"Study your Bible with a pen in your hand." A wise silver haired man repeatedly encouraged this practice. It is probably safe to say that no other particular endeavor (there are others) has helped me more in regards to growing in the understanding and appreciation of Scripture.
This effort compels one to interact with the text slowly, meditate upon it, and solidify thoughts upon paper. Otherwise such thoughts would no doubt fade away into the fog of forgetfulness. There is something about the exercise of writing that helps embed the meaning of the text deeper into the soil of our hearts and minds.
Sure other methods are beneficial as well, such as hearing Scripture taught by a solid teacher, memorization, listening to Scripture (audio book - or listening to someone read it), praying, engaging with commentaries, and more. Yet again I contend that the pen and the Scriptures have a profound relationship. The two companions are ancient and prolific.
Too often we read Scripture fast, as we would a novel, or the news paper. Yet this book is intensely different. To wade slowly through these waters is to gather diamonds and gold, which would be missed if one preferred to speed by in a boat.
If well used, journaling Bibles can become a blessed map to the vast landscape of Scripture. To journal through an entire book of the Bible is to emerge on the other side with a deeper and more substantial understanding of that particular book. To do so in more than one book at a time (especially in both the Old Testament and the New) often results in finding beautiful connections which would have otherwise passed unnoticed.
I've been on this journey for many years now, slowly wading through glory. Praise be to the King for this specific grace.
- Psalm 40:3a (ESV) God is the author, of this song of praise to God.
Delight in God always originates in God.
The praise of God flows out from God, and back to Him. It is His purpose in salvation:
"For my name's sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off." - Isaiah 48:9 "Sing to him a new song..." Psalm 33:3a "Sing to God, sing praises to his name..." Psalm 68:4a
See also: Psalm 9:11, 22:23, 30:4, 47:6, 95:2, 96:1, 98:1, 98:4, 98:5, 100:4, 105:2, 106:1, 111:1, 112:1, 113:1. 117:1, 135:1, 146:1, 147:1, 149:1, and more. All Scripture is inspired by God. Therefore the praise of God, is planned and purposed, arranged and designed, by him and for Him. Because nothing else will satisfy our hearts. He made us that way.
Whether conscious or subconscious, we live in the midst of this well established lie. We breathe in the air of this idea so often that we cannot comprehend the desperation of our situation; we walk every day, blind to the depth of our own ignorance. The antidote may be found in the humble confession of and repentance for our foolishness, and in the beginning of a new journey onto a new path; purposeful lifelong learning. Relentless are the portions of Scripture which teach about wisdom, and the pursuit thereof. Eternity may in fact be forever learning about and increasing in knowledge of the Almighty, that we might evermore experience new reasons to praise him.
The beginning of wisdom of this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. - Proverbs 4:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. - Proverbs 9:10