Welcome to the second installment of the Bible Study Tips interview series. Here you will find interviews with pastors, authors, and influential Christians, as I ask them about their Bible study habits. Not everyone studies the Bible the same way, so I want to explore how others spend their time connecting with the Lord.
In this interview we are talking to my friend Jarrett Samuels. Jarrett and I first became acquainted with one another when I was invited to join a private Facebook group in December 2017. The group was for Jarrett’s ministry called The Pursuit of Manliness. Since that time we’ve connected and become brothers who are striving to see people grow and become what God wants them to be.
Check out a little background about Jarrett and his ministry, and then learn how he studies the Bible in the interview below.
Who is Jarrett Samuels?
Jarrett Samuels is a man’s man on fire for the Lord. By day he is a husband, father, and pastor. He is presently pastor at Castleton Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. On top of those responsibilities, he engages with men and helps them pursue their calling as men of God and raise the standard on what it means to be a man. He does this through his website and ministry called The Pursuit of Manliness. He describes it this way:
As men, we must raise the standard on what it means to be a man of God.
For far too long, many Christian men have chosen to keep their heads down, mouth shut and just tried to get through our years without too much damage. The effects of this is we have lost battles where we didn’t even engage in the fight, we have lost our voice where we never spoke up, and we now have heavy doses of apathy where we were originally supposed to have influence.
With the Pursuit of Manliness, I want to invite you to engage in an environment where we are going to relentlessly pursue being men who raise the standard on what it means to be a man of God.
Jarrett encourages men on several fronts. He writes on the Pursuit of Manliness website (thepursuitofmanliness.com), records a podcast, and is active on social media channels. But that is not his only approach. He also engages men through discipleship and growth opportunities, such as his 6-month Tribe community or the Thirty in 30 community, as well as one-on-one coaching. This is all in addition to the private Facebook group where men interact with one another daily, where they push each other to grow as men, especially men of God.
He doesn’t just talk the talk, but he walks the walk. If you’re a man, Jarrett is definitely someone you should get to know.
Six Questions with Jarrett Samuels
Who in your life helped you enjoy studying the Bible?
One of the first men I remember really modeling his love for the Word and the need to study it was a man named Josh Brashear. He was an elder at my first ministry. He was incredibly humble in his approach but also took it very seriously. I didn’t take the traditional Bible College to ministry approach so for me he was a friend and mentor. He bought me a concordance and interlinear Bible. I still have those resources and will be eternally grateful for his friendship.
What does your typical Bible study or devotional time look like?
I am part of a discipleship community that has a set reading each day. Typically, it is a chapter or less. That is the start. I take some notes in a journal I keep. I write anything that stands out to me, questions I might have or a way of reframing what I just read. Also, I will read Scripture in another portion of the Bible. If the reading is Old Testament, then I will read something in the New Testament just to keep it balanced. Ironically as I type this, that is not the case. I am reading 1 Samuel 18 today and will also be reading Daniel 7. After reading I write down prayer requests and spend some time in prayer. I also make a one sentence statement to myself “To pursue biblical manliness today I will…” and then write something that I feel is needed or that God is leading me to for that particular day.
What are you currently studying?
I am currently studying Daniel. I am also studying 1 Samuel for an online teaching that I do. But right now I am going through Daniel. I typically outline the chapter, make some notes or summarize what I am reading. Once the outline is established for the book or chapter then I will go back and dig deeper or seek what the original meaning or intent was, especially if it is something I am going to teach. I just finished Ephesians from this summer. It is an incredible letter in so many ways and you cannot help but continually get glimpses of how God’s grace just overwhelms Paul.
What do you do when you get in a funk in your studies?
The discipleship community really helps. I have not missed a day this year. That doesn’t mean all the days were great, but I have showed up each day. To get out of my funk I try to outline books of the Bible, like Daniel or 1 Samuel. I might do a character study of someone like Mordecai or Barnabas. To focus on the story that is being told or trying to see things from the perspective of the person in the text has been a good way for me to find the joy in it again.
Everything in life gets redundant from time to time if there is nothing new from it—marriage, parenting, jobs, etc. God’s Word is living and active, but many times our hearts are not. For me, breaking the monotony helps wake me back up to how powerful this book is.
Do you have any favorite tools you use often in your studies, whether it be books or software?
I had Logos software when I went through Bible college and it saved me. For me I love books about books. I prefer a commentary about a book, one that can focus all its pages on Acts, or Exodus etc. A commentary that I have really enjoyed as a pastor that helps me outline sermon series and put the text into simple language is the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary. Several pastors have joined together to put it together and it has been a blessing.
What’s one tip you’d give our readers to encourage them in their studies?
Outline what you are reading. I can get so bored so quickly when I read the Bible. But when I begin to chart out the people, where they are going, order of events, etc. to me it is like building a story. I am so ADD sometimes that I can start a text, and then find myself checking email. Outlining the text, even when it is a small portion helps it come alive.
I would also say get in the Word, even when you don’t feel like it. For me Sundays are the toughest. I spent all morning on a text and with people. The last thing I want to do many times is get back in the Bible. I want to sit and not think. Creating the discipline of being in the Word of God in all seasons will carry you through and help you mature in your faith. It is incredible to me that the more I am in the Word of God the more that God reveals to me about Himself and who I am.
Where you experience real growth is when you begin to apply it to your life, living it out and helping others do the same. I really like Ezra 7:10 that says “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”
Catch You Next Time
If you want to find out more about Jarrett Samuels and the Pursuit of Manliness check out his website ThePursuitofManliness.com. If you’re a man, I strongly encourage you to join the private Facebook group and interact with other men who are striving to live godly lives. Subscribe to the podcast and YouTube channel. Do all the things! You won’t regret it!
Until next time, grace & peace!
Weekly Study Prompts
This week, meditate and journal on the following passages:
- Monday – Acts 15-16
- Tuesday – Galatians 1-3
- Wednesday – Galatians 4-6
- Thursday – Acts 17-18:17
- Friday – 1 Thessalonians 1-2
- Memory Verses: Acts 17:11, 24-25