Re-engaging the journey
I recently bought new running shoes. And this morning, I took them out for their maiden jog. I had been thinking about this moment ever since they arrived in the mail last week. I planned out which route I would take, careful to choose one that would allow me to text different terrains (gravel, dirt, pavement).
This morning as I ran in them for the first time, I planted my steps more carefully. I was keenly aware of my form – something I used to pay more attention to, but somewhere along the line stopped. I listened to my body as my forehead started to sweat. And as I paid attention, I hardly even noticed that I ran further than I have in months. It was just that much more fun to run when you’re engaged in the process.
Bible study “accessories”?
I used to be a bit of a snob when it came to Bible study accessories. To long time readers, this will come as no surprise. I have shared openly how, when I graduated from seminary, I adopted a mind set of Bible study that was … well, unrealistic at best. When I saw Bible study shops offering accessories, I snobbishly thought they were silly. I named them a distraction from the real work of Bible.
But then I changed my mind.
I don’t think that way anymore. Like, at all.
Here’s what changed: my season of life.
My days in seminary were some of my favorite. I spent long hours in the library translating the biblical text. I would pour over Greek and Hebrew lexicons. I would pass my early mornings and my late nights joyfully reading books about theology, church history, and biblical interpretation. So it should come as no surprise that when I graduated from seminary, all I could imagine for Bible study was hours of time unencumbered by things like children, jobs, and local ministry.
But nearly as soon as I entered a “normal” season of life with a family and a work schedule that didn’t permit me to spend hours a day studying in the quiet isles of a seminary library (with thousands of resources at my fingertips), I noticed a shift in my quiet time. I had a routine of reading and prayer that I enjoyed, but like most people, the very routine that served me well would also cause me to fall into a bit of a rut. I would be reading in the same way for weeks before looking up and asking, Wait, where did all my drive to know the Word more deeply go? How can I re-engage my heart and mind?
Re-engaging with the Word
And that was the moment I saw the value of Bible study accessories. Where my routine had grown old, I found that a new pen to write notes in the margins piqued my interest again. The verses I had grown comfortable skimming each morning jumped off the page when I had a highlighter set by my side (that wasn’t garish colors). A confusing passage in the Old Testament wasn’t quite as tempting to skip over when I had a Bible timeline nearby for reference. A bookmark that marks my place in God’s Word reminds me why I get up and make time for this every day. Even a cute little pencil pouch I purchased has helped me reframe my mentality of quiet time: from a “should do” to a “get to” (and even helped me think of it as something I do for myself).
Just like my new running shoes enabled me to re-engage, Bible study accessories have started to serve me well. They have invited me to enjoy the beautiful things about Bible study, and have driven me deeper into God’s Word. The things I used to think were silly, have served me.
Do you have a favorite Bible study accessory? A notebook, a pen, a card set, a bookmark?