Preparing for Studying a New Book
Sunday we will start our adventure through the book of James. I picture James as a drill sergeant who trains soldiers hard with a smile because he loves the troops and loves the mission. A smiling mentor who pushed me had often quipped: “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” Preparing ourselves to study a new book helps us hear what God wants us to learn.
Stating the obvious in your own words is important to Bible study. Prayer is an essential step. Prayer is talking to God and the Bible is God talking to us. Ask God to help you hear what you need to hear from James. Ask God to give you the courage to act on what you have learned. Praying seems like a simple, all too easy answer. Prayer is essential to Bible Study. Pray before and during your time in James.
Read through the book of James regularly as you study it. This helps you see the big picture of the book. There is no replacement for simply readying the Bible. Read the book in multiple translations. This will help raise questions as well as better understand what James is saying. When a verse is hard to understand, often reading through the book a couple of times will bring clarity.
Don’t be a L.I.A.R.
L.I.A.R stands for Low Information to Action Ratio. Our culture has trained us to ignore information. Think about how many emails, Facebook posts, etc. you’ve read and glossed over. We have to train ourselves to act on the information we are learning in studying James. To help with that, keep it simple. Each week write down and define a goal you want to accomplish that week based on what you learned. Building that habit into your life will improve your information to action ratio (And, you may even pass some of those tests James talks about!).
Without questions learning cannot take place. Have the courage to ask questions. Learn how to ask good questions. We often remember questions we got wrong on the test because we asked the question to see why we got that question wrong. Jesus leveraged questions to further people’s learning. A hard and courageous question to ask is for help. James is a challenging book. It is possible that God may reveal something that you will need other’s help to apply to your life.
Remember, God loves you!
James is hard hitting. There are parts you’ll see yourself doing well in. There are parts you know you’re working through. And, there may be parts that reveal a challenge you were not aware of. Remember that James isn’t there to beat us up. Jesus took our beating on the cross. There is nothing we need to do to earn God’s favor. What James helps us do is make sure our lives match up with the incredible message we believe. James is like a mirror before our wedding day. Let’s prepare ourselves with that kind of joy.
Pastor Ty Woznek
Pastor’s Academy Lead Instructor