Bible Study Recommendations for Young Adults

These Bible study recommendations for young adults are for Bible study on a personal, individual level, not for a group. I have two reasons for choosing this level, the personal, individual level. The first is that I noticed that there is so much literature already on Bible study on a group level, either in Sunday school or in catechism classes or in other formal and informal groups, but there is so little on the personal, individual level. My second reason is that in my opinion there are more benefits to be derived from a Bible study on an individual level than on a group level. Very many who attend a group Bible study do not really develop their Christian life. They just go and grow with the group. At least this has been my personal experience, both in participating and in leading Bible study groups.

My Experience of Bible Study

I began to read and study the Bible on my own (without any human teacher or parent telling me to do it) when I was 8 years old but it was only when I was 49 years old that I got the full benefit of studying the Bible. I am now 65 years old.

If somebody guided me correctly when I was a young adult of 20 to 40 years old on how to study the Bible maybe I would have gotten this full benefit from studying the Scriptures earlier and I would have more years of enjoying this benefit. As it happened I have enjoyed this benefit for 16 years only as of now, instead of a possible 45 years, missing some 29 years when I could have enjoyed the full benefit of studying God’s written Word.

When I was 26 years old I enrolled in a subject on studying the Bible. But this was for preaching purposes. It was basically a course on how to get to the real meaning of a Biblical passage in order to share this with the church members by preaching. I learned a lot in this course but it did not give me the full benefit of Bible study. It was only 23 years later that I got the full benefit.

It is my hope and fervent desire that young adults who read these recommendations and do them will get the full benefit of Bible study while they are still young and strong and thus enjoy this full benefit many, many years before they leave physically this planet Earth. It is understood and presumed that they do have the motivation to study the Bible on their own. After knowing through this article what this full benefit of Bible study is they may be encouraged to study the Bible on their own and not depend on a group leader or pastor or priest or catechist to teach them about the Word of God.

One: Get a Good Translation of the Bible

In the English language the translation that I recommend is the so-called King James or Authorized version. I am a Catholic and yet I recommend this translation for personal study of the Bible. I know some of the words there are foreign to a present day reader. They are called archaic words which belong to the English language in the 16th century but are no longer used now. But there are copies of this version where at the back of the Bible there is a Bible word list where these words are given equivalents in our time. Get a copy of such a King James version Bible. Many groups of Christians are giving out this copy free. Avail of one.

The reason why I recommend this translation of the Bible is because it is the one I consider done by the translators with the utmost reverence and so the unction of the Spirit can be felt most from this translation than from other translations. In my opinion it is the version that is most congenial for praying. And it has produced more holy men and women than any of the other translations.

From the point of scholarship and readability there are other better translations. The New International Version Bible may be better from the point of scholarship. The New Living Bible is far better from the point of view of readability. But from the perspective of a genuine, reverential, loving study of the Bible, I recommend the King James version. It is only a recommendation. You can use another version if you want.

Two: Have a Conversational Mode of Relationship with the Holy Spirit

As you begin to set yourself to study the Bible have a conversational mode of relationship with the Holy Spirit. Look up to him as your teacher, for he is indeed the best teacher of the Scriptures. After all he was the one who wrote them. Thank him for writing these and ask him to help you understand their content. Anytime that you think you need to know about the meaning of a passage, ask him first. He will be the one to direct you to a Bible dictionary or a commentary if needed. Be attentive to him always as you set about to study the Bible.

Third: Begin Studying with the First Book of the New Testament

Do not begin with Genesis or any other book of the Old Testament. Begin with the New Testament and begin with Matthew. The reason for this is because it is easier to understand the Old Testament after you have read the New Testament. There is a saying that the Old is in the New explained and the New is hidden in the Old. This means that the New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament and it explains the meanings of the words in the Old Testament. So, if you know the explanation of the Old Testament passages by reading the New Testament, it is easier to understand them later.

Another reason for beginning with the New Testament is because using the method that I am going to show you you can use this method more easily and with more profit if you use it first with the New Testament and only later with the Old Testament.

Fourth: Your Main Guide Question Is What Does This Passage Tell Me about Jesus?

Read only a small portion of the Bible. Maybe it is only a verse or few verses. Sometimes it may just be a phrase, a part of a verse. As you read this passage ask the Holy Spirit, What does this passage tell me about Jesus? Pause and listen for the answer. Then stop. Think about the answer given you. This may take only a minute or two or about 5 minutes. Sometimes it may be longer. But focus only on one character or description of Jesus.

The reason why I recommend this method is because our real life is hidden in Jesus and the more we know him the more we know ourselves and what we are supposed to be and do to be happy.

Almost all Bible study guides will tell you to reflect upon your life in the light of the passage read. In my experience this method does not really lead you to the full benefit of a Bible study. It will get you stuck thinking about your life, eventually forgetting about Jesus.

Five: Keep a Record of the Bible Verses You Have Read and the Descriptions or Insights about Jesus Given You by the Holy Spirit

This record is brief. It has the day and date when you studied the passage and the book, chapter and verse number or numbers you have studied for that day. Then you write in a sentence or two what the passage tells you about Jesus. Here is an example.

May 31 Thursday 2012. Matthew 1:1. Jesus descended from Abraham through David.

That’s all. The next day you proceed to verse 2, doing the same thing. And you continue until you get to the end of the New Testament. Then after the last verse of Revelation proceed to the Old Testament. Begin with Genesis. After you finish with the Old Testament you can go back to the New Testament. From time to time read your record of your Bible study. Sooner or later you will be given the full benefit of Bible study.

The Full Benefit of Bible Study

Throughout this article you may have noticed that I mention the words “full benefit of Bible Study”. If you follow this method prayerfully you will learn more and more of Jesus. Sooner or later you will come upon a passage where your spirit begins to understand all the mysteries of God. The conviction comes upon you that now you understand the Truth. When this happens keep a special record of this event in your life. This is the moment when you begin to see God face to face but darkly, like in a Roman mirror at the time of Paul the Apostle which was made of polished metal unlike today when our mirror is made of glass.

When you see God face to face while you are still on earth, you get the full benefit of Bible study because you are going to possess God himself. There is nothing greater than God. There is a sense in which you can say that your joy and happiness are full. That is why I call this full benefit.

Then you continue enjoying God for the rest of your life. This does not mean that you will no longer have problems or that you will no longer suffer. But in the midst of all these problems and sufferings you know you have God and with him you enjoy the full benefit of your salvation, the vision of God. And this happens while you are still living physically on earth.

Those are my Bible study recommendations for young adults so that while they are still young they can begin to enjoy the blessings of God himself, not just the blessings of the things God created for us, but he himself, the source of all blessings.

How To Help Your Child Develop Good Study Habits

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
— Aristotle

In order to continue the habit as long as possible, the habits should be developed in their earliest establish to begin with. It’s never too early to introduce your child to positive study habits, which will reward his or her endeavors throughout life. As parents, effective techniques must be studied in order to further the development of our children.

1. Become well established role models
Developing well established study habits for a child begins with parents. Just like the old adage, “it’s not what you say, it’s what you conduct.” Well established study habits should begin at a very young age; when a child is one to two years of age, he or she is ready to begin training in acquiring well established study habits. The initial lessons begin with his or her observing parents at work modeling well established study habits.

2. Install the love of studying
Let the child understand that studying is fun. Long before the child begins school, parents should begin to instill the love of studying. Read to the child, and ensure the house is well stocked with books and toys that stimulate his or her imagination. The more the child’s curiosity is stimulated, the more likely he or she is to be motivated to work hard and follow through to get the answers he or she wants.

3. Galvanize the child to conduct the best
Let the child understand the satisfaction of a job well conducted by attempting ones’ best, and finishing what he or she begins. Make sure the child understands that although parents like him or her to conduct well, conducting well in school is something he or she conducts primarily for himself or herself, so the child can be proud of him or herself and gain self-confidence.

4. Demonstrate persistence to the child
In order to establish well established study habits, parents need to assist the child to be persistent. The most important of all the habits is to be consistent in whatever he or she conducts. Being consistent is what makes great people and great lives.

5. Teach the child the consequences of responsibility
As students, conducting well in school is something children must conduct. It’s their responsibility to complete studying before he or she wants to conduct something else, such as playing games, watching TV. Conducting chores is also his or her responsibility as a family member.

6. Develop the child’s organizational skills
Assist the child organize things. For example, for toddlers, need to clean up toys after playing with them. For teenagers, need to organize assignments over weeks.

7. Assist the child study to manage time
Assist him or her organize a after-school schedule for every subject on a daily basis. This really assists the child be organized, be up-to-date or beyond on the school material. Establish a routine for completing schoolwork. Agree on a set time and stick to it. Ensure the child constructs regular study time into his or her schedule. Most tests are scheduled well in advance, and review each night will produce much better results than using last-minute studying method.

Guide a teen’s overall time commitments, ensure to take a balance on a part-time job, extracurricular activities, socializing and household chores. Teach the teen refocus on priorities.

8. Galvanize the child reading
Reading to a little child makes him or her like to read when older. Make sure the child enters his or her upper-grade studies with strong reading skills.

9. Galvanize the child to ask questions
Galvanize him or her to ask questions about the surrounding world to inspire his or her curiosity, which constructs his or her inner motivation to study.

10. Assist the child be an independent thinker
Parents can guide him or her to study by asking questions to make him or her think step by step.

11. Galvanize the child get prepared
Preparation is a basic principle to success. Whenever conduct a thing, we need be prepared. Galvanize the child to prepare the next day’s class.

12. Galvanize to conduct review
When studying any type of material, whether it is for an English, math or history test or any other type of test, it is important to comprehend what have studied. By reviewing regularly, one of the most basic and crucial study habits is enforced, which is going back over what have studied to ensure that it is understood. A studying process is actually a process of repetition.

13. Accommodate a well-established work space
The child should be allowed to work within the designated “study area” from distractions, his or her own desk would be recommendable. For students, after school, they need to be required to complete their homework within the study area. In this way, they can concentrate on studying with efficiency.

14. Check the child’s work periodically
Ask him or her to describe what the homework is, explain the project’s requirements, and what’s needed for completion, as well as the plans for next step.

15. Insist that careless work be recondite
To establish a serious study ethic is very important to a child. Assist him or her grow the attitude, which is one of the keys to success.

16. Audit the child’s study habits regularly
The best way to develop well established study habits in the child is to audit him and her; give praise when he or she is heading in the right direction and a kind remind when he or she is not. Both show that the parents care and promote improvement.

17. Give praise whenever possible
A sincere expression of pride in the child’s academic accomplishments can motivate him or her toward making studying a habit. By gaining self-confidence, he or she will conduct better.

18. Need patience
Developing well established study habits in a child is a studying process, which needs time. Prepare for any setbacks. If the child is not conducting well, remind him or her, conduct not blame him or her. Give him advice and be patient to watch his or her progress.

Assisting children in developing their life-long study habits requires much endeavor and involvement from parents-modeling, patience, and providing essential support. Everything has to be conducted according to their ages. At all times parents should look for ways to enrich the children’s studying experience and make it more enjoyable. The more the children enjoy school, the better their work habits are likely to be, and the more they will study, and their grades will experience dramatic improvement.

Contingencies in the Reserve Study

We are right in the middle of the reserve study busy season and are again being asked by a number of our clients whether or not it is permissible for them to have contingencies within their reserve study.

In some Associations, this is just a given. In other Associations, there are member factions that will react quite strongly against the inclusion of contingency in the reserve study.

There are a number of issues to consider when addressing the issue of adding a contingency factor into a reserve study.

1. Is a contingency reserve permissible under state statute?

2. Is a contingency reserve permissible under the Association’s governing documents?

3. Is a contingency line item permissible under tax law?

If you’re determined to have a contingency factor within your reserve study, once you get past the above issues, you then have a decision to make as to HOW contingencies will be included within the reserve study.

1. Will contingency be a separate line item expense within the study? If so:

-will it be a flat dollar amount?

-will it be a percent of current year expenditures projected in future years?

-will it be a percent of reserve fund assessments?

-will it be the excess operating income that is transferred annually from the operating budget?

2. If contingency is not treated as a line item within the report, can it then be factored into the study as a percentage of future expenditures?

And the last question:

3. Will your reserve software support the reserve calculation method you prefer?

As you can see, there a number of factors to consider in response to the simple question we are often asked of “Can we add a contingency factor to our reserve study?”

Some reserve preparers are adamantly opposed to ever including contingencies within the reserve study, perhaps because of the multiple unknowns identified above. Other reserve preparers don’t seem to have a particular problem with contingencies, but generally have a specific manner in which they prefer to present the contingencies.

Let’s take a look at each of these issues identified above:

1. State statutes – The answer to this is not as transparent as we may wish, simply because most state statutes are silent on the issue of contingencies. Statutes primarily address the physical common area components for which the Association has maintenance responsibility, if they address content of the reserve study at all. I have not seen contingency specifically listed within state statutes. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist; it just means that I haven’t seen it. Many interpret state statutes as being specific about reserves not being able to be included in the reserve study by the absence of a discussion on the matter. Others state that you are not necessarily prohibited from having a contingency reserve simply because it is not enumerated in statutes; many other things are also not specifically listed in statutes. However, depending upon how a contingency factor is added to the reserve study, it may not be an issue. (See item “2” above.)

2. Governing documents – The position here is very similar to that of state statutes. Most governing documents do not have any language at all that addresses the issue of contingency within the reserve study. Therefore you are left with the same question of whether or not it is permissible to include contingencies in the reserve study simply because of the absence of any language addressing the issue.

3. Tax law – For what may be the only time we can ever say this, the fact is that tax law is quite specific on the issue of contingencies within a reserve study. Many people may disagree with the following statement simply because it is exactly the opposite of what they have been told numerous times, but the fact is the IRS takes NO position with respect to contingencies in the reserve study.

The IRS cannot force any taxpayer (Association) to include or exclude ANY item from the reserve study. The only thing that the IRS can do is to react to what has been included in the reserve study by telling you the appropriate tax treatment of that item. While the HOA industry thinks in terms of operating versus reserve, the IRS thinks in terms of capital versus non-capital. They are not the same thing.

The IRS has issued three specific Revenue Rulings, 74-563, 75-370, and 75-371, all of which address the issue of reserves. All three rulings take the same position that for reserves to be excludable from taxable income under Internal Revenue Code Section 118 (contributions to the capital of a corporation), the reserve assessments must be for “specific capital purposes.” For that reason, IRS takes the position that contingency reserves, because they are not for a specific capital purpose, cannot qualify for the exclusion from taxable income under code section 118.

That is definitely not the same as saying that contingencies cannot be included in reserves, but it does reach a similar result. Why is this a critical distinction? Because many Associations are regularly including contingencies within their reserve study. How can they do that without incurring the wrath of the IRS? Simple! File Form 1120-H. On Form 1120-H, the IRS does not care if you included contingencies in your reserve study because the contingency reserve additions for any given year are considered to be exempt function income which is not taxable on Form 1120- H.

That is the exact opposite of the tax treatment on Form 1120. On Form 1120, the contingency reserve addition for the current year is considered to be “member” income, which means it gets added back to your operating income. If net member income is a positive amount in a given tax year, it will be considered taxable income unless the Association makes an election under Revenue Ruling 70-604.

Next, let’s look at the calculation methods identified above. These calculation methods can also have a very significant impact upon how the contingency factor is included within the reserve study, how it is perceived by readers of the report, and how it is treated for tax purposes.

In all variations above, the contingency factor is effectively presented as a line item within the reserve study, even though the methods of calculation may be different.

However, in the second option above, the contingency factor is spread out amongst all of the components of the reserve study and loses its identity as a separate contingency line item. In fact, it cannot even be seen within the reserve study, but it still exists.

Probably the easiest way to understand this is to conceptually treat the contingency the same as you would treat the inflation factor that is part of the reserve study. Let’s look at an actual example. If a component has a current replacement cost of $100,000, and you are using a 3% inflation factor, and a 1% contingency factor, then the replacement cost calculated in the reserve study one year from now will be $100,000 (currently placement cost) plus $3,000 (inflation for one year) plus $1,000 (contingency for one year) for a total estimated future replacement cost, including contingency, of $104,000. Imagine that same calculation being repeated for dozens of items within a reserve study, and you’ll see how the contingency factor can certainly exist but not be separately identifiable as a contingency line item.

Is this defensible from a tax standpoint? The answer is yes, because it is no different than an estimate for future inflation. That means it is part of an overall calculation that determines each year’s funding within the reserve study, although no part of it is separately identifiable as a contingency reserve.

The larger question is, “Should an Association have a contingency reserve?” Since all future costs, as well as future inflation and future interest earnings, are nothing more than estimates – no matter how sophisticated the calculations determining those estimates – there is little likelihood (a virtual impossibility) that future costs will occur exactly as planned. Therefore, many may consider a contingency factor to be a prudent judgment.

What if your Association is extremely underfunded and your current assessment structure makes it virtually impossible to raise reserve assessments to a level needed to bring the Association to a stable funding platform? Adding in an additional contingency factor that increases assessment requirements makes no sense in that scenario.

What if the Association is either very highly funded or even overfunded? Does it make sense to have the contingency factor then? It makes more sense then, but it still does not make it a necessity. It may be considered more prudent to recognize early on the highly funded or overfunded situation that exists, and reduce reserve assessments so that any overfunded situation works itself out.

Bottom line, there is no right or wrong answer to the issue of including a contingency factor in the reserve study. The reserve study belongs to the Association and it should reflect their best estimate of future major maintenance and replacement costs, and the funding plan that is appropriate for the Association.

Effective Study Skills That You Need to Know

The need to study for exams is one of the most stressful aspects about school, and therefore it is important to build effective study skills, which are study skills that truly help you understand and memorize the material. However, most students fall into the trap of being unprepared, simply studying the evening before a major test. This not only leaves one terribly nervous, but it also doesn’t help to achieve a high score. For those that would like to improve their studying, it is imperative to be familiar with the best methods that can help you do so. Below you will find the study methods that are the most effective for success on your exams.

Mindset

Your mind is a powerful tool that can not only intake and record information, but it can also be used to positively affect your study habits. Because the mind is malleable, you have the ability to influence outcomes. Therefore, when studying, it is important to do so with a positive mindset rather than that of drudgery, dislike, and even anger. This is one of the study skills that will help you succeed. In 2007, Stanford’s Psychology Professor Carol Dweck conducted a study on how mindset affects learning. According to her study, students that had a positive approach towards learning and exhibited the motivation to do so were more successful at understanding and learning the material than their negative-minded counterparts. So, when you study for exams, it is vital that you approach the task positively, expand your mind to enjoy the material, and even find the motivation within yourself. When you do what you love, you only do it better. With that, it is easy to understand why mindset is one of the most effective study skills.

The Right Place

It’s understandable, with all of the technology and media around, it is oftentimes quite difficult to disconnect. This results in you studying in front of your television, near your cell phone, or in a loud and rowdy environment. With that, you have also probably noticed that despite “studying” in such an area, your exam results were not as high as you expected. Well, there is a good reason for that, which is that your mind is terrible at focusing at more than one thing at once. According to the University of Minnesota, the best place to study is in a quiet space, such as your home desk or library. You also should use the same space for your study sessions, as the mind begins to adapt and understand that it is study time. This leads to an effective study skills so you can study for exams the right way. In addition, it is recommended that you turn your cellphone off and avoid television, as they just pose distractions.

Keep a Study Schedule

Just as the mind is adaptable, so is the body. One of the most effective study skills that you can adopt is to keep a study schedule. A study schedule is one way that you can always help yourself remember to study of exams. To help yourself adapt, you will want the scheduled time to be around the same time of day almost every day. The average time recommended for studying is about an hour each day, making this one of the simplest study skills you should adopt.

Flash Cards

Alright, while you may think that flash cards are a thing of the past, or they are just used for young kids, flash cards are actually an excellent study tool, making it one of the best study skills that you can use. Flash cards are perfect for memorizing material when you need to study for exams, and they are also a quick way to memorize information.

Frequently Review Material

Another one of the study skills you should adopt is frequently reviewing material (hint – flash cards). Doing so is a perfect way to study for exams, according to a study by UC San Diego School of Medicine. Frequently reviewing material helps your mind store the information in your long term memory, making it extremely easy to retrieve the information when you need it for an exam. You can help yourself actively memorize by creating summary charts of the information, using flash cards, rewriting the material, skimming the information and finding the “big picture,” and practicing application. Effective study skills are important, and adopting this one will certainly help you out.

Yourself

Lastly, while the material that you study is important, the real star of the show is you. Among the list of effective skills, the most effective skill is between it all is to take care of yourself. Chances are, if you are not sleeping well, eating healthily, getting the right exercise, and are not mentally prepared, you will find that success extremely difficult to achieve. Therefore, when you study for exams, the most effective study skills also include taking care of your body and your own needs while you use the above study skills to prepare for your exam. For more information on Getting Good Grades, check out the Good Grades Guide.