A conversation with Nicole Unice, author of Help! My Bible is Alive! 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word
Nicole Unice is the discipleship pastor at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Q: You talk about the habit of studying the Bible. Why do we need to commit to this habit?
Habits of the mind, body, and soul are a training process and the short-term goal is to keep going. We need to acknowledge that adults might be out of practice with this mode of learning. By guiding people through the process for 30 days, I am trying to create a short-term win, so people keep on for the long term.
We are training our brains to experience God. The enormous magnitude and majesty of God’s Word is available to us, but we don’t know how to grasp it. Your pastor is using tools that are available to you as well. We have to keep fighting against the idea that there are special experts and holy people, and then everyone else.
Q: In our culture we go to many places for opinions—friends, social media, podcasts. What is the role of answers versus opinions in our growth?
Our hearts are seeking answers. God’s Word is set apart and it is His chosen vehicle to speak to us about living. The concepts of Scripture are available to each of us! Sometimes it is easier to just get some opinions. Also, we can discount opinions of others if we don’t agree with them, but we can’t discount God’s Word. God’s Word says it is authoritative, so we have to make a choice about how we apply that truth in our life.
Q: Why is understanding our back story important in studying Scripture?
In order to engage with the Bible fully, we will have to address issues in our own lives. Someone studying the Bible might have issues with their earthly father. Rather than changing the “Father” name of God, if they acknowledge the issue, then they can pray that the Lord would help heal that area of their life. We all need to allow God to redeem our human filters.
Q: You instruct readers to get a physical study Bible. What about digital apps?
A physical study Bible is an investment. We seem to have lost our sense of tactile learning, of turning pages, of actually seeing where something fits in a context. To engage in deep work, we must connect to the words of the Bible. That doesn’t easily happen on a phone. A Bible app is great as a supplement, but a study Bible has important notes and references, to determine time, place, space. It can serve as an anchor point for study.
Q: How do we let God’s Word teach us truth rather than looking for texts that support our ideas?
I study the Bible to put myself under God’s direction and guidance through His Words. Sometimes I will physically lift the Bible over my head to demonstrate this in a group. It is over us. We are asking the Bible to be an authority in our lives. Even if we resist the idea of authority, our hearts still yearn for direction in how to live our lives. There is a framework and boundaries for our life—we are not just spinning in the universe without knowing our purpose. As Christians, Jesus is the key to life, and we study the Bible to know Him better —to follow Jesus all the days of our lives.