Friday, February 12, 2021

Creating Bible Studies For Our Intentions


Creating Bible Studies For Our Intentions

We are now six weeks into 2021. Can you believe it?! Hopefully by now, you have set intentions for your word of the year. If you need to read more about setting intentions visit this post. Setting intentions gives us a framework or guideline for how we want to live out our word of the year. Another thing setting intentions provides us with is an opportunity to create numerous Bible studies to dig into throughout the year. Studying God's Word in relationship to our intentions will help ground our intentions biblically and move us deeper on the path of living out God's will and His ways.

Let me give you a few examples:
  • Let's say that one of your intentions this year is to be more grateful. An idea for a Bible study might be to start with a word study of the word thankful and get a sense of what the Bible says about having a grateful heart. You might narrow your study down to simply the Psalms and look at the ways the various Psalmists contrasted their laments with choosing to trust, praise and worship God (Read Psalm 13 for an example). Or maybe you trace being thankful simply in the New Testament letters, looking at how as God's people we are called to live as grateful people ( see 1 Thessalonians 5:18 for example). 
  • Maybe your intentions includes relating better with others or living more in community. You might study all of the "one another's" and "each other's" through the New Testament to gain an understanding of what living in community looks like biblically. 
  • Or maybe health is one of your intentions. You could do a study of the body and how God views "your body is a temple of God" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Studying what God says about how we live in our physical body may help gain a deeper understanding of stewarding the resources God has provided for us.
These are just some examples using common intentions. Make sure when you study Bible verses that you use the cross references in the margins. Following cross references will often lead me on rabbit trails that have led to some of my most enlightening Bible studies.

Examples From My Intentions

Here again are my intentions for my word Rhythm.

I actually have included some of the Bible studies I will do for some of my intentions this year, mainly around my intention to focus on the rhythms of Christ's life. Those studies will include studying the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, studying Jesus' prayer in John 17, doing a word study on 'christlike' and 'imitate' in the New Testament, reading the Gospels to look at Jesus' life and words. All of these studies will give me a picture of how Jesus lived - the rhythm of His life.

Another area that is important to me are healthy rhythms. I especially want to focus on the balance of work and rest. My Sabbath practices got a bit off-kilter this past year during the pandemic. Yet at the same time the slower pace of life has opened my eyes to a healthier pace. How will I maintain that when we return to 'normal'? What rhythms need to be in place for me to have a healthy balance of energy? In part, this will mean I re-examine past studies I have done on looking at what a Sabbath practice means in the Bible.

Under the category "Rhythms of Grace" there are things like studying my theme passage, Matthew 11:28-30. We will dig into studying our theme verse or passage next week. But also under that category you'll note there is a reference to "rule of life". This is a topic I have looked at in the past, although not too deeply. I want to dig into it more this year because when I think of rhythms I think of a "rule of life". So that is where I will start today with my Bible study.

Rule of Life

A Rule of life is traditionally thought of as the monastic order of set times for prayer and other activities designed to help monks keep their focus on God throughout the day. In modern times, a rule of life is simply creating a plan for time with God and for growing in Christlikeness.

Author, Ruth Haley Barton calls it "a way of ordering our life around the values, practices and relationships that keep us open and available for the work of spiritual transformation that only God can bring about." Another way she states it, in her book Sacred Rhythms, is that a rule of life is "cultivating rhythms for spiritual transformation". She says that developing a rule of life seeks to answer the question, "How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?".

I find word origins and their original uses quite interesting. The word "Rule" comes from an ancient Greek word, kanon, which meant, properly, a rod (cane or reed) used as a measuring standard - what we would call a ruler. Figuratively the word was used for a rule - a standard or norm. In the early church it was used as a summary of orthodox Christian doctrine called "the rule of truth" or "rule of faith". From this we get "the canon of Scripture" which are the authorized 66 books of the Bible. This Greek word, kanon, was then translated into Latin, "regula", from which our English word "rule" comes from.

So, what I find interesting is that this Greek word, kanon, was also used to refer to a trellis, the wooden structure used to tie grapevines to in order to keep them off the ground and growing upright, so that they will be more fruitful and productive. A rule of life has often been referred to as a trellis that helps us abide in Christ and grow in Him. Like a trellis, a rule of life helps spur growth by providing structure and support to every part of our life. 

Jesus used the example of grapevines when speaking of our spiritual life in John 15:1-17. So this is where I will start, looking at how being connected to Jesus helps us grow and produce fruit. Studying and practicing spiritual disciplines (practices) will fit into this as well, which I will write about in two weeks.

I hope that my list of Bible studies that will support my intentions helps you see how to come up with your own. The word study steps and tutorial that I shared last week are a great way to start Bible studies. If you are struggling with how to create Bible studies for your intentions for your word of the year, please feel free to email your intentions to me and I will give some suggestions ( Or you can post a comment in the Words Art & Faith Facebook group and we can all help each other, supporting, encouraging and building each other up are, after all, the intent of this group.

It seems strange doing posts without art this month, but the focus this month is on exploring God's Word in order to live out our word of the year. The art will come about after the studying!


  1. Thank you for breaking down how to do the Bible study on our word for the year. It helps me to move forward with it.