My name is Cam and in the last video, I shared with you the three biggest traps that people can fall into when blocking off time to study the Bible, and as we continue forward, in this video I will share with you the next key area to focus on when developing the regular habit of Bible study.
This is the second of four things we should pay attention to when starting, or revitalizing Bible study in our lives. I call the group of these four areas of focus the four foundational stones of great Bible Study.
This second foundation stone relates closely to the first foundation stone, because just as important as it is to choose the best block of time to study in, it is also equally as important to choose the best place to study in.
In my own life and experience as I dug into Bible Study, I didn’t hit traps regarding the place I chose to study like I did when choosing the right time; however I did learn three important keys that should be considered when choosing a place to study in.
The first key to picking a great place to study in is that it should be available on a consistent basis and unique to your study time. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if the place where you choose to study moves around all the time, it is much harder to focus on the Bible passage that you are reading.
Over the past years of studying, I have moved through at least seven different places that I can call study areas. Having to change where you study is not bad, but if you change too often or too quickly, then the inconsistent location can distract you. Instead of focusing on being in a new location, choose to focus on looking at a ‘new passage’ each time you open your Bible, and have the Bible be your source of variety.
If you must change places, the key to changing to a new location is to always choose a place where you can be consistent for at least several months. Our lives are always changing, and the more we can keep where we study consistent, the more relaxed our minds can be, and a relaxed mind is more likely to hear God’s still small voice speaking through His Word.
It’s also important for this place to be unique to our study time. A place that is unique to Bible study will help our minds focus more easily on each passage as our mind begins to associate study with being in that place.
So as you might have guessed, studying in your home office at the desk you do your work at is probably not the best location for you to study the Bible in.
The second key necessary when choosing a place to study is choosing a place that is the right level of comfort. What I mean when I say this is that the place you choose should be comfortable enough for you to feel relaxed when studying, but not so comfortable that you could fall asleep in the location you chose.
So you may have guessed it already, but I’ll say it here anyways. Your bed is not a good place for Bible Studying. There is too big of a temptation to fall asleep, or back asleep, if you didn’t sleep well. Your bed is an example of a place that is too comfortable, and it really should be ‘too comfortable’ for studying because it is where you sleep, not where you go to ‘lay down to then remain awake and alert’.
An example for me of a place that is not comfortable enough is at my office desk that I shared earlier. The combination of sitting that upright and that high off the ground does not allow me to feel relaxed. Also, I might add, that because I wake up before my wife does to do my Bible studying, actually studying in bed has never been much of a temptation because my wife would not like me having the light on while she is trying to sleep.
However, some of the places I have chosen to study the Bible where I have found the right level of comfort have been in recliner chairs, on certain places on a large sectional couch set, on a large bean bag, and in small chair that I think is called a ‘moon’ chair that sits just off the ground.
These places are ones that worked well for me on the comfort scale.
The third key to choosing a great place to study is for the place to be able to be private, and the reason for this is to help make your study time as free from distractions as possible. Distractions are like a disease to your study time, and they can derail your train of thought in an instant. In order to enjoy reading the Bible, you must guard against distractions of every kind.
Distractions are one of the reasons my study area has moved so frequently in the last 5 years or so, and it is the primary reason I moved my study area back into the home office and out of the living room where it had been. My wife and I live in a small house and the living room is open to any activity that happens in the house. It was a good place to move to (because it is usually less cluttered than the home office), but a bad place to move to because everything becomes a distraction.
Another way to help minimize distraction is by keeping your study area clean and neat, because a clean environment is more comfortable than a dirty one. I struggle with this personally, but I know it makes a big difference.
Some ideas to help you minimize distractions while not having to clean out your life might include repositioning the direction you are facing to minimize distractions in your peripheral vision.
Also, turning off your cell phone is great too, or at the very least, have it silenced in another room and not with you while studying.
This next one may sound obvious, but simply closing the door to the room you are in can be another effective way to tune out distractions.
If distractions seem to keep showing up, perhaps it may be best to choose a different place to study.
In our online connected world, distractions have another entry point as well, specifically through our computers. Currently I study using my computer online, but this has the tendency to bring with it a wave of additional distractions. Here are some of the things I have done to minimize distractions:
- I mute the volume on my computer — unless there is sound that I intentionally want to listen to.
- When online, there is a strong temptation to have multiple tabs open at once. Don’t do this. Only have the tabs open that you are using for your study. For me, this is usually only two tabs. One for the passage I am looking at, and the second for the question I am answering. Since I use Firefox as my primary browser, and I have some tabs that are always open like my email and other social media, the way I have chosen to easily and conveniently avoid this distraction is by using a completely different browser, in my case Chrome. Not only is Chrome a visually clean browser, it runs the Bible study website I use very well.
- Also, I close all programs that are running on my computer that aren’t necessary — or at the very least, I will make the things I do leave open be generic items in the task-bar. On the Mac, it may be as easy as changing spaces and auto-hiding the dock. On windows, I have my taskbar items grouped and if more than one window is open, then it will make the taskbar item generic by grouping the items together.
- Another big this is to never use study websites that have banner ads or flashy images. Your study time is not the time to be marketed to. At the very least, install ad blocking plug-ins to your browser, or copy and paste information you want to read into your word processor so that it will be away from the source of distraction.
We must be sure to guard our study time, because there are countless distractions that will try to take our focus off God’s Word. By being intentional with where we choose to study, and then making that place be as free from distractions as possible, we are able to lay another solid foundational stone into place helping us revitalize our Bible study experience!
Before continuing to the next video, please leave any comments, questions, or other thoughts while they are still fresh in your mind below by expanding the comments section right under this video. Using the comment box, you’ll be able to let me know what you thought of this video, and in case I missed anything that I should have shared, you can add it in the comments for all to read!
In addition to any other comments, would you answer the following response question: Where do you currently study? or if you are starting out: Where are you are planning to study each day? If you would like, you could also share if your study area has changed over time, and if the change has been positive or negative.
By sharing where you study, you can help those who are unsure about where they should study, and while everyone is unique, your response might inspire someone of a great place where they could study that they had not thought of!
Thank you in advance for sharing!
In the next video, we will move our focus onto the next foundation stone and focus on how to choose the best materials for you to help you enjoy your study time each day. When you’re ready to learn more, and after leaving your feedback below, I’ll be waiting for you in the next video!