Since November 1983, as a feature of The Reflector , I have shared Notes from My Bible—the harvest of a half-century of walking with God gathering flowers from many gardens. Clearly understand that these thoughts are not original. During the course of my studies, I have tried to gather “nuggets” and make note of them. I have found this to be a useful habit which preserves for use many apt sayings and seed thoughts that would have otherwise been forgotten. Someone has said that there are two kinds of reading—“reading on a sofa and reading with a pencil in hand.” I long ago learned to read with a pen or pencil in my hand.
Scarcely a day has passed since 1977 that I have not entered some note or notes into my Bible. I never read a book without taking notes for preservation one way or another. You will grow more deeply interested in your Bible day by day if you will make notes in the margins and on blank leaves of your Bible. Staying in the Word daily is so very important that my advice to believers is that if there are days when you have to choose how to use your time—either praying or reading the Bible—to read the Bible. It is far more important for you to hear what God has to say to you than for God to hear what you have to say to Him. Think about that for a moment. Do you really believe that God speaks out of His Word?
It is doubtful that any person will ever become a prayer warrior who does not get into the Word of God on a daily basis. Taking notes will help and you will be surprised at how your prayer life will be strengthened when you develop a working knowledge of the Word of God!
To encourage Bible reading and note-taking, I pass around samples of study Bibles which I have marked illustrating the helpfulness of taking notes. Each time I pick up the Bible to read, I have a pen or pencil and many times a six-inch very thin ruler. As the Holy Spirit impresses thoughts in my mind, I underline or circle—key words, key phrases, key verses, or key passages.
Since the tendency would be to depend on notes taken during a former year, I begin each year with a new study Bible. I expect a fresh word from God this year and do not need to depend on something He gave me last year. It is important that you have a study Bible that you enjoy working in and there are obviously many different ones that will serve nicely. In choosing a study Bible, one major feature should be paragraph headings for a number of reasons. One is that sometimes a chapter ends in the middle of a paragraph and the paragraph heading alerts you to keep on reading to get the complete thought. The heading can also serve as a stimulus to get your mind in gear as you begin to read if you will spend a moment reflecting on the headings before reading the chapter. A good idea is to ask questions which come to mind out of the heading before you read which come to mind as you preview.
My choice of study Bibles since 1980 has been the New King James Version. That version capitalizes pronouns related to Deity, the Holy Spirit, and does a very good job in clarifying passages where language changes over the years makes it difficult to get the message from the King James Version. Since I have memorized the KJV, I am very comfortable with the NKJV.
The most complete study Bible for an average believer that I have ever found up is the Open Bible Expanded Edition published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. I am constantly amazed at all the study helps in this one volume. There are actually 700 pages of Bible study helps. Since this edition is no longer available either in bookstores or from Thomas Nelson, be on lookout for used edition. You will be glad you did.
New Defender's Study Bible is available through JGHM.
Are you ready for a new study Bible? If so, I recommend the New Defender's Study Bible, which features over 9,000 explanatory footnotes written by the late Dr. Henry Morris, one of our faithful Doorkeepers. In 1995, Dr, Morris released The Defender’s Study Bible, a study Bible “defending” all Scripture passages that had come under attack, and presenting creation and inerrancy as foundational doctrines of Christianity. Prior to publication, I had the wonderful privilege of serving as a reader for the notes. My life was greatly enriched by the insights of this man of God.
The New Defender's Study Bible is the only study Bible stressing the defense of the Biblical Christian faith from the perspective of literal creationism and absolute biblical inerrant authority. Dr. Tim LaHaye calls it “The most valuable Bible resource between two covers.” Dr. Herman Austel, Dean, Northwest Baptist Seminary (WA), points out that it contains “a wealth of information in historical and scientific matters as well as in prophetic interpretation and spiritual application.”
Others have commented on the profound content of the notes. They stem from decades of scholarship on the part of Dr. Morris, but especially an unswerving faith in Scripture and the Author of Scripture. His testimony was simple; the Bible can be believed just like it is written. That’s the message of this study Bible.
There are twenty appendices that aid the reader in understanding even difficult passages, especially those dealing with the vital doctrine of creation. There is a comprehensive index for the notes, a concordance, center-column references, and maps.
JGHM has The Defender's Study Bible (burgundy in bonded leather) available for a $50 gift to the prayer seminar ministry. The suggested contribution includes shipping and handling. You may order by mail, by telephone, or by E-mail.
As we share NOTES FROM MY BIBLE , my prayer is that the reader will be guided by the Holy Spirit to seek a deeper walk with the Lord Jesus Christ more than ever before and that each one will bear fruit for Him.