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How to Stop Feeling like a Bible Study Failure

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Inside: When you fall behind in your Bible study it can be tempting to quit. Here are some other ideas to help you get back on track.

I don’t always stay on a schedule or a plan that I have for my quiet time or my Bible study. This summer I signed up to do an Armor of God study, and the first week I was on the ball. I had all my homework done three days early.

But a few weeks in found me scrambling to try to catch up!

I went through the same thing when I was reading through the Bible in a year. Some days I was on track, but every now and then I got seriously behind.

When you fall behind in your Bible study it can be tempting to quit. Here are some other ideas to help you get back on track.

4 Tips Ways to Catch-Up When You Fall Behind in Your Bible Study

Option #1 Don’t try to catch-up!

If you are doing a small group study it can be really hard if you fall behind. It means that you won’t be able to follow the conversation or discussion. Or maybe you will have nothing to add.

One thing that you can do is skip over what you’ve missed and just stay where everybody else is. If it’s a 5-week  study and you get week 1 done but you miss week 2, and then everybody else is on week 3, just skip over week 2 and go on to week 3 and keep going forward.

Please don’t stay home just because you aren’t caught up.

You can still get a lot of learning and encouragement from just listening to what’s going on. Especially if it’s a video-based study. You can learn so much from watching the videos even if you can’t keep up with the homework.

Just skip over the week you’ve missed and when the study is over or you have extra time during the week, go back and work on the parts that you missed.

Option #2 Pick up where you left off

Instead of skipping over what you missed, simply pick up where you left off. If you left off in your 7-week study on week 3, and this study is over, then just start where you left off and work forward.

Maybe you just do a week at a time and that means you finish later than everybody else. Or if you have some extra time, work in there. But just keep going.

This is an especially good option if you’re in a study where each week builds on itself. In most studies, the content will be related, but there are some studies, like Beth Moore’s Daniel study, where if you try to skip over a week and then catch up, you would be lost.

Option #3 Do a Bible study blitz

Carve out a block of time and just plow through whatever it is that you need to get done. And that way, you’re all caught up.

Option #4 Consider your season

The last option is to evaluate where you are. There are different seasons of life where you have more (or less) time to focus on spiritual growth and your faith.

Often for me, especially when my older two kids were small, I found that every time I joined a study, I was always behind. And I had to realize that that was the season I was in where group studies weren’t going to be a really good fit for me. Because I didn’t have the time to keep up.

That doesn’t mean that you should abandon them altogether or that they’re a terrible idea for everybody. But there are seasons in life where you’re not going to be able to keep up with the homework.

What happens when you realize that you’re in a season where a Beth Moore or those types of studies aren’t going to work for you?

  1. You can choose not to do groups at all and do something different
  2. Study your Bible in a way that doesn’t require the commitment of daily homework assignments
  3. Join the group but just don’t do the homework. Go every week, watch the video, take notes on what’s in the video. Participate in the discussions as much as you can. Be there in prayer and enjoy the community and fellowship.

It’s okay to go sit in a group study and not even buy the member book. Just sit there with a pen and a piece of paper or your journal. Watch the video and take notes. Jot down the different references that the teacher mentions.

Then as you have time during the week, pull out your Bible and read that verse and take some notes. You’re still a part of the study and you’re still able to have that dedicated time where you’re working on growing your faith and being with God.

You’re in fellowship with other women, you’re in that community, and that can be a really great thing. Especially if you’re going through a hard time, don’t isolate yourself. Just go and be honest. You can always, when life calms down a little bit, buy the member book or pull out the member book that you bought and never used and work through the study on your own.

What Not to Do When You Fall Behind in Your Bible Study

Do not beat yourself up.

You don’t want to be so hard on yourself. The Bible says that there is no more condemnation once you’re in Christ Jesus. God is not going to come down like whack-a-mole and bop you on the head because you fell behind in your Bible study!

He loves you. He wants to spend time with you. But He’s not concerned with the amount of time. If all you have is 5 minutes, He is happy to have those 5 minutes with you and He will bless you during those minutes. 

Remember, God looks at your heart. If your heart is motivated and your intention is to be with Him and spend time with Him, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours. 

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2 Comments

  1. Of the options listed I like number 3 best. However, I prefer self-paced Bible studies because I usually write what I am learning and it can take quite long to finish a chapter – which is good because it means I am learning a lot. Thanks for sharing.

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