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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion


Jennifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose past would spill over into her present if it weren't for the healing power of God's word.

As an avid reader and teacher of God's word, Jennifer says her new book, Dive Deeper:  Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion is about offering people a relationship not a religion and equipping them to study Scriptures for themselves.

Jernigan says she's a church girl, a preacher's kid and grew up in the church, knowing all the things about the church - the lingo, the rules, and the traditions.  "But there was a hug disconnect between me and God.  My head was full of Jesus stories, but the deep places of my heart were empty, craving more."

So as Jernigan started reading, she started writing.  "I made a choice to dive deeper into God's Word because I needed Jesus - not religion, or tradition, or denominational mandates.  I just needed Jesus and His Word.  Diving deeper into Scriptures has been on of the hardest things I've ever done.  I'm no academic scholar and in school was challenged.  I need something simple and that's where d.i.v.e. comes in."

In her book, Jennifer uses the acronym d.i.v.e., which stands for:
Define, Investigate, Visualize, Embrace.  Using an in-depth study method, the book starts with the basics of getting to know your Bible, its contents and study helps and moves forward into how to engage the Scriptures and understand what you are reading.

Dive Deeper is an in-depth study of the book of Ephesians.  In the introduction and first section of the book, Jernigan clearly and succinctly lays out the reason, benefits and carefully explains the "how" of in-depth Bible study.  Don't let the words "in-depth" scare you away!  Jernigan shows how easy and satisfying a careful and close look at God's word really is!

The book then falls into 6 sections/17 lessons that take you through the book of Ephesians chapter by chapter.  I found the Appendixes to be extremely helpful.  Included are:  Bible study tools, simple guide to finding the right Bible, getting to know your Bible, investigative questions that lead to important spiritual discoveries, and implant, embrace, enact - a guide to scripture memorization.

Jernigan explains that the key to really understanding and applying the Scriptures is what she calls "getting below the surface into the depths of the passage.  Diving into the book of Ephesians has been pivotal for me in my move from shallow religion to deep faith and relationship with Jesus.  Ephesians taught me that in Christ is my place of healing, living, and worth. It showed me who I am before Jesus, a reality that helped me understand the magnitude of God's love and grace."

The greatest treasure here is that Jernigan takes the book of Ephesians and shows you how to study the Bible by giving you the tools and teaching you the methods so that you can then go to the other 65 books of the Bible and dive deep for the treasures of God in those portions of scripture.

I am grateful for Jenifer's gift to us through Dive Deeper!  So many times women's Bible studies are nothing more than sentimental stories with a few scriptures thrown in for good measure.  Jenifer gives you the "meat" of God's divine revelation of Himself through His word and she teaches us how to "chew" and apply His word to our lives.

I will be suggesting the use of the inscribed resources to the Bible study groups in which I have contact.

The other three inscribed resources available March 2014 along with Dive Deeper:

  • Living So That:  Making Faith-filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life by Wendy Blight
  • Living Ordinary:  Encounter God through Extraordinary Prayer by Donna Gaines
  • Amazed and Confused:  When God's Actions Collide with our Expectations by Heather Zempel

Thank you Trae Gardner and The Blythe Daniel Agency for having a complimentary copy of the book sent to me for the purpose of this review!