12)
    • Sons of Korah (11)
    • Then many miscellaneSolomon (1), Moses (1), Ethan (1), Heman the Ezrahite (1)
  • The Psalms are arranged into 5 books, which many scholars believe correspond to the 5 books of the Law.
    • Book 1: 1-41
    • Book 2: 42-72
    • Book 3: 73-89
    • Book 4: 90-106
    • Book 5: 107-150
  • AUDIENCE/AIM: This was compiled as a song book for the Hebrew people.
  • There are many different styles of Psalms within the book:
    • Hymns of praise
    • Songs of thanksgiving
    • Lament
    • Historical
    • Songs for a specific event (Example: Psalms of Ascent)
    • Prophetic
    • Praise of God’s Law
  • Interpretation notes:
    • Keep in mind progressive revelation. It’s important to remember that God reveals Himself to us over time. There are things that we now know about God and His plan that the Old Testament people (Moses, David, the Israelites, etc.) did not know or understand.
    • Just because something is in the Bible (like the cursing of enemies in the Psalms) doesn’t mean God is condoning that behavior.
    • The Psalms are part of the Wisdom Literature group of books. It’s poetry that was set to music.
  • The dominant theme throughout the Psalms = the Character of God.
    • His goodness in creation
    • His ability to save
    • God’s willingness to hear our prayers and deal with our emotions
    • He is worthy of our worship
    • He is holy
    • His Word is good and for our good

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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What do I need to know about Acts?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #15 (Season 2)

I love the book of Acts. It is filled with rich and important history and truth applicable to our everyday experience of Christ. Where the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were the story of Christ’s ministry on earth, Acts is the sequel to the continuing work of Christ on the earth, through His people. In today’s quick, 15 minute episode, Chris and I talk about what you need to know about the book of Acts.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • The author, audience, and aim of the book of Acts
  • How the author Luke was connected to Christ and as well as to Paul
  • The flow of the book – the timeline of accounts starting with the ascension of Christ and ending with Paul waiting to see his fate
  • The answer to the question of how far we should model our lives and churches after the early church
  • The big difference between what the Bible describes versus what it prescribes

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF ACTS:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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How can I keep from taking a verse out of context?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #14 (Season 2)

None of us tries to do take a verse out of context, yet we all inevitably do. We might read into a verse something that it wasn’t intended to speak into. Other times we miss important key truths the original author meant to be understood from his words. We forget to keep in mind the reason the words were penned in the first place. There is much that goes into a careful interpretation of Scripture, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Listen in for a few quick tips for keeping the context in view when you read and study any verse of the Bible.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • Why we need to keep the context of each book of the Bible in mind when we study a verse.
  • A real-life example of why context is important for interpreting the meaning of words.
  • Several helpful tips for figuring out the context of each book of the Bible.
  • A quick and easy context “hack” to begin to understand the context of a verse when you’re looking up a verse in the middle of a book of the Bible.
  • Importance of keeping all verses not only within the context of the book, but also within the whole counsel of Scripture.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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How many verses should I study at one time?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #13 (Season 2)

We’ve covered consistency, translationstime, commentaries, and more. Today let’s chat volume. Have you wondered how many verses you should study at one time? Is just one enough? Or should it be 10 verses a day? One chapter at a time? Join Chris and I as we talk about how to figure out the appropriate amount of verses to study, depending on your goals.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • 3 key things to consider when choosing verses to study
  • The different genres of writing found in the Bible
  • Katie and Chris’ new studies they are working on
  • Finding natural divisions within the text
  • Looking at passages from a “Bird’s Eye View” vs. a “Bug’s Life View”
  • Using the FOCUSed15 Method as an approach to slow down and enjoy the verses
  • The different layers to pull back when examining Scripture

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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What do I need to know about the Gospel of John?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #12 (Season 2)

We come to our last gospel episode. We hit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and now it’s John’s turn. We hope you’ve found these quick episodes an informative and helpful starting point to your study of a book of a Bible. Listen in to this quick 15 minute episode to learn what is unique about the book of John.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • Chris’ new title!
  • The author, John, and how he was in the inner core of Jesus’ disciples
  • Katie’s past confusion of all the different Johns
  • Who John’s audience was and when this gospel was written
  • The aim behind John’s writings
  • What makes the Gospel of John unique compared to the other 3 gospels
  • The 7 “I am” statements of Jesus

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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Should I be using commentaries?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #11 (Season 2)

Today we’re discussing commentaries! Chances are, you probably teeter between one of two extremes when it comes to using one. Some check the commentaries and study notes in their Bible right away. Some never use them at all. In this practical 15 minute episode my husband Chris and I chat about the helpful ways commentaries can be used to enhance and guide our interpretation of Scripture. I hope you’ll listen in!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • What a commentary is and how it can be used during your Bible study time
  • The appropriate time to use one when you study
  • The influence the worldview will have on the writer of a commentary
  • The nature of the different commentaries
  • The distinction between a Study Bible and a commentary
  • Practical tips to help find a commentary that will work for you

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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What’s the big picture of Scripture?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #10 (Season 2)

I spent a lot of time reading and studying the Bible as if it were only a collection of random stories about God and how I am to live, instead of seeing it as one big beautiful masterpiece. But that is just what God’s Word is. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Bible study, it is important to understand the big-picture themes of Scripture. In today’s 15 minute episode, Chris and I chat about the major movements of the Bible and how each should shape the way you approach Bible study.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • How every book and verse serve a purpose to point to the same thing
  • The cohesive, consistent storyline throughout the Bible
  • The 4 different components present throughout all of Scripture –  Creation, The Fall, Reconciliation, Consummation
  • How God’s Word is a tapestry of threads that connect to tell the story of God’s love

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

  • Welcome to the Story – a quick read giving a great overview of the narrative of the Bible.
  • Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin – another quick read all around helpful resources for Bible study. Includes a chapter on the big-picture themes of the Bible.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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What do I need to know about the Gospel of Luke?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #9 (Season 2)

There are loads of gems in this 15 minute episode! Chris and I continue on in our What do I need to know about … episodes. We’ve covered Matthew and Mark so far. Now it’s Luke’s turn. Listen in to hear a few important things you need to know before you start studying the gospel of Luke.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • Who the author of the Gospel of Luke is – his occupation, and where he was from
  • Who his audience is and the reason he is writing
  • How this book fits in with the other gospels
  • When it was written and how that fits in with history
  • How Luke was connected to the Apostle Paul
  • The importance his writings had on the early church and how it fueled their faith
  • The significance of Luke’s profession and his name being associated with these accounts

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.