Posted in Faith, Lifestyle

You Can Study The Bible With These 5 Easy and Effective Acronyms

Only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily.

American Bible Society, March 2018

In a recent study performed by the American Bible Society, it was reported that only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily (March 2018).

As a Christian I find this number to be quite alarming. It is apparent that many of us are not reading the word of God as we should, let alone studying it.

Can I be real with you for a moment?

Reading the Bible, let alone studying it, can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you are a new believer or you don’t know how to study.

After all the bible is made of 66 books divided into two sections the Old and New Testament.

The Old Testament consists of books of history, poetry, and prophecy, while the New Testament consists of the Gospels, Letters, and 1 book of prophecy.

Where does one even start? Do you just open the bible and just start reading whatever page you land on? (If you’re a new Christian I recommend starting in the book of John.)

Then you have to decide what version/translation of the bible you want to read: NIV, KJV, ESV, NLT, HSBC…It can all be a bit much.

Once again if you’re a new Christian I would recommend an NIV, NLT, or ESV Bible.

Luckily for us, there are a whole host of Bible apps that you can use for free that will let you read different versions of the bible.

So that part shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

But wait… isn’t it the Pastors job to teach us what’s in the bible on Sunday mornings?

So why do I need to even read or study the bible outside of Sunday morning service?

I’m glad you asked!

3 Reasons Why You Should Study Your Bible

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1. God Commands Us Too

Yes, it is the pastor’s job to share the word of God with the congregation, but it is also the job of the congregation to study the word of God on their own.

In Deuteronomy 11:18-20, ”You shall, therefore, lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”

Note that it doesn’t say the Pastor is to do these things it specifically says, ”you”.

So as you can see we are commanded by God to study his word so that it becomes a part of our hearts and gets ingrained in our souls. That way we can share it with all that we come into contact with.

2. The Word Shows Us How We Should Live

When I was younger our pastors often referred to the Bible as our Basic, Instruction, Before, Leaving, Earth (BIBLE).

The bible has everything that a Christian need to live a life holy and acceptable to God.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 says” All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

The Bible contains information on how we are to handle our finances, our relationships with our children, spouses, and neighbors, what to do when others treat us poorly, etc.

Whatever you need can be found in the word of God.

3. It Will Change Your Life

In my opinion, this is the most important part of why you should study your bible. If you are struggling with sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, reading and studying the word of God will slowly begin to erode all of that stuff away.

Romans 12:2 says,” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The key part of this verse is the renewing of your mind. If we want to see real change in our lives we have to change the way we do things.

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.

When you constantly study the word of God and are in a relationship with Christ it will slowly (and sometimes quickly) change the way you think about and see the world around you.

How can the word of God change you? Simply put the Word of God is not just a book that you read.

It’s not just words on a page that don’t apply to your life and everyday situation.

Hebrew 4:12 states,” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Another interesting finding from the study done by the American Bible Society (March 2018) showed that people who studied their bible regularly:

  • Showed more loving behavior towards others,
  • Were more generous with their time, energy or financial resources,
  • And were more willing to engage in their faith

Reading the Word of God regularly is an important part of our Christian walk with God.

Now that we know why it’s important for us to read and study our bible let’s look at a few helpful acronyms that will help you study.

5 Easy Acronyms That Will Help You Effectively Study The Bible

In general studying, the Bible falls into 3 main categories: topical (word) study, chapter study, and character study.

Topical studies focus on a specific topic or concepts such as love, marriage, parenting, tithing, etc. When doing topical studies it is important for you to study these terms in context.

During a chapter study, you pick a specific chapter in the bible to study. Some popular chapters are Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13, Daniel 3, and Hebrews 11. These chapters can be studied in one setting, but are best studied in small sections or multiple study sessions.

Character studies are some of my favorite studies because I get to learn more about some of my favorite Bible characters like Samson, David, Paul, Esther, Ruth and of course Jesus.

Bible Journaling is an effective way to study the bible no matter what type of study you are doing. You don’t need anything fancy to use as your bible journal.

A simple spiral or composition notebook will work just fine.

Even though all of these methods are slightly different they all have the same basic backbone: choosing a scripture, chapter, topic etc, writing down your observations and some form of personal interpretation.

All 5 of these acronyms have already been covered in great detail by other bloggers.

Instead of rehashing what’s already been done I have provided a brief overview of each acronym and provided the link to the original blog post if you would like more information.

Without further ado here are the 5 easy acronyms that you can use to study the Bible.

1.SOAP

SOAP stands for S-scripture, O-observe, A-application, P- prayer.

I believe the SOAP method is currently the most popular acronym. Whenever I am on pinterest I always see pins for this study method.

2.WORD

WORD stands for W-write, O-observation, R-relevant, D-declare.

The WORD method does not simply end with prayer, but as part of the prayer you declare the applicable parts of the scripture over your life, which I thought was pretty neat.

3.APPLE

APPLE stands for A-attributes of God, P-promises of God, P-principles for life, L- lesson learned, E- example to follow.

The APPLE method is excellent for studying the Psalms. Unlike, the other methods this one has you look for the attributes of God and his promises.

This kind of study can be useful for learning scriptures on healing, finances, God’s provision, or doing a study on the Character of God.

4.REST

REST stands for R-read, E-engage, S-savor, T-Take charge.

The REST method is best for topical bible studies. For example if you wanted to learn about forgiveness, tithing, baptism, love, etc.

This one doesn’t have an observation section, but instead directs you to meditate(S-savor) on the scripture or passage that you’ve read. Once you’ve meditated you write down what you believe God is speaking to you through the scripture (T-Take Charge).

5.SALT(Y)

SALT(Y) stands for S-supplication, A-absorb, L-learn, T- Thanksgiving, Y-you.

This study method begins with prayer (S) and ends with giving God thanks(T). I like that you can add the Y, which causes you to examine how the verse applies to your life.

If you’re crunched for time this bible study would work well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a more in depth bible study.

Final Thoughts

Taking time out of your busy day to read your Bible is an important part of any Christians day. Spending time in the word of God is essential to our growth as Christians and can radically change our lives if we let it.

While studying the Bible can seem intimidating it doesn’t have to be. Using any one of the 5 acronyms above can greatly enhance our time spent studying the bible.

Have you tried any of the acronyms above to study the bible? Maybe I’ve missed one or you know of another method. Please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Lifestyle

How To Crush Your New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is finally here! We’ve made it past New Years Day and we’re ready to start tackling our New Year’s resolutions!

This year will be the year that you’ll finally lose that weight, start that business, finish that degree and spend more time with your family!

Yes, this year will be the year!

And then…it’s March and our resolutions have fallen to the wayside. We’ve slipped back into our old habits for one reason or another. And we’ve resigned ourselves to try again next year.

But what if that doesn’t have to be the case. What if there was a way we could crush every resolution we’ve set this year?! Are you ready to try it?

Alrighty then! Here are 5 tips to help keep those pesky New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Ditch the Resolutions

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In the spirit of being transparent, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. Instead of making a long list of vague resolutions like losing weight, saving money, or getting out of debt my family and I make New Year’s goals instead.

Why is a goal better than a resolution? Goals tend to be more specific, which makes them a little easier to tackle.

When you go to the gym and work with a trainer one of the first questions they ask you is what your fitness goals are: Do you want to lose fat? Build muscle? Or just tone up a little?

Goals give you something to focus on and cause you to think about HOW you’re going to achieve it. For example look at these two statements: I’m going to get out of debt this year (resolution). or I’m going to pay off one credit card this year (goal).

Which one sounds more manageable? The resolution sounds a bit overwhelming, while the goal seems practical and something that can be easily worked towards.

2. Use SMART Goals

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So now that we’ve decided to ditch the resolution and trade them in for goals. I want to show you how to make those goals achievable.

When I was a teacher we were required to create SMART goals for our class assessments.

Before we switched to SMART goals my lessons plans would look something like this:

Objective: By the end of this lesson students will be able to identify the parts of the food web and how energy is transferred between each level.

Goal: Students can identify the parts of the food web and show the flow of energy on the ecology exam.

That sounds like an acceptable goal. What teacher doesn’t want their students to pass their quizzes and test?

Then our school district changed the way they wanted our lesson plans written and introduced us to SMART Goals.

What is a SMART goal and how is it different from a regular goal? Good question!

In order for something to be considered a SMART goal it has to meet the following criteria:

SMART Goals

As you can see, unlike a regular goal, smart goals tend to be very specific. If we go back to my original example:

Goal: Students can identify the parts of the food web and show the flow of energy on the ecology exam.

SMART Goal: Students will be able to identify the parts of the food web and transfer of energy with 90% accuracy on the unit exam. (FYI: these goals were more for the teacher than the students.)

But we’re not here to score well on tests. We’re here to create life goals!

And the process behind SMART goals can be used to achieve those life goals. (And it’s way easier, than those education goals. It took a lot of brain cells to get that right!)

This year I have a few different goals: losing weight, being a more consistent blogger, developing my spiritual relationship with God, and getting out of debt.

I’m sure many of you have at least 1 or 2 of these on your list. I’ll start with the easiest one and probably most common of all new years goals…losing weight!

After 3 kids and transitioning to being a SAHM. It hasn’t been easy to shed those pesky pounds.

2019 Goal # 1– To Lose 20 lbs.

Now let’s turn that into a SMART goal.

SMART Goal– By April 5th, 2019 I will have lost 20 lbs.

Is it truly a SMART Goal? We’ll let’s see..

Is it Specific…Yes,the target weight is 20 lbs.

Is it Measurable..Yes, I can measure how much weight I’m losing per month.

Is it Achievable…Yes, as long as I stick to my diet and exercise plan.

Is it Realistic…Yes, that’s about 6 lbs a month which is a safe and healthy rate of weight loss.

Is it Time-bound…Yes, I have 3 months to complete the goal.

Goal # 2: Get out of Debt

Ok, I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have a lot of student loan and credit card debt that I need to get rid of. And being a SAHM makes this part a little more challenging since I only work once a month.

SMART Goal: Pay an extra $25 towards my credit card with the lowest balance each month.

Is it Specific…Yes- the target is paying down my credit cards by and extra $25.

Is it Measurable…Yes, I can keep track of my balances with my monthly statements.

Is it Achievable…Yes, I can make an extra $25/month .

Is it Realistic…Yes, with the plan being to roll that extra money over into the next card when the other is paid off. (The Debt Snowball Method)

Is it Time-bound…No, I don’t have a specific date for when all of these cards will be paid off, but If I crunched the numbers I could probably come up with an actual date.

I’m not going to bore you with the rest of my goals. I think you get the picture.

SMART goals are a great way to help you break down your new year’s goals and transform them into something that you can manage and succeed at.

3. Don’t Go Overboard

I have A LOT of things I want to accomplish this year. I mentioned a few of my goals earlier, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

I could try to tackle them all this year, but when it comes to setting goals and being able to achieve them more is NOT better.

If I tried to achieve all of the plans that I have running around in this little head of mine I probably wouldn’t achieve any of them.

So my advice to you is to pick your top 3-5 goals and focus on those.

However, don’t toss out your long list. Many of us have goals that can be considered short-term and long-term goals.

A short-term goal is anything that can be completed in 1-4 months, while a long-term goal is anything that is going to take 5 months or longer to complete.

Yes, yes. I know this is not the technical wisdom on short and long-term goals, but we’re talking about stuff you can realistically complete in a year. It’s relative.

So if you finish one of your short-term goals early, then you can always add another one to the list.

4. Visualize

There is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your to-do list. In order to crush your goals this year, you need to have a place in your home where you can see them daily.

You can dedicate a whole wall in your house to your goals or you can just write it on a sheet of paper and tape it to the bathroom mirror.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can see it. And when you complete a goal celebrate it! Throw yourself a mini-party.

And keep the completed goal on the board. So on those days when you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything you can look back at your paper and remind yourself that you finished one goal and you can knock out another one.

5. Breathe

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My final tip for you today is to remember to breathe and relax. Goals are just what they are goals. Something that you are trying to reach for.

It’s awesome if you complete the goal. But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

If I don’t lose 20 lbs by April 5th, but I’ve lost something or I went down a dress size. Then that’s still a success in my book.

If I can only manage to pay an extra $5 a month towards my credit cards, at least I’ve still taken a step to getting out of debt.

When your goals become a source of sadness and frustration they are no longer goals but have become unnecessary weights.

At that point it’s time to take a deep breath and re-evaluate your goals.

Maybe it wasn’t realistic or maybe the time to complete it wasn’t long enough. Or maybe life just happened.

But that’s the good thing about goals. You can always re-evaluate and start reaching for them all over again. Just don’t stop reaching for them and I’m sure you’ll succeed.

I hope that you crush each and every goal that you set this year.

If you’re excited about the New Year and all that you have planned leave me a “Yes!” in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro