Bible Series Week 6: How to Navigate the Bible as a “Self-Help” Resource

bible self help

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MAKING KNOWLEDGE MORE ACCESSIBLE

My children will never know the sound of a dot matrix printer screeching at all hours of the night. They are unfamiliar with the long line of printer paper that magically folds itself back into place. The straight perforated edges lined with holes that I spent afternoons tearing off of essays written for school.

My generation researched a topic at the school library where we looked in a giant piece of furniture with miniature drawers called a card catalog. Flipping through the alphabet, we’d find the subject and write down the call numbers to locate books on the topic. We’d peruse the shelves full of encyclopedias–the Google of our day.

Computer games were ancient relics like the Oregon Trail where your older sister always died of dysentery. Now my own children play Super Mario Brothers on an app I can download on my iPad in five seconds.

I received a green screen, three-tap cell phone during my freshman year of college. I called my boyfriend after 9:00 when the minutes were “free”.

We’ve come a long way since the “YOU’VE GOT MAIL” days, far surpassing dial-up and increasing our knowledge at the click of a button. A day and age where you can say, “ALEXA” and a computer answers your every question.

MAKING THE BIBLE MORE ACCESSIBLE

But not only have video games and cell phones and the ways we view television improved, but the way we learn about new things has changed. We aren’t simply learning about the rainforest in a book, we’re soaring over it through the lens of a drone and watching time lapse video footage on Planet Earth. We are able to see things and learn in a completely new way.

The same is true for reading the Bible. Most people in church are walking in the building with their Bible on their iPhone. Podcasts, blogs, forums, YouTube videos, online courses and apps help people interact and debate issues in unique and exciting ways. Knowledge has become endless and the way the Bible is studied, organized, and analyzed is more easily accessible than ever before.

In the times of Jesus, manuscripts were passed down from generation to generation. Word of mouth and daily temple visits were how they shared their knowledge of who God was and called them to be.

After Jesus’ ministry, disciples and missionaries traveled the world preaching the new covenant, the New Testament, that the promised Savior had come. That he had redeemed his people through his perfect sacrifice: himself.

As the centuries continue on, we pass on these testimonies, these stories, these prophecies of who God is and the life he calls us to.

There is no better time to be able to access the wealth of information the Bible provides, because there are people who have spent their entire lives and careers on organizing it by topic, order, and themes. Character studies, life lessons, wisdom on living, it’s all there, waiting to be used. Are you ready to start digging?

WE ALL NEED ENCOURAGEMENT

Everyone has their own way to cope with difficult circumstances, and I have a pile of my own, but I want to walk you through the ways that the Bible can be used as an encourager for when life gets hard.

The Bible differs from other “self-help” books in that it is a book where it gives you the tools but doesn’t leave you on your own to figure it out. It’s actually a “spirit-help” book, a resource for living life in surrender and dependance on God’s goodness.

The Bible tells us that we can lean into God and trust him because he is:

bible self help

Take comfort in this. We don’t have to take on the full burden of everything that life throws at us because he wants to help us.

Through my own struggles, I’ve discovered that when my body is failing me, I need to focus on my mind and spirit before I can heal again. Digging into my Bible as a tool for self-help is what gives me encouragement, strength, perseverance and hope. And who really fully heals without some kind of hope?

You’ll never find peace in controlling situations, because life is continually changing. But you can find peace and strength and hope and trust and dependance by surrendering to the one who knows you best.

bible self help

WHERE DO I START?

1. BUILD RELATIONSHIP BY STARTING WITH PRAYER

There’s more than one way to learn to talk to God. Close your eyes and speak from the heart, journal your prayers or use prewritten prayers to make them your own using the Psalms or the Power of a Praying Series.

2. LEARN GOD’S CHARACTER BY READING HIS WORD

Find a Bible you love by reading through my recommendations. Also check out a fantastic book called Jesus Calling, that rewords scripture as a conversation between you and Jesus.

3. FOCUS ON GROWTH BY DIGGING IN DEEP

My favorite way to get help for an issue is to look it up in the back of my Bible and find every verse that relates to it (example: worry, anxiety, fear, trust, hope).

But that’s just the start. Check out the tools below I use to get even more specific (loss of a loved one, divorce, addiction, disease, infertility, etc.)

WHAT TOOLS ARE OUT THERE FOR MY SPECIFIC ISSUE?

1. BIBLE CONCORDANCE

These can be found in the back of some Bibles, but it’s great to have a separate more in-depth one on hand. These books index all the words in the Bible and cross-reference every verse containing them.

2. TOPICAL BIBLE VERSE BOOKS

These are the cutesy, inspirational books that you find waiting in line to fill your prescription at the drug store–but they are a wealth of knowledge! These are similar to a Bible concordance, but they are more specific on emotional issues for women.

3. TOPICAL SCRIPTURE WRITING PLANS

A great way to make a daily habit of getting in the word, these scripture writing plans have a verse a day to write in a journal, grouped by a monthly theme or topic.

4. ONLINE BIBLE STUDIES

Many of these accompany a book you need to purchase, but I’ve found they’re a great starting place on building community. Even if you don’t purchase the book, you can still benefit from the lesson because of the basic overview they provide.

5. CHRISTIAN LIVING BOOKS

For people who don’t have the patience or time for a workbook, there are so many great books that either replace or accompany workbooks to give you the full benefit of the study without all the homework. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed:

6. TOPICAL BIBLE STUDY WORKBOOKS

I personally love the workbook format and prefer it because it allows me to really dig deep and relate the lessons to my current situation. I can stew over answers and make comparisons when I have a place to write them down. These four studies have greatly encouraged me in using my Bible as a self-help guide:

BEFORE YOU GO…

Enjoyed this post on the Bible and Self-Help?

Make sure to go back and catch up on the previous posts in this series before we wrap up at the end of the month.

  1. Choosing a Bible That’s Right For You
  2. Understanding the Basic Timeline of the Old Testament
  3. Navigating the Events of the New Testament 
  4. Five Ways Jesus Practiced Self-Care
  5. Creating a Bible Note-Taking System That Works For You
  6. How to Navigate the Bible as a “Self-Help” Resource
  7. Why Memorizing Scripture Doesn’t Have to be Hard and Why You Need To Do It
  8. Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts and How to Use Them
  9. Designing Your Spiritual Goals

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bible self help

There is hope for you friend. Just the fact that you read through this post means that you aren’t done fighting. This is a season, not a life sentence. You will learn, you will grow, you will flourish.

You’ve got this.