Three Little Mice and Online Bible Studies?

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2024

In a small, dim corner of an unkempt kitchen in an abandoned cottage, there lived three little mice: Lucy, Theo, and Mia. A gentle young man named Oliver, who was exploring the forest, stumbled upon the cottage and discovered the mice as he looked through a broken window. And immediately, he wanted to rescue them from the pitiful cottage and bring them to his own house where he could care for them. But he felt that it would be too traumatic for them if he just captured them and carried them off to his home. So he decided to lead them on a journey through the dark and forbidding forest that lay beyond their cramped quarters.

Oliver left a small crumb of cheese outside the cottage door, knowing they would find it the next day. He left another crumb at the edge of the dark forest. He also arranged a line of pebbles pointing toward the forest, hinting that there was more if they ventured out.

Sure enough, the next day, the mice discovered Oliver’s clues. Lucy, fueled by a yearning for adventure and freedom, eagerly expressed that they should follow the clues into the forest, her determination reflecting in the early morning sun.

Theo, ever the pragmatic thinker, approached the idea with cautious optimism. He took the time to study each piece of cheese and the pebbles arranged on the ground. He concluded there were risks but felt like they were being beckoned on a journey.

Mia, with her gentle heart and empathetic nature, expressed concern for the uncertainties of such a journey but sensed that someone was guiding them to follow hope. She encouraged the others that if they stuck together, they would be alright.

As they ventured into the shadowy depths of the forest, Oliver never showed himself but acted as their guide, leading them along winding paths and through dense thickets. He provided subtle hints and encouragement along the way, one crumb at a time.

When they encountered a treacherous ravine, Lucy forged ahead, blazing a trail for the others. When they had to crawl through a menacing thicket of brambles, Theo studied the scene and devised a route that they were able to navigate. And when eerie sounds of nocturnal creatures echoed all around them, Mia encouraged the others, reminding them that the one who was guiding their journey would also keep them safe. The mice pressed on, fueled by a sense of hope and determination instilled in them by Oliver's clues and each other.

Finally, as they emerged from the oppressive darkness of the forest into the soft glow of dawn, Lucy, Theo, and Mia realized the true significance of their journey. They had not only escaped the confines of their unfavorable living conditions but had also discovered a newfound sense of freedom and belonging as Oliver revealed himself to be the architect of their journey. This wise figure had led them toward a brighter future out of love and compassion. They ate cheese from his hand and that night, they fell asleep on a pillow next to his. 

Cute story, isn’t it? What in the world does this have to do with online Bible studies? Well, it simply illustrates something that each of us already knows, but likely few of us have applied to our devotional lives. Like the little mice in the story, we are on a journey, and everybody has different, unique personalities. 

That’s it. That’s the point I want to make.

In the story, the way each mouse interpreted the clues left by Oliver was directly connected to their unique personalities. The way they applied their personal interpretation approaches to encourage and challenge each other also reflected their personalities. There are some similarities in the story to following Jesus if you don’t overthink the analogy too much. Studying the Bible is sort of like the mice studying those clues. And the way each person approaches and applies Biblical study is a reflection of their unique personality.

Studying Scripture is about knowing God. It is not just about gathering information or learning a moral code. God has revealed himself and His character through the miracle of the Bible. We understand his character as we watch how He worked in the lives of people throughout history. We glimpse His glory and mystery through the poetry and prophecy of the Word. It is a great adventure.

We use the revelation of God given to us through the Scriptures to live our lives and encourage others on the journey. But what many people do not consider when they think about reading and studying the Bible is that Bible studies, and devotional practices in general, are not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. Because each of us has a unique personality, there are certain approaches to reading and studying Scripture that appeal to each of us uniquely. Those unique insights, in turn, strengthen other believers when we share them. One believer studies the Word and uses the insights to lead. Another studies the Scriptures and breaks down the information into details, clarifying the meaning for others. Yet another takes the same insights and uses them to encourage others to stick together and keep going.

Kenneth Boa recently released an updated version of his book Conformed to His Image (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2001, 2020) in which he applies a critical link to understanding one’s personal devotional practices. The critical link is to consider devotional practices as they relate to individual personalities. I think we have missed much by not considering the individual personalities of believers when advising them about their personal devotional habits.

In the church where I serve as lead pastor, we use personality assessments and spiritual gifts tests to help believers understand how they were uniquely designed by God. We have found that when people understand their personalities and their God-given gifts, it is easier for them to see where they can serve in the local church.

But when we talk about Bible study, prayer, and devotional practices, I don’t think we emphasize enough that different devotional practices fit different people in the same way that different areas of service in the church do.

I’d like to offer my opinions about some online Bible studies that I think would be helpful to you, especially if you are new to having daily devotionals. But before I recommend some study models, I want you to think about your personality. God uniquely designs your personality, and there are some daily devotional approaches that will work better for you than others.

Although his work is a bit technical, Boa tries to bring the various personality categories into perspective as he teaches about individual spiritual growth. Using twelve “facets” (approaches) of spiritual growth compiled from the theories behind personality sorter tests (e.g. Meyers & Briggs’ Personality Sorter) and spiritual gifts tests, he attempts to create a practical guideline for spiritual formation.

When considering what online Bible study would be effective in your walk with God, you should consider what kind of personality and spiritual gifts God has given you.

In the spirit of appealing to those of you who like details (because the rest of you are going to scan the list quickly anyway), Boa’s twelve categories are briefly defined:

  • Relational spirituality: Discovering how loving God completely can move the believer into the security he or she needs in order to have a God-centered / others-focused approach to living.
  • Paradigm spirituality: Shifting the believer’s perspective from the temporal to the eternal can help redefine his or her priorities and practices.
  • Disciplined spirituality: Relying on the classic Christian disciplines (e.g., daily study, self-denial, modest living, etc.), this approach reaches for a balance between radical dependence on God and practical application of Christian principles.
  • Exchanged-life spirituality: Emphasizing the importance of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection can help to move the believer from works to a grace orientation.
  • Motivated spirituality: Examining people's motivations as we seek to satisfy our needs for safety and significance, this approach focuses on Christ as the ultimate center of one’s life and the only proper source of motivation and fulfillment.
  • Devotional spirituality: This approach stresses intimacy with God and explores what it means to enjoy and trust Him.
  • Holistic spirituality: Breaking down the tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual from the secular, this approach emphasizes the lordship of Christ in such a way that even the most mundane components of life become expressions of love and worship.
  • Process spirituality: Highlighting that believers are human beings rather than human doings, this model focuses on being faithful to the process of life instead of living from one product to the next.
  • Spirit-filled spirituality: Considering how to appropriate the love, wisdom, and power of the Holy Spirit, this approach stresses the biblical implications of the Holy Spirit as a personal presence operating daily in one’s life.
  • Warfare spirituality: Developing strategies for dealing with barriers to spiritual growth, this approach centers on pressing through tests, trials, and temptations to become more like Christ.
  • Nurturing spirituality: This approach stresses that the believer’s highest call in ministry is to reproduce the life of Christ in others.
  • Corporate spirituality: Emphasizing the importance of community (i.e. the local church), this model reaches for individual growth through understanding the purpose and nature of the church, servant leadership, accountability, and other related elements of growing in a corporate community.

The online studies I will recommend will be nowhere near this technical. They will be very simple and apply to broader, easier-to-understand personality categories.

If you have never taken a personality sorter or a spiritual gifts test, try one this week. For a quick, free personality test, try For a free spiritual gifts test, try However, with this website, you do have to submit your email address before you can read your results.

Next week, I’ll share some suggested online studies that represent different approaches to devotional practices. Knowing your personality type will help you select a study that you will be more likely to benefit from as you seek God each day.


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