Tools for Bible Study
by Vanessa Bonilla
One of my past New Year’s resolutions was to study at least three books of the Bible. From the quantity I had chosen you may have guessed I didn’t know what it truly meant to study a book of the Bible.
I was under the impression all I needed to do was read the book, refer to a couple commentaries, ask the Holy Spirit what the book teaches about me and God, and BOOM! Check that one off the imaginary list of Christian responsibilities—only sixty-five books left to go.
Unfortunately, I sat, I read and the commentaries were great but I felt disconnected. I needed help! That’s when I picked up Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin.
In the first chapter, Jen Wilkin addresses the belief that the Bible is about us. She reasons why we must train ourselves to recognize God’s declarations about Himself. In the following chapter, “The Case for Bible Literacy,” she identifies humorous but very accurate ways we approach Scripture. Jen shows readers why these approaches make us miss out on so much of what God wants to teach us in His Word. Chapters Three through Seven are dedicated to what she calls the Five P’s of Sound Study. They are Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process and Prayer.
“Help for Teachers” encourages those who are called to a teaching ministry. In this chapter, Wilkin provides examples of how to prepare for a class or small group and what to avoid.
My favorite quotes are found in the conclusion.
- “Our study of the Bible is only beneficial insofar as it increases our love for the God it proclaims.”
- “Bible literacy that does not transform is a chasing after the wind. Christians will be known by our love, not our knowledge.”
I recommend this book to people at any place in their walk with God. For new believers, this will set the right foundation for Bible study. For those who have been walking in the Lord for some time, it may shine a light into areas of Bible study which need to be reevaluated.
I must warn those who are in a season with heavy responsibilities. If you are a new mom or have taken on a new position at work, this book may feel intimidating. I recommend, instead of trying to implement all the tools at once, to spend any small pockets of time you have addressing just one “P.” Stay there. Grow there. Then, move on when you are able.
Jen Wilkin is such a great writer and teacher. She really knows how to make a personal experience highlight a principle. Her jokes were perfectly timed—giving me a break from the meat of the material—to laugh and remember not to take myself so seriously. I felt like I was sitting with a friend getting great advice.
This is a book to read, reread, and gift others. If there is anything we need right now in the Body of Christ, it is Women in His Word!
Wilkin, Jen. Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. Crossway, 2019.
About Vanessa: Lives with her husband, Eli, in Brooklyn, NY where she homeschools their five children. Vanessa is also the Children’s Director at her church, and she loves fire pits, friends, and spending time with her family.