Summer Series

Bible 101: Week 2 – Get a Grasp

Bible 101: Week 2 – Get a Grasp

Welcome to week 2 of our 8-week series digging into all the goodness of the Bible. We hope last week was fruitful in learning and practicing the tool of SOAP (scripture, observation, application, and prayer). This week, we will begin our journey of digging deeper into the Bible by looking at five different ways of understanding the Bible better: hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating. For this week- we are going to be focusing on hearing- get those ears perked!

How was last week?

Did you SOAP? Did you try the method of scripture, observation, application and prayer?

If you did, I hope this week has been rich as you have grown in your understanding of the library of Scripture, and practiced a simple tool in learning how to mine the Bible for all its worth. If you weren’t able to try it out, or are just joining us for the #livesaltedsummerseries, make sure you check it out.

The Whole Hand Mentality

While in college, I experienced a rich diversity of communities: I played soccer, was in a sorority {hello, Kappas}, dabbled in theatre, dined with organic farmers, studied music and computer science, and with a desire to grow my in faith {because God was not a major topic of conversation in most of those arenas}, I became involved in the Navigators ministry at Dartmouth. It was my first experience of “church” in the broader sense –> a body of believers meeting together regularly and growing in their love for Jesus and for one another! The fruit of that ministry in my life is incomparable, and I am indebted to the leaders who poured into me and the Bible studies and small groups that taught me what it meant to be accountable, to grow in truth and grace, and to be a light in a dark place.DSC_7178

Do you have a place like that you can turn to? Do you have a group of people who encourage you in your faith to dig deep and seek the life God has created for you? If you do – pour into it! If not, work hard to find one and pray that God provides, because He will. Check with local churches, organizations like Delight or Young Life College, and get plugged in!

Among the many tools I gleaned from Navs, one that really stuck with me was the “Whole Hand Analogy.” This analogy gets at the importance of growing in our faith through the many different methods of engaging with God’s Word: hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating.


***graphic created by Emma Lodahl, inspired by Navs***

Let’s unpack this: 

Real quick, grab your phone or your Bible, and hold it with just your pinky and thumb. Is your grasp secure? Or is it more wobbly? Wobbly, and flimsy, right? Well, the same goes for our understanding of the Word; if we only ever hear the Bible spoken aloud in church and think about it in the hours afterward – we have only employed our pinky {Hear} and our thumb {Meditate}. Let’s do another one…

Try balancing your phone or Bible on your ring finger…. difficult? Again, if we believe we can simply read the Bible but not study it and take into account the culture, original language that has produced various translations, and all that God might illuminate through His Holy Spirit as we meditate on what we’ve read, it is as if we are balancing the Bible on our ring finger {Read}. We need to have a full hand grasp on the Bible, so that we will be ready when our faith is put to test by this unbelieving world!

When we hear the Bible, read it for ourselves, study it, memorize it and meditate on all that we have digested, we will develop a firm hold on the sword of Scripture. If you have never heard it before, God has given us armor for the battle that wages in this world, but only one weapon – the word of God.

“For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

A sword huh? Yes! Let’s get medieval for a moment to dig deeper into that imagery.narniaswords

How have you seen a sword used? Think movies, history class, tv shows. Was the owner of the sword using it with confidence and assurance, with a sturdy grip? Or was it more with timidity and meekness or even fear?

I usually see a sword being used to fight or give a blessing, and I almost always witness it being used by someone with confidence.

In the same way, that is how our Father intends for us to handle His Word – with assurance and knowledge. A firm hold on our sword {the Bible} allows us to fight for our faith and to defend who and what we love. It also allows us to bless others as in knighting an individual and training them up in the fight, even to the point of handing down our sword in an act of raising up a new army.

However, if we have a flimsy hold on our sword, and not a great depth of understanding, it could result in great scars as we slash people with the strong weapon God has entrusted us with.  I know far too many people who have slung a verse that cut deep without first recognizing what they were doing. When we are careless with our words, we can undermine the faith of another and confuse God’s character for a precious son or daughter who perhaps does not yet know who their Father is.

So… let us wield this incredible sword and source of power with delight, and let us learn how to use it with great respect and care for the One whose mouth it proceeded from!

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.  They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.” – Psalm 19:7


Hearing the Word of God

In the coming weeks, we are going to unpack each element on the whole hand analogy. Today we will start with the one we are most accustomed to – hearing the Word.


Those who have ears to hear, let them hear!  -Luke 8:8

In this day and age, there is definitely no shortage of ways we can let the Word of God wash over us. Think about it: podcasts, music albums, Youtube videos, online sermons, even conversations with your friends – the ability to hear the Word of God is everywhere. 


Have you ever intentionally employed your ears as a gateway to your heart and held off the analytical part of your brain?  A mentor of mine says to “be like tofu” and just soak things in.  It can be incredibly powerful, and I encourage you to try it.

Think about this idea with music…

Have you ever been driving along and realized that you were singing along to a song that you never intended to commit to memory, but knew every word to? Those words had been regularly washing over you, working themselves into your mind and heart until they began to emerge out of your mouth without you even thinking about them. Crazy, right? What if we took this same idea, and applied it to God’s Word? What if the words of that song you are now singing every word to were inspired by Scripture, impacting your mind and heart with every play on the radio? It would be transforming! But just as this idea can be used in the positive, it can also be used in the negative. All words have power, make no mistake, so be mindful about what you let wash over yourself. 

  • Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding”Proverbs 2:2
  • “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63
  • “Be washed by the word of God”Ephesians 5:26 {there is something to be said about letting God’s word literally wash over us and cleanse us}

When we let God’s promises wash over us, the impact will be life changing.

Maybe you have found a great church where you are soaking up the word of God. Maybe you have found the one worship album, podcast series, or Youtube channel that you listen to over and over again. Maybe you have a circle of friends that just talk Jesus 24/7. Or, maybe you don’t have any of those things, and are wondering where to go next. Maybe you are wondering where you can find ways to hear the Word of God. A great place to start finding them is on our resource page, but we also encourage you to do your own research and ask around. If you do have some favorite podcasts, sermons, and worship albums, please share them in the comments.

However it is that you get your fill, be like tofu, and marinate.

Memory Verse #2:

Exert yourself to commit our weekly verses to memory- having scripture in your back pocket, AND on your heart, is an incredible way to rely upon Jesus and go to him in every situation. 



***Download your week’s memory verse screen savers here! Iphone Desktop ***

Making Time – it is hard, but so worth it

So…when? When do I find time to do this? To hear the word of God?

I field this question all the time, from middle schoolers to grandmothers – we all wonder how to make time.

You may be thinking to yourself, “um, Emily? You have just proposed a full time job. I do not have time for all this! Last week I could barely handle SOAP and now you want me to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Word! All five of these fingers!? I know what finger I would like to use! It’s too much!”

I agree.

The greatest enemy is not our lack of desire, but rather the strength of desire in the midst of our busyness.

150ba430de638541addf145f5faf2b70Remember how “busy” you were that one time that one guy who made your heart race asked if you were free to get coffee? And suddenly your packed schedule was laid bare and you had the entire day to hang out with him? That day?  Remember it? Yep. The strength of your desire moved an entire schedule around.

I challenge you to pray for a craving for God.

And trust me, the more you spend time with Him, the more time you will want to spend with him. It is just like a best friend, the more time you spend with them and the more you get to understand them, the more time you want to be with them.

Our busyness threatens intimacy with God.


Please hear me when I say that I am not proposing you do all five of these methods every day. That would be so much. What I am proposing is that you look at your schedule and see what you can do to make time for at least one of these each day with the Lord.

Quick story. There was a time when I was super concerned about my son Bennett’s eating habits. One day he would essentially live on air, the next he would only eat quesadillas, and the next he would gorge all day and eat everything from seaweed to steak. I talked to my pediatrician and he encouraged me to think globally. Over the course of the week, is he getting enough nutrients? Are you at least giving him a vitamin everyday? Then he won’t starve himself – don’t worry.

What I am suggesting is that you take stock of your hunger. Don’t starve yourself. Think globally. Over the course of the week, are you taking in enough of Jesus? Enough of the Word?

You may have a couple days a week when you schedule in a glorious coffee date with God and feast. Other days, you may be still chewing on what you learned the day before in the silence before you sleep. One day you may just have Scripture being read in your car or Hillsong playing as you let the words wash over you.

And I’ll say it again, don’t “should” on yourself. It’s sounds crass. It is. Don’t do it.

morningtimejournalGod did not say you “should” be having 30 minute quiet times every morning right when you wake up or you are not a good Christian. That is a lie. Don’t listen to it. 

The invitation from God is to have a heightened awareness of His presence throughout the day! To wake with Him singing over you, to lie down knowing He is comforting you to sleep, to know He is with you every moment in between. He never leaves you.  But a concentrated time with your eyes, ears and heart JUST on Him may take many forms.

For you, your sweet spot may be first thing in the morning! Maybe it is a lingering mid-day lunch. Or perhaps it is the final hour of the day when you shut off your screens and snuggle up to your Bible and journal, allowing God to prepare you for the coming day.

Did you know in Genesis when God was creating the world He said, “it was evening, and it was morning, the first day.” The Jewish calendar in fact begins the day at nightfall. If you are of the “night owl” persuasion, I challenge you to consider “beginning your day” in the evening so that when you rise in the morning, the words that washed over you the night before are fresh in your spirit ready to help you attack the day ahead!

Ask God for desire and obedience.coffeedateGod

Ask God to show you where there is time in your day. Perhaps it’s that moment when you pull into your drive way and no one knows you are home yet; take yourself off autopilot and stay in your car, pull out your journal or your Bible, and spend fifteen minutes in that liminal space where no one knows where you are but Jesus. Show up early to a meeting. Schedule coffee with God and go to a coffee shop with the same intention and excitement you would if you were meeting a friend for 45 minutes. Any time He pops into your mind, trust that is His gentle tap on your shoulder asking you to stop, drop what you are doing and be with Him. It takes effort to obey that subtle interruption, yes, but it is well worth it and His voice will become more recognizable over time as you heed it! 

Challenge #2 : Get it in you. Let it wash over you.

Lets focus this week on marinating in the Word of God through listening. How, you make ask? Here are a few ideas:

  • SEEDS  Family Worship: This is among my favorites. Scripture set to music. I have it playing in the background in my home all the time and my boys now sing along. While I first got it for my kiddos, I have found so much of it has imprinted in me!  PS: If you buy a cd, they give you a second to give away (#saltyourself season the world, am I right?)
  • BibleGateway: Download the app to your phone, and listen to different parts of scripture when you are driving around town. Just like how it is with music, you don’t need to be fully tuned in all the time to let the message and the power of the words sink in. Want a suggestion on where to start? Try Philippians this week on repeat – it is like a big bearhug on paper.


Week Recap

Today we learned about the five ways of engaging the bible so that we might have a firm hold on the sword of Scripture. We talked specifically about hearing and letting God’s word wash over us, and were encouraged to make time each day but to not get overwhelmed to think we have to do it all at once. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the goal is not head knowledge, but intimacy with our loving Father.


Until Next Time

I could not be more excited to be on this journey together! I am praying for you, my friends, daily, and know that your hearts will bloom as you let the Living God infiltrate your lives. Be encouraged! You are so very loved.

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21