Sitting down with God truly does not require anything more than your Bible and an open heart. After all, James 4:8 tells us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. It doesn’t say He will draw near to us if we have all of the right tools. But over the years, I have found a few things that really help me dig deeper and enrich my time with God, and I want to share them with you.
1—“What the Bible is all about.” Understanding the Bible can be intimidating. Don’t get discouraged! I can read a book of the Bible over and over again and learn something new each time. I actually think God wants it this way. He keeps it fresh for us so we keep coming back for more! One of my favorite resources is What the Bible is all About by Henrietta Mears. It’s an oldie but a goodie (written almost 70 years ago!). I bought mine on Amazon a few years ago for $1.99. I’m not sure there are any “original used” editions left, but you can still get a revised version on Amazon. When I'm reading a verse or before I read an entire book of the Bible, I use this book to gain a better understanding of the entire story. I like what Henrietta says in the Forward section, “You would never pick up a novel and start in the middle of it.” It’s also a great book if you are new to reading the Bible . . . it’s so easy to understand! You can find it here.
2—Blue Letter Bible APP. Another favorite is an APP called Blue Letter Bible (it’s even free!). You can search it in the APP store under BLB. It’s similar to YouVersion (which I also love for their reading plans), but this has great commentaries, advanced word searches, and even Greek and Hebrew meanings.
3—My favorite gel highlighters. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I “retired” my old Bible. It was a tough decision because I loved landing on a highlighted verse, knowing that God had previously revealed something to me there. And the anticipation to re-read it made me a little giddy inside. But, it was missing a space for journaling. As my time with God has grown over the years, so has my need for more space. With that said, I bought the new She Reads Truth Bible and am loving it. But, it’s in need of a lot of love and highlighting! I also miss Jesus’s words in red, so I’ve been highlighting all of them in pink (hello #pinkletterSundays!), as I come upon them, which has been rewarding. So I use a pink highlighter for His words and a yellow highlighter for verses where God reveals something big to me. And when I’m reading Scripture at church or in my Bible study, I circle the beginning of verses with a pen. You can find my favorites over on Amazon here and here.
4—The Anchored Press Quiet Time Journal. This journal is intended to be your companion to your Bible and your Anchored Press Devotional Planner or whichever tool you are currently using in your quiet time. It is designed as a two-page spread that includes a place to note: the date, Scripture you are studying, what you heard, questions you have, your take away verse, how to apply what God has told you to your life and a spot to write out a prayer. It’s packed with goodness! I designed it because I hadn’t been able to find a journal that flowed and truly captured all that God was telling me. You can find the journal here.
I pray these tools enrich your time in God’s Word, like they do mine, confident that as you “draw close to God, He draws close to you,” in ways you’ve never ever experienced before!
"DRAW NEAR TO ME GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NEAR TO YOU . . . "
JAMES 4:8A ESV