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What to know about this Study Guide

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What is a journaling study?

Well, it’s not about art, and we don’t ask you to color or draw anything.

It is about listening to God through his Word, being directed by open questions, and responding to what you’ve read and heard by writing your thoughts down.

We’ve divided each week’s study into three parts to make it easy to split it up or not, depending on your preference.

See beyondordinarywomen.org for previews of our other journaling studies or for information on large group downloads.

The simplicity of journaling doesn’t equate to shallow

This study demands your involvement. Although the layout is simple, how deeply you go depends on you. As you spend time talking to God and journaling your thoughts, he may lead you to other cross-references, but he will certainly give you insights into the verses. Don’t stop with initial surface answers, but ask God to clarify and speak to you from it. The time you spend in the scriptures with God gives him space to speak. Listen well, journal your thoughts, share them with your small group, and glean from others’ insights.

Studying through three parts a week

If you like doing a little study at a time, each week’s lesson is set up in three parts, but feel free to go through it in any way that works best for you. If you prefer daily time in the Word, consider spending two days on each part, journaling about the optional starred section the second day. You may be amazed at what you see by reading the same passage twice. If you prefer to do the week’s study in one sitting, you may want to read all the passages first and then journal at the end. Of course, it’s great to be in God’s Word each day, but you may have other ways of doing that. Stick to what works for your schedule.

Additional reading and background information

I have inserted background information pertinent to your understanding. Feel free to do your own research when you have interest or questions, but the group conversation will be focused on the passages studied by everyone. You may want to look over the chart “History of Old Testament Israel” as you begin to read each new prophetic book. It is found in the Appendix section “Understanding the Prophets.”

*** A star identifies optional verses or suggested study for those with time and interest. The additional reading will help you wrestle with deeper insights into the passages.

Words to Anchor your Soul

The verses that begin each week’s lesson are great choices for memorization and/or discussion.

What you need

  • A quiet place, if possible.
  • A Bible that you can understand. If you don’t have one, ask your group leader for suggestions, or email us at [email protected] Modern versions are available as downloads, through Bible apps, or in print at any bookstore. (We are using the NET Bible at lumina.bible.org, a free online Bible translation with study helps.)
  • A notebook, laptop, or tablet to use as a journal which can be taken to your group meetings. If you prefer paper attached to the lesson, add a blank piece of paper or notebook paper after each lesson. (See Journaling 101 in the Appendix.)
  • The commitment to listen to God and write out what you hear as you read and pray.
  • Someone, or even better a group of women, to discuss this with you and provide support, encouragement, and spiritual challenge

Best practices for group get-togethers (See also Appendix & leader videos)

Plan a regular place, time, and leader.

The leader should—

  • read the section “Tips for Leaders” in the Appendix.
  • watch BOW’s free, short videos: "Tips for Leading a Journaling Study" (https://vimeo.com/album/4256789) and the series Listening Well (https://vimeo.com/album/4065298). If your group includes Millennials, watch the free series "Millennials: The Good, the Bad, and the Ministry" at https://vimeo.com/album/5118401.
  • start on time, not waiting for late arrivals.
  • move the group along, being sensitive to God’s Spirit.
  • encourage everyone to share without forcing it.
  • be a great encourager.
  • avoid dominating the conversation.
  • keep the focus on the women, not herself and her own thoughts.
  • provide time for the group to think and share from their journals.
  • contact absent group members to encourage them.
  • email the group weekly to remind them of the upcoming meeting, and share her excitement.

As a group—

  • come prepared and on time with your study, journal, and Bible.
  • share freely and honestly.
  • encourage one another.
  • don’t interrupt the speaker.
  • love one another.
  • don’t try to fix the other members of your group or their problems by giving advice.
  • pray for one another and entrust each other and your problems to God.
  • be honest and vulnerable, but wise in how much detail you share personally.
  • stay in touch with each other between meetings for support and encouragement.

If your group meets within a larger group in a church setting

  • Look for a woman gifted in teaching God’s Word to teach a short time after the small group discussion. Watch the short, free video "Why Use Live Teachers, not Video?" at https://vimeo.com/209323216. (For help in preparing to teach, see our collection of videos at http://beyondordinarywomen.org/bible-teaching/ or contact us at https://beyondordinarywomen.org/contact-alternative/.)
  • Because the discussion isn’t about the teacher’s comments but focuses on the members’ personal study, the discussion should precede the teaching time.
  • The teacher may spend 15-25 minutes adding to the background of the lesson, beginning and ending within the allotted time frame. The majority of the time together should be invested in small groups.
  • The teacher’s role is to clarify and extend what the group has studied, not to retell what they have discussed.

Stories

Each week’s study includes a true story at the end that relates to the lesson. Some of our journaling studies have such stories on video, but this study includes them in written form in the lessons. The names have been changed in some cases to protect people involved.

Icon/image for each book

To help you remember the message of the various prophets, I have included an icon or image that relates to the primary idea of each book. You will find that many of the same themes are repeated throughout the Minor Prophets—subjects that connect to sin, judgment, and repentance, so it’s difficult to clearly distinguish some of them from others. You may have other ways to help your group remember.

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