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There are two needed ways to study the Bible, and it’s important for us to engage in both types of study.

  1. The Bird’s Eye View – This is where we get a quick yet needed lay of the land. This “arial” view grants us the big picture of the Bible. The goal here to enjoy the book as a whole. It is NOT time to glean everything out of it that we can.
  2. The Bug’s Life – This is where we can dig in and dissect the parts, notice the details, and begin to process what it all means.

Reading plans are designed to provide us with The Bird’s Eye View. Both perspectives are needed over time, but it is important that we keep the goal of each in mind.

Many of you are already a part of the online Bible study group for women, a private group for those wanting extra accountability and encouragement to get (and STAY!) in the Word on a regular basis. I’ve been mapping out opportunities for BOTH of these ways to study the Bible. As one who tends towards The Bug’s Life, I’ve really enjoyed the addition of these smaller Bird’s Eye View reading plans to my study time.

Ephesians Reading Plan

I’m excited for this new study tool! The 12 Days in Ephesians reading plan is simple, flexible, and geared toward helping us get a quick overview study of the book of Ephesians.

This reading plan is part of a bundle of reading plans, all which are laid out on a printable bookmark for easy reference.

ephesians reading plan

Have you studied Ephesians before? What do you enjoy the most, The Bug’s Life or The Bird’s Eye view? Share with us in the comments!

 

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:

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Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. — Psalm 119:18

I’m gearing up for an overview study of Psalms, which will be the beginning of an in-depth study of several individual Psalms. Whenever I get ready to study a passage in depth, I always zoom out and start at the “bird’s-eye-view” first.

Typically, I’ll listen to sermons from teachers I trust (DesiringGod.org, The Village Church Resources, and Radical.net are my go-to’s.) and also purchase a few books and commentaries. Sometimes I’ll listen and read before I start any sort of study, just to prime the pump for the big-picture themes to look out for, but I try not to get too in-depth before I study for myself. I’ll also listen and read as I go, using the commentaries when I hit sticky passages that I’m not sure of their meaning.

When God opens your eyes you’re going to see things you never saw before, you’re going to hear things you never heard before, you’re going to know things you never knew before because God the Holy Spirit is going to teach you. — Adrian Rogers

What do I need to start studying the Psalms?

First off, start with prayer. Whether you have a Ph.D. or haven’t set foot in a seminary class, the most important action to take when we approach Scripture is to pray. Every time we open God’s Word, we ought to declare our need for the Spirit of God to open our eyes to the meaning, it’s implications to our lives, as well as our desperate need for grace.

Beyond the spiritual preparation, there is much we can do to arm ourselves with a few tools to help with the journey. Here are some resources I’m investing in (or already have) that you might be interested in as well.

Helpful guides for a study of the Psalms

Helpful resources for praying the Psalms

Here are a few resources for praying through the Psalms.

How do you prepare to study? Have any resources to add to the list?

“I rejoice at every effort to see the big picture of the Bible. The whole story. The narrative from creation to consummation. The clearer the whole, the clearer the parts. And the more clearly we see the parts, the more accurately we will construe the whole.”  — John Piper

There are two needed viewpoints when it comes to Bible study. The one I most often talk about and love to teach people how to use is what I liken to Disney’s A Bug’s Life movie. Seeing the world at that zoomed-in perspective allows us to see details that cannot be enjoyed at a normal vantage point.

However, there is another important perspective we can use to study I like to refer to as the “bird’s-eye-view.” If you’ve flown on a plane and enjoyed a window seat, you know a new appreciation and knowledge of a city can be gained by viewing it at that altitude. You can see the structure and order (or lack of order) in the way the roads are situated, and how the city moves along the river, mountain, and/or other prominent features.

As I get ready to approach the Psalter once again—in view of diving deeper into a select few—I want to be able to see the collection of Psalms as a whole. In general, this is a great practice to incorporate into preparation for any deep study, especially if you are not super-familiar with the big picture of that portion of Scripture. Even if it is familiar territory, there is typically more to see and enjoy on every subsequent trip through the Bible. I brainstormed several options for this bird’s-eye journey through Psalms. These can also be used for another other large portion of Scripture.

How do I study a large passage of Scripture?

Here are five ways to approach a large section of the Bible. Any one of these would be great way to get an overview of a book of the Bible. You might start with the Psalms, Acts, any of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), for a new perspective on more familiar territory, or give yourself a challenge and use this through one of the major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), Revelation, or Old Testament Narratives (Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, Judges, etc.).

  1. Read and Underline – Grab a reading plan and a pen or Bible highlighter, and just mark anything that stands out to you.
  2. Read and Write – This is a great way to slow down and enjoy each word. If you don’t have time to write out the entire passage you plan to read, just pick out one or two verses from the day’s passage and write them out in your journal.
  3. Read and Pray – Turn the words on the page into a prayer as you read. When you come across a truth about God, praise Him for who He is. If you find a command, proclaim a resolve to follow it and invite the Holy Spirit to enable you to obey. When the author records his own prayer or godly desires, agree with it in your heart, or consider writing it out in your own words as a cry of your own soul.
  4. Read and Observe – This is a deeper option, and will take a bit more time. As you read each chapter, wear one pair of “glasses” to help you begin to observe that one topic. Choose one color of pen to represent each layer, or create a simple chart in your journal to record what you find. Here are a few great layers to look for:
    1. Character of God – Who is God? What does He do?
    2. Covenant promises – What about God and the good news of the gospel can I cling to?
    3. Commands to keep – Are there any attitudes and/or actions to adopt and/or avoid?
  5. Read and Memorize – The memorization part will most likely carry on for much longer than the period of time in takes you to read through the passage. However, memorizing key portions of a book of the Bible can really unlock the meaning of the rest of the book. For example, I memorized Romans 8 several years back and anytime I read or study parts of Romans, I tend to see the important connections to the truths expounded on in chapter 8.

Consider trying one (or all) of these out on a smaller book of the Bible first. This will give you a better idea for how long it will take you to get through a larger book, as well as let you see which is most enjoyable to you. We all learn differently. Find what works for you. Tweak it. Make it your own.

Let me know how it goes!

Have you studying an entire book at one time? If not, which would you like to? If you have studied a book like this, which one did you go through? How long did it take? What was your experience like?