Recently quite a few people have asked me how I break down scripture that is over my head. Usually, inside, I’m like “Um...? Well, you see...what I do is...Um...uh..” and I fumble around until I manage to put together a sentence that makes sense. I don’t like that answer. I feel like God has gifted me with interpreting His word in a way that makes sense to me, grabs my attention, and when I obey it...makes my life way way happier. So here’s what I do.
Break It Down
My favorite passage right now is Psalm 91 so I’ll use that as a reference. This passage is written during a time of war, with a major theme of battle and warfare and fighting and fear. There are 16 verses in this passage and I start by reading the entire thing and then splitting it up into 4 verses per week. This turns my quiet time into a month long session. If you’re reading something short, lets say 8 verses...divide that into a 2 week study. Seventy-five verses? I would make that a 2 month study and focus on 9 verses at a time. This allows you to learn smaller increments of information and really soak up/get comfortable with what you’re reading. If you’re someone who reads the Bible everyday, re-read your portion every day until it’s time to move on to week 2.
Look It Up
“Surely he will save you form the fowler’s snare and from the perilous pestilence.”....that’s the third scripture of Psalm 91....first off, what’s a fowler? And what is pestilence? (Don’t hate! I’m already bad with words and I confuse the meanings of them very easily.) In the past, I would be done with this passage by now. Verse three! I would have moved on and never looked back assuming that it wasn’t meant for me because it “confused me”. Okay Nia, way to put forth effort!!
So, for those of you who are curious.....FOWLER: noun; a hunter of birds and PESTILENCE: noun; a deadly or virulent epidemic disease. So this scripture is talking bout God saving the author from a hunter’s snare (therefore saving them from a trap) and from a deadly disease.
I believe that when I read scripture, there is always a chance for me to learn something. So in this case, I knew I needed to identify the trap first. For me, someone who has been betrayed, lied to...I was struggling in real life with fear of a failure and like no matter what I tried...it wouldn’t be enough. (Which is true, WE are not enough.) This wasn’t a surprise to me. So I continued through this study, reading each promise from God with that in mind...each command with that in mind.
Put It Together
Now, I have something BIGGER to ponder. I’ve identified the trap and that becomes my focus throughout the first week of this study. So, I read all 4 verses again with this theme in mind. I look up sub words to see if they have alternative meanings that will add to my study and I pray for God to show me something through these scriptures! I figured out verse three and now when I’m re-reading verse one “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”...I’m realizing that this isn’t a picture of the author napping under a tree as he watches the sheep...it’s a promise...when you’re struggling to escape the trap of whatever is tempting you, haunting you, hurting you...go to HIM, not Netflix, not your fiends, not your husband...HIM...and you’ll not only BE safe, you’ll FEEl safe. Rest...that’s not something we have unless we’re physically doing it...feeling it...sleeping, laying down, stretching, etc.
Live It Out
Y'all...my mind was blown. EVERY SINGLE VERSE became a physical, emotional, spiritual promise to me. I read every word as if God had personally written me a note and told me exactly what to do, what to pray, and what to believe if I truly wanted to be free from the trap. And I did want to be free, I do!!
I re-read this passage OFTEN and I share it with every single woman who comes to me with a marital battle. And through this I have seen freedom from bondage of fear that I never thought was possible. I truly thought “well, this is just my life now. These are my new fears and my new struggles. I guess they’ll be here forever and I’ll just keep going through the motions ...fake it 'til you make it style.” If I hadn’t taken the time to look up the meanings of those words in verse 3, I would have missed the greatest lesson God has taught me in my entire life to date. The war written about in Psalm 91 has always been an analogy of the war of marriage for me, but it could be about anything you’re battling...self doubt, an eating disorder, kids who are out of control, addiction....It IS a battle, but He gives us tools, promises, and commands to FIGHT it and be victorious!
Thanks for making it this far, I truly hope that even one of you is able to take this simple practice and get to know God’s word on a deeper level than you’re used to. It’s changed my life.