I recently returned home from participating in a three-day filming event for bloggers. It was a tremendous honor to be invited yet as the event grew near, I started to feel insecure.
Knowing the other bloggers who would be there, I felt super inferior. I wasn’t on par with these other bloggers. They were articulate, classy, and put together. I was awkward and rough around the edges. I worried about how I’d handle being on camera, if I’d say something stupid or be a big let down to the host. The anxiety and insecurity I felt began to overwhelm me.
I’ve lived long enough to know these sorts of feelings and angst become self-fulfilling prophecies so I knew I had to do something… and fast!
At the core of this issue is a preoccupation with self so the answer isn’t in focusing more on my good attributes but rather focusing on something (Someone) different altogether. So I found a few scriptures that took the pressure and focus off ME and put my focus on the Lord and His promises to me.
One of those scriptures was Psalm 34:5 so today I thought to briefly share how I used this verse to suit up with Truth. Hopefully this may help you know how to marinate in scripture as well, especially for those times you need the extra support.
And in case you’re wondering, verse mapping is a practical Bible study method that helps Christians of all levels understand and clarify God’s Word. By using this system, you’ll dissect verses and passages of Scripture. In return, you’ll experience deeper understanding of the character and heart of God. Let’s get started!
Start by Gathering Supplies
Look around your home for supplies you already have on hand and keep them in one place for easy access.
- A Bible (if you have more than one version, get that one, too). I personally love this one!
- Paper or journal
- Colored pencils, pens and/or highlighters
- A computer or device
- A Dictionary or Thesaurus
Choose a verse
Before hunting for the perfect verse to map; pray! Ask the Lord to reveal what He wants you to learn and to guide you to the verse you need to grow in faith. Pray that your eyes and heart will be opened as you listen for His voice during this devotional time.
Then, consider the following guidelines for choosing a verse:
- Favorite verse or verses you repeat often
- A topic you are interested in (hope, peace, strength, etc…)
- A verse in your current Bible study that has personal meaning
- A verse that confuses you and you need help deciphering
- A verse you’d like to learn more about
Write and say the verse
On a blank, unlined page, write the verse you chose. You can either write it at the top of the page for easy reference or in the middle of the page to keep it a central focus. Once it’s written, read it aloud to yourself by emphasizing different words. Also insert your name into the verse to make it more personal.
For a decorative touch, add a border or frame using colored pencils or pens. Just as in Bible journaling, don’t get too caught up in making it fancy or perfect. Focus on the Scripture taking root in your heart and listening to the Lord, instead.
Highlight or circle words you want to clarify
Once your verse is written, circle or highlight a word(s) in the verse that you want to research more. Using your dictionary or Dictionary.com, look up the words you circled. This will help you clarify and understand the meaning of the researched words. Look up synonyms on Thesaurus.com and watch verse take on a new meaning. Record your findings on your mapping page.
Look at the verses in the context
Read and record the verses before and after your verse to help you grow in knowledge. Those verses may reveal new insight into Scripture or greater understanding of the character of God. This will help you not take the verse at “face value” or out of context in a way that God never intended.
Look at another version
While it’s easy to get attached to our own Bible and the version we know, it’s beautiful to look up the verses in another version, too. The use of different words and phrases can enrich our understanding of God’s message and add new insight to our Bible study.
If you don’t have another version, use BibleGateway.com to look up the verse and note the similarities and differences between the two on your mapping.
Personalize the verse and Ask how you can apply it to your life
As you studied, did you see this Scripture with fresh eyes and in ways you never understood before? Ask yourself what God is trying to teach you and how you can apply the meaning to your life. Record your lessons around the original verse as stones of remembrance for the future.
The Bible study method of verse mapping is a beautiful way to deepen your walk with the Lord and unpack His promises. It’s also a practical way to record the lessons and insights God gave you through the His precious word. Through this method, you will gain an enriched view of the character of God and a deeper foundation of faith!
For me, my map took about an hour to do and with great return: I was ready for those three days! There is no “right” way to verse map but below is a photo of my end result, just to give you an idea of what it looked like.
How about you? Do you want to dig deeper into God’s Word? Do you want a purpose and structure to your quiet time; even as a Bible study novice?
Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be intimating! Verse mapping can make the Scriptures come alive and deepen your relationship with God.
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