You Don’t Have To Attend Church To Talk With God
Many of us are not attending church right now. It could be that the pandemic has closed churches in your area, or you feel it is safer to avoid indoor gatherings. Others have become disillusioned with the church for many reasons and choose to no longer attend. Whatever your reasons, communicating with God does not have to occur inside a place of corporate worship. However, it is important to spend time in the word.
If you are a Christian, the church isn’t a place you go. Instead, it is a description of who you are.
Romans 12:4–5 — For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to the others.
1 Corinthians 3:16 — Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
If you believe the Bible, then you know that the church is not a building with four walls but a body of believers. Whatever has caused you to temporarily or permanently leave the presence of a physical church does not mean you have left the presence of God.
Hearing From God
We talk to God through prayer, especially in our times of deepest needs, but do we purpose to make time every day to listen to what God has to say? Do you recognize the voice of God when He speaks in your life?
In 1 Samuel 3: 1–10, Samuel heard God’s voice and did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli. In Judges 6:17–22, Gideon is given a physical revelation. He doesn’t trust what he has seen, so he goes on to ask God to send him a sign — three times.
If these great men of the Bible struggled to hear God speak, how do we modern Christians know when God is speaking to us? The most important tool is a gift that Gideon and Samuel did not have. We have the complete inspired Word of God available for us to read and study.
The Gift of the Word
Too often, we take the supernatural nature of the Bible for granted. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
God, the creator of the universe, cared enough about us to leave us a detailed instruction manual for life. All we have to do is carve out time in our busy lives to spend time studying the greatest book ever written to have all the knowledge, wisdom, and help we need.
It is just that simple, but some parts of the Bible can be difficult to understand. If you have a King James’ version of the Bible and struggle with understanding, find a study bible that is easier to understand. There are numerous versions of the Bible written in modern English or other languages to make it easier for believers to dive deeply into the Word.
The Bible is a supernatural book filled with the power to transform your life. Until you approach your time in the Word as time directly invested into your relationship with God, you will struggle for understanding. The Holy Spirit helps us understand the meaning of the scripture and how they apply to our lives.
The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
How Do I Study the Bible
There is no right or wrong way to study the Bible as long as you avoid taking pieces of scripture out of the context in which they are presented. There are a few basic tools that will help make your journey of studying the Word easier.
A study Bible — Study Bibles often offer historical information, context, crosses-references, and scholarly information about the scriptures.
A concordance — A concordance is an alphabetical index of the words in the Bible. It is an essential tool for studying the Word and can be especially helpful for beginners. If you are struggling with anger, you would look up the Word in the concordance and find a list of all the scriptures that talk about anger.
Journal — Your journal can be digital or paper, bound in expensive leather, or a school notebook. Whatever works best for you to take notes of questions you have, things you have learned, scriptures that resonate with your spirit, and verses you want to study more deeply.
You can find these tools and more online, and many are available for free. Once you have your tools, you need to find the habit that works best for you. Many find spending time in the Word most productive first thing in the morning. Our minds are fresh, and often, it may be easier to find quietness to read, pray and study in the early morning hours.
If you are new to Bible study, you may want to start in the New Testament. Many Bibles also offer Bible reading plans, or you can find a study plan online or through any number of apps. You may have to explore a few options before you find the one that works best for you.
However, if you are not a morning person, find the time of day that works for you. You also need to find a place that works for you. Find a peaceful place in your home where you can have some uninterrupted time.
Most importantly, prepare your heart for your time in the Word. Ask God to prepare your mind and heart to receive His Word and confess anything that might separate you from a supernatural understanding of the Bible.