Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 3: Ifs and Thens

Get the book! Thirty Days in Colossians 3 is now available as a paperback, PDF, or Kindle book.

We’re ready to start focusing on Chapter 3! From now on, we will be reading the chapter almost every day, looking for different words and thoughts every time we read.

Assignment: Read Colossians 3. Start by praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Then, as you read the chapter, use a pen or colored pencil to circle the word “if” every time you see it. Depending on the translation you are reading, you should see the word at least twice. The NIV only uses it once.

Resist the temptation to skim the passage, looking for the word. Read the entire chapter again. Every time you read the chapter, you will become more familiar with it, and that is our goal!

After you have finished finding the “ifs”, go back and read the rest of the sentence that follows the “if phrase”. The word “if” is usually followed by a “then”. The actual word “then” is not always there, but it is implied.

Here are some simple examples:

  • “If you are tired, you should go to bed.” What does the sentence say we should do if we’re tired? We should go to bed. (Sigh. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always do that when we’re tired? :-)) The word “then” is not actually in the sentence, but it is implied. If we’re tired, then we should go to bed.
  • “If you hit your sister, you will be disciplined.” If Daniel hits his sister, then he will be disciplined.

Returning to Colossians 3, verse 1 opens with the word “if” (unless you are reading in the NIV). “If you have been raised with Christ…”

Look carefully at the verse. If you have been raised with Christ, what should you do? Underline this part of the verse. I also like to draw an arrow at the beginning of these phrases. The arrow helps me see the connection between the “if phrase” and the “then phrase”.

Continue reading, underlining the other “then phrase” in the chapter.

Go back and read the verses you have marked. Record them in your notebook. These are clear instructions that God is giving us in His Word. Think about these commands. Are you obeying them? Meditate on these verses as you go through your day, and ask God to give you the grace to obey them.

Thanks for joining us! Feel free to leave comments, sharing what you are learning with the rest of us. See you tomorrow!

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  1. I just wanted to thank you for these blog posts! This is such an encouragement to me, a homeschooling mother of five whose youngest is 5 weeks old. I’ve been reading the Bible since my baby’s been born, but I haven’t really had the time (or so I though!) to study right now. Thank you for giving me the tools to do just that, even in this crazy-busy-wonderful time. 🙂

  2. Thank you. Your years of study and wisdom have combined with a compassion for those who are new to carving out Bible Study time. I love inductive study and personal devotions, but I’ve had a hard time sharing that with those who want to start. I am in awe of this series that is simple, but deep.

  3. I had some time this foggy misty morning – so I pulled out a couple of versions. I was thinking I’d use a version different from my favorite – so I might not quickly browse the familar text. But then, I discovered I love my familiar text. What a joy, that we live in an age, to not only allow our family publically displayed bible in our home, but for each member of our family to have their own personal copy, and for us crazies, a version of just about every sort, printed and online. I was thankful today for our freedom. One word that I’m going to look up is Mortify – used in in place of death. . . .Enjoyed the if/then reading!
    Picked out which bible I will use for my marking.

  4. I had a short lesson in expectations while tackling this one. I expected both ifs to be at the beginning of a sentence. So after reading the chapter two or three times in my Bible and not finding it, I thought maybe it was my translation. So I went to BibleGateway and read it again in NASB. Didn’t see it. Then in NKJV. Didn’t see it. Finally, since I’d read the chapter enough to not feel like I’d be cheating myself in doing so, I used CTRL+F to find the ifs in the chapter. And once I saw where it was, it had been in every single version I was reading, I just hadn’t seen it because it wasn’t where I expected it. And that feels like maybe a little extra lesson. Sometimes God gives us instructions we don’t see because they aren’t where we expect them.

  5. I’ve always been good at school, I usually understand things quickly. However, I do find that with spiritual and emotional things, I do not usually understand them quickly, they don’t quite make sense to my intellectual mind. I long to really understand scriptures at the heart level, things like v.3 “for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Emphasis mine)

  6. The Bible I am reading is an NIV print. For some reason, there are no “if”s in there in chapter 3. So, I had to cheat and look online. The online version of the NIV has the “if” in verse 13 but not my printed one. I thought I was going blind. Glad I solved the mystery and I was able to add this command to my little index card.
    Thank you to @Debra C for the suggestion.

  7. Ok, I must be blind, cause I’m not seeing any IFs. I got the first one in verse one because then was in the sentence. I use the NIV 1984 version.

    • I just checked the 1984 NIV online, and their translation is structured in a way that does not include the word “if”. You might want to check out another translation, just so you can see where the word is used and the instruction that is being given to us. Sorry for your frustration!

  8. Convicted about some folks that I need to “readily pardon.” Why does it feel so important to hang on to that stuff? I wonder if it is because I’m trying to fight my own battles in my own strength for my own ends? Help me, Jesus to forgive and to be patient with your sanctifying work in others.

    Thank you so much for your blog. May the Lord bless you.

  9. Thank you for leading us in this!
    I only started today, but saw your posts on Facebook last week.
    I had to dig in our NKJV to find the ‘ifs’, because my personal Bible is NLT.
    I wrote down both versions in my notebook, because I thought they both were so powerful.

    This is such a blessing to me right now.
    I am looking forward to my mornings again.

  10. Just starting this today, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. 🙂