Are you longing to approach God’s Word confidently? Do you look up to ladies who seem to have a handle on Scripture and understand what they are reading? Do you find yourself opening the Bible and feeling lost instead? Don’t lose courage.
First of all, let’s not play the comparison game. Galatians 6:4-5 encourages us, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” James 3:16 warns us, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
So check your motivation now, before looking over this list of 10 habits of Scripture confident women. I am not listing these as a comparison tool, to make you jealous or feeling inferior, but rather to build you up and encourage you to take on a new habit.
Gaining Scripture confidence is a process. By developing new habits and learning new study skills over time, you will find yourself digging deeper into God’s Word and coming out more confident than ever.
Before we dive in, I remind you of the FREE guide “10 Steps to Approaching the Bible with Confidence.” This pdf guide will help you in the process towards confidently studying God’s Word. Get your copy today.
The 10 steps of the ebook do not correspond to the 10 habits listed below, though there is some overlap. Take a look at both and comment below, sharing with us your next step towards Scripture confidence.
It is my desire to see you reading your Bible and understanding it. I want to see you equipped to share God’s Word with others, discern right from wrong, and follow hard after God, in accordance with His will laid out in Scripture.
Women, who study the Bible with confidence, do just that. They know they won’t always understand every passage but they are not afraid to delve in. They have a pretty good handle on what God’s Word says and where passages fit in. They have a love for Scripture and can’t get enough, even when time is limited. Here are some habits they have developed that have helped them on their journey.
1. Scripture confident women read the Bible regularly.
It’s true about a lot of things, and it’s true about Bible study. You get better with practice. Regular time in God’s Word means getting to practice regularly. Every day (or 5-6 times a week), you get a chance to go through the process of reading, praying, making observations, interpreting, and applying. You may not do all of these but rather a portion every day.
These are new skills and may take quite some time and effort at first but will become easier over time. I promise! One day, making observations will become second nature. Applications will jump off the page. Until then, focus on enjoying the process and learning Bible study one step at a time.
There is a second benefit to reading the Bible regularly. You cover a lot of ground. The more you read, the more you know. You will start to see connections. You will remember a verse that relates to the passage in front of you. You will begin to see the message of the Bible all throughout Scripture.
Life throws us many curve balls. As Christians, we should contemplate how to handle them in accordance with God’s Word. When we first start approaching Scripture, we may feel lost and unsure where to find answers to life’s problems. But over time, as you read the Bible regularly, you will begin to remember passages that inform your decisions and lead you on a path of righteousness.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” While you can best hide God’s Word in your heart through memorization, I have found that passages I have studied in depth will equally come to mind when I need them, even if I may not remember them word for word. With modern technology, the Bible is usually just a few clicks away. So even if you only vaguely remember something you read in Scripture, you can easily find that passage in a few minutes.
Reading the Bible regularly is a great place to start. But what should you read?
2. Scripture confident women have a plan.
Opening the Bible at random every day may be better than not opening it at all but it’s best to have a plan. You wouldn’t read any other book, letter, or report this way but somehow it has become "a thing" for Bible readers. People thumb through this thick book and pick a page somewhere in the middle and start reading. By doing so, you will land on a random passage every day - likely a psalm or complicated prophecy - without knowing it’s framework, context, or connection to the rest of the Bible. It’s not the best way to go.
If you don’t yet feel like you have a handle on the Bible as a whole, it would be a good idea to choose a “read the Bible in a year” plan or check out the “Scripture Confident through the Bible” series. If you’d like to dig deeper into a certain book of the Bible, consider studying through it with a guide or commentary.
You can make your own reading & study plan or you can choose to follow a Bible study book. The list of available study guides is practically endless. You can find well-done studies on any topic or book of the Bible you want. Check out this list of amazon best-sellers.
3. Scripture confident women consider the context.
A well-done study will encourage you to consider the context of a passage. That means, you determine where in Scripture your passage is found and what happened just before and after your main text. Don’t be fooled by teachers or articles taking verses out of context.
For example, you can’t accomplish whatever you want in the name of Christ but you can be content in Him. (Phillipians 4:13) We are not called to judge but we are certainly encouraged to call each other out on sin issues after dealing with our own. (Matthew 7:1) God did not promise to fill our bank accounts in the future but He did once rescue His nation out of captivity and restored them as a nation. He has also given us all a hope for eternal life in Christ Jesus. (Jeremiah 29:11) If you have always misunderstood these verses, I encourage you to read them in context and gain a whole new understanding.
Do you see the importance of context? Don’t rest on promises that were never made. Rest instead on the truths of God’s Word.
This is also important when you are following a topical study guide that skips around the Bible or any time you encounter a cross-reference. These are often just mentioned as a side note for further insight into the subject. For example, if you are reading Romans 9:10-14, which mentions the birth of Jacob and Esau, a fitting cross-reference would be Genesis 25:14-26, which recounts that birth. However, to fully understand what’s going on in your cross-reference, read it in context (verses 19-34).
Closely related to context, another habit comes in handy.
4. Scripture confident women understand the Bible’s storyline.
Beyond reading the verses surrounding your passage, it’s essential to know where in the whole of the Bible you find yourself as you study. Is a promise made to the Israelites while they are in captivity? Is a rule set up that precedes the redemptive work of Christ? Is God speaking of future events? All of these questions factor into your interpretation of the passage, and thereby your application.
This, of course, goes along with my recommendation to choose a study plan that leads you through the story of the Bible bit by bit and give you a good overview. That’s your foundation. Get the big picture first; then dive into details. Once you understand the Bible’s storyline, you’ll be much better equipped to study an individual book or a topic.
For a quick glance, check out my article “Tracing the Bible’s Storyline through 66 Books.” Don’t miss my suggestions for further resources at the end of that article.
5. Scripture confident women ask good questions.
You’ve heard me mention “observations”. What are those? Here are some examples: “David’s family did not consider him a candidate for a king because he was the youngest, and because he did not have the “royal looks” but rather was working as a shepherd.” (1 Samuel 16) “True faith is obeying God, even in the face of danger or mocking.” (Hebrews 11)
How do you get to these observations? By asking good questions. “Why did David’s family not present him as a candidate for king alongside his brothers?” “What do these stories tell us about true faith?” Think back to your high school days and pull out the W-questions: who, what, when, where, why. They are a great place to start.
Interpretation and application start with good questions as well. You are asking to what a statement is referring, what are someone’s motivations, why is this statement significant. Finally, you ask, “How does all this apply to me today?”
These study skills and others are addressed in further detail in the FREE “10 Steps to Approaching the Bible with Confidence” ebook as well as the “Scripture Confident through the Old Testament” series, so check out these resources if you haven’t yet.
6. Scripture confident women consult outside sources.
Some passages are really hard to understand, even for seasoned readers, so don’t be afraid to get some help. Of course, you may discuss the passage with a study partner or a church leader. You also have the option of consulting outside sources like Bible dictionaries, concordances, and commentaries.
These resources are great when you desire to dig deep, want to double-check your interpretation, or find yourself stuck. Concordances help you find cross-references. Bible dictionaries explain words that may be new to you. Bible commentaries can help you with interpretations and sometimes even applications. For a guide to finding your best-fit commentary, click here.
7. Scripture confident women pray as they read.
While Bible scholars can help, the greatest teacher is God Himself. He is also the reason you are reading the Bible in the first place. It’s not to check something of your list or to impress your friends with your dazzling Bible knowledge. Studying Scripture is about knowing God. How else can you grow closer to Him, rest in Him, and follow His will?
If your focus is on growing closer to God, it’s only natural to pray as you read. In essence, you are talking with God as you interact with His Word. What sort of prayer am I talking about?
- Ask God for understanding of His Word. Your heavenly Father is the greatest Bible expert. So ask Him for help before and as you read.
- Thank Him for this Book that guides and teaches us. Thank Him for His character, which you discover in the Bible. For example, if you are reading a passage on forgiveness, thank Him for His mercy towards you.
- Ask Him to convict you of sin in your life. If you come across a command in Scripture, examine your life and ask God to shine a light on sin that needs correcting. Immediately, ask His forgiveness and help as you seek to follow Him.
Prayer turns your alone-time with the Bible into one-on-one time with God. It keeps you connected to the real purpose of your study. It transformed a task-focused event into a relationship builder.
8. Scripture confident women allow God’s Word to change them.
With the Holy Spirit by your side, through prayer, and our Bible study methods in hand, how can your life not be transformed by the Word of God, right!? Well, your heart needs to be open to be challenged and corrected.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to skip this heart-check, fill your mind with knowledge, and leave your life unchanged. Oh, how you’d miss the point of diving into His Word. Don’t let this become you. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you are following God by reading only.
James 1:22-25 reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Allow the Word of God to be like a mirror. You look at yourself through the eyes of the Scripture and examine if you are indeed following God’s direction. If you find sin in your life, don’t walk away unchanged. Repent and accept God’s immediate forgiveness.
9. Scripture confident women share the Bible with friends.
I am not talking about forcing Scripture down our unbelieving friends’ throat, though it should, of course, be okay to bring up naturally how God is active in your life. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?!
If you are open to your unbelieving friends about God’s presence and blessings upon your life, it should be all the more common to talk with your believing friends about the Lord. Has God been teaching you to trust Him more deeply as you read the story of Joshua? Share it with your friends. Has God convicted you of a sin issue as you study Romans? Tell a friend for accountability. Have you been challenging yourself with asking good questions as you read the Bible but today’s passage stumped you? Ask a friend what they think it means.
The sad truth is that these are not common conversation among believing friends. You may think it’s awkward to bring up the Bible, maybe even conceited. Will your friend think you are showing off the fact that you do, in fact, read the Bible regularly? Will the conversation seem forced? I hope not.
The Bible is the believers’ guide. There should be nothing awkward about Christians talking about it. If this is not a reality in your life, I suggest thinking of one friend with whom you would like to start these conversations. Ask your friend if they would be open to talking through what you both are learning in your time with God’s Word. You may even decide to pick a reading plan or study guide together. For starters, as something stands out to you, God convicts you, or a passage leaves you with questions, share with one another in person, over the phone, or even via text. Life doesn’t always allow daily phone calls but today’s technological world allows us many other options.
Whatever you decide, stay in touch and keep talking about God’s Word.
10. Scripture confident women study Scripture out of joy, not duty.
I hope you are not looking over all these points with a heavy heart, feeling like you just added to your spiritual to-do list. Viewing Bible reading as a duty rather than a joy leaves you weary and burdened. A missed day of devotional time, then leads to false guilt, and a half-hearted attempt at reading leaves you feeling like you missed the point. That’s not what Bible study is all about.
The Bible is the life-giving Word of God. It’s meant to teach and transform us. It’s our source of truth. As a believer, read the Bible as such. Enjoy your time in God’s Word and you will come to crave more.
Learning to dig deeper can be challenging and stretching our comfort zone. Not everything you read in Scripture in warm and fuzzy. However, ultimately you are slowly learning more about God and about how to live a life that honors Him. That should bring you joy!
You should make time in God’s Word a priority while also realizing that life happens. Some days you get distracted or overwhelmed with demands. Some phases of life are less conductive to a regular, disciplined time in God’s Word - life with infants, for example. If you didn’t get to study your Bible today, remember it’s not about checking of a list or getting it done every day. You didn’t get to read today. God is not upset with you. He saw your day. He saw you busy fulfilling your God-given roles. You will read His Word again tomorrow.
Don’t let time in God’s Word become a dreaded duty. Approach the Scriptures with joy, looking forward to reading, digging deep, and allowing it to change your life.
In the comment section below, share with me your own journey towards Scripture confidence. What habits have you already developed? How is God challenging you today? What will be your next step towards Scripture confidence? Do you have any Bible-study related questions I may be able to answer? I’d love to hear from you.