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Cultivating an Intentional Walk With God

I had such a great time chatting with you guys a bit last night during the webinar about Cultivating an Intentional Walk With God. I am hoping to do more of these soon, so let me know what you would love for me to discuss in the future. If you weren’t able to watch live last night you can watch the recording below!

In this video I discuss the basics of the SOAP method, how to make time for studying Scripture, and answer a few of your questions!

Pardon the crazy screen grab!




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Amanda Jameson

Girl, loved this! I was bummed to miss since we were headed back from a road trip with Matt’s family but so glad you posted this so I could still watch! I can’t wait to catch the next one!

Sarah Scheenstra

I’m so glad you did this Kristen! I just started doing the SOAP method & its really slowing me down. Sometimes I can just read the Word and not go too deep. But I think this will definitely help me grow closer to the Lord.

One question I had was if you ever feel the need to go even deeper in your studies & do things like word studies or look up the Greek/Hebrew words. I always think I want to do that, but then it usually will cause me to get off track. What are your thoughts on this sort of thing?

Kim Strain

Thank you Kristen!

Caterina Brooks

do you have recommendations for the “word for word” translation with the Bible? Thanks!

Why I Study Books of the Bible

When I study Scripture, I always study books of the Bible. I have gotten questions about why I study that way, and I wanted to talk about it a bit.

I want to say right away that my passion is for women to have a passion for Scripture, and to truly desire to know God’s Word with their hearts and minds. I think that women can often be very emotionally driven when it comes to Bible Study. We are often led by our feelings above all, and I think that the best way that we can combat that is to be knowledgeable about God’s Word. It is in the hardest moments of our lives, when we do not feel good, that we can truly lean on God’s Word, and what we KNOW, about God. When we study and memorize Scripture we are storing it away in our hearts and minds, so that it is there when we need it. On the other hand, when we pick and choose verses that we think will help us with what we are going through in that moment, we are not equipping ourselves for what we will face in the future. When difficult situations and suffering comes I want to be ready and equipped with a knowledge of God’s Word and who He is that will sustain me through the hard times.

Probably the biggest reason that I choose to study through entire books of the Bible, as opposed to just picking and choosing selected verses to study if for CONTEXT. Context is so incredibly important, and it is so easy for verses or even passages to be taken out of context. I love the illustration that I have heard several times about when you get a letter in the mail. You do not skip through to the second page of the letter, and choose a random sentence and decide what you should do with what the letter said. It would be so easy to misinterpret the authors intent this way. Instead, you look at the return address on the envelope to see who it is from, you look at who the letter is addressed to, and read the letter in its entirety to understand exactly what it means. You would also probably not mix a letter from your mom, and a letter from your mortgage company that are talking about very different things. We should use the same logical thinking when we study Scripture. We should know who wrote the book, who it was written too, who the book, and verses are talking about. We should not automatically assume that something that was written to the Jewish people applies to us in the New Testament church. We need to be diligent to know the context so that we can understand the purpose that God has for us in each part of Scripture.

There are many examples of taking verses out of context, but one that comes to mind is Psalm 46:5 that says, “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved:”) I have seen this verse on coffee mugs, and on Christian jewelry. It is a beautiful verse, but it is not referring to a Christian woman as is so often implied. The “she”  is instead referring to God’s deliverance of the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrians during the time of King Hezekiah. We must be careful not to make the text say what we want it to say, but to be faithful to the Word, and the narrative of Scripture.

I think some topical teaching or study does have its place, as there are topics that need to be addressed, but I think that it is wise to have that as only a supplemental aspect of your walk with God. I fear that there are many topical teachers or preachers who bend the text which has often been taken out of context to fit the sermon that they wish to give or the point that they are trying to make.  If we do not know Scripture, it will be so much easier to be confused by false teachings or to accept man’s opinion or standards as on the same level as biblical truth.

Joy in Christ-3

It is also so important that we are learning Scripture as a whole. I recently started reading the book of Galatians, and though I knew by memory many of the verses in the book of Galatians I had never done in an depth study on the book, or heard the book preached through. I found that I was discovering verses that I had known my whole life had a different meaning when read in their context. My concept of legalism and freedom in Christ was changed when I dug deeper into the entire book of Galatians instead of pulling verses out of their context.

We should not approach reading or studying Scripture as merely a way that we can feel good in the moment, or feel better about our circumstances, but instead as a way that we can know God, and know His Word better, because that is what will help us through this life.

If you would like to learn more about how I study the Bible, you can read this post.
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Thought you’d like to know we Tweeted about your post:

Thank you so much for this post, Kristin! You’re absolutely right about the context. As I’ve been growing in faith I’ve found studying whole books to be the most fruitful. Though all of God’s Word is inspired, it really isn’t a good practice to flip open to random verses and call it a day. We miss so much! Thanks for sharing :)

Heather Burris

I love this so much! I recently started doing the same thing, putting away all my devotional books and simply reading the Word. It is amazing the way Scripture speaks for itself and I feel like God is truly speaking to me. Your passion is so inspiring, thank you!

Suzan Severn

Excellently stated and explained! You are being faithful to what God is teaching you, and faithful to His call to share this knowledge and wisdom with other women. I am so excited for this burgeoning ministry you have and your full and immediate obedience to our Lord!

Cassandra Stone

I really enjoyed this! I completely agree and I , like you, have started seeing so many verses taken out of context lately. They sound so good but that’s just not what He was saying! Thank you for sharing!

Ruth Lowe

You have spoken my thoughts, Kristen. I love my devotionals, but have wanted them to take a “back seat” to reading and studying each chapter of the Bible…for a long time! Thanks to your 31-day challenge, I’m finally doing that!

Homemakers Daily

I SO, SO, SO agree! I’m actually really sad that most churches don’t preach through books of the Bible anymore. Our pastor pretty much exclusively does topical studies. Once in a while he does a book but he goes through it fast and broad. I don’t even really need to take my Bible to church anymore. Since the verses are on the screen and he goes through them so fast, I don’t bother. But it makes me sad. I want to open my Bible. I want to look up the verses. I want to study verse-by-verse. But it’s rare for anyone to do it anymore. Don’t get me wrong – our pastor does a great job – but when you’re doing topical – it’s just not the same. And that “out of context” point – I’ve seen that so often! Not with our current pastor but with others I’ve listened to or topical studies I’ve done. Sometimes I know what answer the study writer wants, but I just can’t write it because I don’t know for sure if it’s right because of the context issue. So glad to meet someone else who loves going verse by verse and book by book!

Jenna Guizar

This is awesome. Thank you. I needed to hear it :)

So refreshing to read this! It is so important! Myself and our summer mission team have been teaching Inductive Bible Study Methods to college students for the past 8 years. It is indeed vital to correctly interpreting and applying God’s Word. And personally i love what you said about how our feelings impact our interpretation. Even though i “know” how to study His Word properly i still can allow my feelings to take over.

Wow, I always love your posts but this was something I really, really needed to hear… I haven’t “felt” like reading or praying or worshipping lately, and I couldn’t discern the difference between fighting through or faking through it… But your post reminded me that even when good emotions aren’t present, I must fall on what I KNOW to be true about God, which isn’t dependent on my emotion. Also, I love that you are firm about reading through books on the bible.

Please keep writing! And writing more about what you are learning as you read the word… Thank you for sharing. So encouraged.

You said this so eloquently and concisely. I couldn’t agree more and have found myself jumping around from verse to verse or chapter to chapter with no clear direction for as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt I was unable to learn or study properly which has kept me from doing nothing more than read just to read, but for the past year I’ve had this desire to dig deeper in the word and know more about God to build a stronger relationship with Him, and I think its finally time I do just that.

Sarah Ann Rogers // Blog

Ahh! New friend, I think we should talk and connect! This is such good stuff, and I feel like you’re speaking my language!
I think it’s so important to stand on what we know when other things go all out of whack. I actually am reading Kay Arthur’s “Lord I want to know you” about the names of God– so good.

[…] and resurrection. I recently read a blog post by a woman named Kristin Schmucker. The title was “Why I Study Books of the Bible.” It’s an excellent post, and she echoes this sentiment. I want to emphasize her closing […]

Joy In Christ Summer Study and Online Event

It has been amazing to see how many women are committed to studying Scripture together through the #lampandlight 31 Days of Scripture Challenge. I have had so many women contacting me and letting me know that they have loved the challenge and would love for it to continue. So, starting June 1st I will be leading an online group of women in going through my new Joy in Christ devotional journal. The journal covers the books of Philippians and Colossians.

There will be a private Facebook group that anyone that wants to participate can join, and we will walk through the study and discuss what God is teaching us each day. Accountability and community are so helpful to developing a vibrant walk with Christ. Each participant will go through the journal on their own and each day we will discuss what God has been teaching us.

You can request to join the group here.

If you would like to purchase a journal you can purchase here. We are currently shipping journals out the next business day.

Joy in Christ-4

The other exciting announcement is that I will be hosting a live online event on Monday, May 26th, at 7:00 pm central time. The title is “Cultivating an Intentional Walk With God”, and I will be talking to you guys live about how to study the Bible, make time for being in the Word, and a little bit of my personal testimony! You can go to the event page here, and even click on the Q&A at the top right corner of the video to leave any questions that you would like answered before the event!

I am so excited to be able to go through this journey with you. My hope is that through the live chat and through the summer study group that you will be able to find a community of women that will seek to encourage each other to walk with the Lord, to love His Word and to be more like Him.

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Kelly Ann

How awesome! I’ve gotta work Monday so I’ll miss your live event :(

[…] Other Lovely Reads… DIY Soy Candles How to be an Encouragement to Your Husband 5 Things I Learned From 1 Year of Marriage Inspiring Personal Style Instagrammers Cultivating An Intentional Walk With God – An Online Event […]

caterina brooks

I just received my prayer journal in the mail. It’s like God knew today. We lost a pet Monday, Charlie a kitty. Plus today I realized because of an error on my part I will have to wait til Spring to return to school. I am beyond frustrated. I cannot wait to sit with this book and have some prayer and tea later. Thank you. xoxo Caterina Brooks

Yay! This is so exciting! I can’t wait to get mine! I really need to get back into diving deep into the word on a regular basis and I think that this is just what my soul needs. Thank you for you heart and ministry!

Kathryn Smith

Do I have to have the journal to participate in the FB group? And, if I can’t make it on Monday night like Kelly Ann below me, how can I see the recording later?

Thank you so much Kristin for all you do to encourage women in their faith!

[…] View original post here: Joy In Christ Summer Study and Online Event » Kristin Schmucker […]

[…] Other Lovely Reads… DIY Soy Candles How to be an Encouragement to Your Husband 5 Things I Learned From 1 Year of Marriage Inspiring Personal Style Instagrammers Cultivating An Intentional Walk With God – An Online Event […]

Kristin’s Book List | May 2014

A Steadfast Heart | Elyse Fitpatrick

I have had so many people over the past few years recommend that I should read Elyse Fitzpatrick. This was the first time that I did, and I was not disappointed. This is a book on going through the storms of life, and having a steadfast heart fixed on God. The book walks through Psalm 57. She talks so much about how much we need Christ, and how the sufferings in our life should push us closer to Him. If you are facing a hard time in your life I would definitely recommend this book.

Christ in the Chaos | Kimm Crandall

This is a really short and easy read, but it has so much encouragement about how the gospel changes motherhood. It is for the mom who is in the trenches, doing the things that so often feel like they are meaningless, but the author shows how the little things that we do show the gospel to our children, and point to the grace of Christ. She fills the book with her own personal stories and does not shy away from revealing her own faults and struggles. It is a breath of fresh air for a worn out mama.

Plain Faith| Irene and Ora Jay Eash with Trisha Goyer

Because I grew up in Pennsylvania, and often read Amish fiction as a teenager,  I was excited to get a copy of this book to read and review. This is a  memoir of a young Amish couple that lost two of their daughters in a buggy accident, and eventually chose to leave the Amish faith. The couple faced many things as they went through the grieving process after the loss of their daughters. Because many sects of the Amish faith place an emphasis on a person’s works for salvation, the couple had a great fear that if they did not live a perfect Amish life, that they may not get to Heaven and see their precious daughters again. The book chronicles how they go from a life where they knew a lot about God to a time when they had a personal walk and relationship with God. It gives insight into their plain lifestyle and also to how they transitioned out of the Amish community, including a lot of letters that were written between the couple and other Amish family members and friends. The book is a great reminder of the freedom that we have in Christ, and of the joy that comes from a true relationship with Jesus, that goes far beyond holding blindly to rules and traditions.

Love, Skip, Jump| Shelene Bryan

Love Skip Jump written by Shelene Bryan is the story of a woman who is living a comfortable life while sponsor children in Africa without thinking much about it. The children that she sponsored where no much more than two extra photos that hung on her refrigerator. When someone challenged whether or not the children were real, or whether she had fallen for a scam she made a quick decision to travel to Africa to find out if they were really there. What happened next was a journey that changed her view of everything. She was amazed at what could happen when she chose to say yes to God, and be willing to help the people that she didn’t know much about, but that depended on her each month. The book is full of stories that she encountered in her time in Africa as well as what she did when she got home by starting a foundation that encourages others to “skip” things like a cup of coffee to help those in need. The book was a  funny and encouraging read that talks about how we can really make a difference in this world, though there have been other similar books that I have liked a bit more.

Ex-Muslim| Naeem Fazeel

This book is a great testament to God’s providence and amazing, pursuing grace. It is the story of Naeem Fazeel and His radical encounter with God. Naeem grew up in a Muslim home in the middle east, and when he came to the United States for college he was not expecting the radical changes that would take place in his life. God miraculously found him and got ahold of his heart and this book tells his story. The book provides valuable insight into the life of a muslim family, as well as what it is like for a muslim to convert to christianity. I found myself incredibly fascinated by so many of the stories that are told in this short book. Though I didn’t agree with everything found in the book, I greatly appreciated the passion with which it was written. The book overall was relatable to even believers that have not faced what he has faced, or come from a muslim background. He is open about the trials that he faced and how God used them to grow him in his faith. Naeem who is now a church planter/pastor has a powerful testimony of how God rescued him.

Let’s All Be Brave| Annie Downs

This book was quick to grab my attention because of Annie’s writing style. Reading this book was more like a long chat with a friend over coffee than someone telling you what to do. Annie is real and relatable and not afraid to share her own faults in a way that will encourage you to do the hard things. She talks about her own life experiences in real life terms with no pretense. She doesn’t sugar coat things, but tells things exactly how they were. If you have a big dream or a little one that you are wanting to conquer, but just don’t know if you can, or where you would start, this book is an encouragement to do the hard things in life. She encourages her readers to do the things that they know that they are called to do, but that aren’t necessarily the easiest options. The book is like a pep talk to live a courageous life, and I think it would be great especially for young women trying to figure out what they should do with their lives, or anyone trying to make their life meaningful. Annie encourages readers to push past the mundane and embrace the life that God has called them too.


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Hi Kristin!

I discovered your blog over the weekend and I am sooo happy I did. This year, I’ve challenged myself to read at least 10 Christian books. I’ve been a huge Max Lucado fan since University days and I picked up ‘You’ll Get Through This’ in December.

I was going through a difficult time and it really lifted my spirits and made me look at things a whole lot differently. I devoured it in a couple of days then passed it on to a friend. Highly recommend it.

I’ll be adding A Steadfast Heart and Love, Skip, Jump to my list!

Thanks for sharing,


Building a Relationship with God, not a Checklist

We are about half way through the May Scripture challenge, and all of your #lampandlight posts are such an encouragement to me each day. There is just something amazing to me about scrolling through my feed and seeing open Bible’s. I see the work that God is doing among women, and how He is giving a love for His Word to so many.

Now that we are about halfway through the challenge though, I want to check in and encourage you guys. It is easy to make studying scripture a “have to” and not a “desire to”. I don’t want this challenge to be a checklist. I don’t want the challenge to be nothing more than one more thing for us to do, I want it to be life breathed into our days, and hope in the hardest times. I also don’t want to see us miss a day and be discouraged and give up on the challenge. This challenge is about so much more than going through a whole month reading Scripture. It is about making habits, and strengthening our relationship with Christ to the point where we desire to be in the Word.

So if you are feeling stuck, if you are feeling dry, ask God to help you. If you are feeling like your Bible Study is just one of a million things on your “to do” list, ask Him to bring His Word to life and show you how the words of Scripture apply to your daily life.

If you are feeling discouraged because you have already missed a day or more on the challenge, start again. Grab your Bible and keep going. Remember that this challenge is not about completing 31 days of reading the Bible without missing one, it is about making God’s Word a natural part of your day. It is about getting to the point where you realize that we need God’s Word to sustain us, just like we need food to get through our days.

If you are just finding the scripture challenge, it is not too late to join!

Don’t forget we are giving away one of Val Marie’s fabulous prayer journals at the end of the challenge! Make sure to read here about how you can enter!

So as a little encouragement to each other, I want to hear how it is going. Let me know in the comments here or on instagram or Facebook what book of the Bible you have been reading, and what the one thing you have felt God showing you? I can’t wait to hear how God is using His Word to transform our hearts.


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Donna S Wysong

I was already in a daily study plan before you started the lamp and light challenge so I thought joining it would be just one extra little step, well it ended up being just the accountability I needed! I cannot wait to get into the scripture each day now and then seeing what everyone else has learned from their quite time! Good Lord always knows what we need before we even know, thank you for allowing Him to use you as a light to others! Love ya!

Susie HoneyBee Henry-Searight

The May Scripture Challenge has been PURE GOLD for my soul! Starting each day in intense study (rather than a devo) has done wonders for my “heart”itude!