I really liked things planned. I like to know what the day holds and check tasks off my list as they get done. I like to know exactly what time we are leaving and when we plan to get back.
I get a little anxious (okay, a lot anxious) when there are things to be done and no plan to get them done. No plan is just enough to drive me crazy.
So here’s the funny thing. I started a study on the book of Ruth. Much to the dismay of my plan oriented self, I didn’t buy a single book on Ruth or subscribe to a single online Bible study about Ruth. It’s just me, my study Bibles, a few colored pens and my journal. And no plan.
Not a single one.
Growing up my family owned a very large Bible. It had a white cover, gold embossed wording on the front along with gold tipped edges on each page. In my little girl eyes, that Bible and others like it were only for priests, pastors and other smart ministry types (and those who could actually hoist it up and place it on a pulpit. It really was that huge!). It was not for the likes of me, that’s for sure.
Sitting down and reading through the book of Ruth with no Bible study to guide me is kinda like reading my families’ huge Bible–intimidating, scary and a little bit out of my comfort zone.
Why is it that the Bible seems so out of reach to the rest of us? We know it’s a book written for all of us so why are waiting for someone else to tell us all about it?
The answers to those questions are many, I’m sure, but after a few days of wondering if I am doing this Bible study thing correctly, I’ve started to get into a groove. There’s really no one and only way to study the Bible, just the way that fits you best. I need to write. I have my journal and pens ready and I write, word for word, the text I am reading. Then I write down my thoughts or questions about what I just read or look up the same verses in another version. If I have unanswered questions, I use the study notes in my Bible or look up questions on-line (I am still in the process of discovering reliable on-line sources!).
The nice thing about this no plan way of studying is you get to veer of course when you want to. Just the other day I got stuck in the land of Moab, that city to the east of Jerusalem, right across the Jordan River. I wanted to know more about Moab. Why would Noami’s husband (Ruth’s mother-in-law) pack up and move there, of all places? What happened in the past between the Israelites and the Moabites? What happens after Ruth in Moab?
It’s been an interesting rabbit trail that has led into other books and events of the Bible. When we veer of course, we see God’s big plan a little bit clearer and fall a bit more in love with studying the Bible, learning the intricacies and connectedness of God’s book.
Maybe I could do this Bible study thing with no plan after all.
I think lots of us could.
If you want to give it a try, I’ve written a small prayer to give you the courage over at my website, katielanders.blogspot.com