Thursday, September 03, 2015

How to Read the Bible ~ Part 2

...the Spirit who is from God...not in words taught by human wisdom but in those taught by the Spirit, [teaches] combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 NASB

To study the Bible for knowledge alone defeats the purpose of God providing this gift of sacred writings. To study the Bible celebrates the "process of inspiration" by which God speaks, turning spiritual thoughts into spiritual words. As the Holy Spirit infuses the words, these Living words speak spiritual wisdom full of truth and life lessons full of hope. First, to study the Bible, the heart and mind and soul must be seeking God. Approach reading the Bible with an open heart.

As noted last week, various tools and techniques already exist to enhance Bible Study. Rick Warren's book, Bible Study Methods, offers a dozen different ways and is another good reference if you are looking for some new ideas. These blog posts could not possibly examine all the methods; instead, I offer you general suggestions of how to approach a Scripture passage. Consider the SOAP method: SCRIPTURE, OBSERVATION, APPLICATION, PRAYER. SCRIPTURE: Choose a Scripture. Read it and perhaps write it out. OBSERVATION: What is happening in the passage? Who is present? What is the message? What lesson is to be learned? APPLICATION: What does God want me to learn? How does this change me or my attitude or my actions? What will I do to implement this into my daily living? PRAYER: Say or write a prayer to God. Ask Him to open your eyes and make your heart tender to His guiding. Pray for insight into the message He is giving you.

Personally, as I read the Bible each day, I keep a devotional journal. Sometimes I write down a Scripture, some phrase from a devotional book that speaks to me, or a thought that comes to mind when reading. On the side, I sometimes jot a note of particular prayers for that day, while I keep many prayer requests in the back of my journal. There are times I journal my heart, give voice to the chaos or the celebrations deep inside. Other times, my soul writes a prayer, either in the form of a petition or a simple plea or a heart-full praise. Sometimes, I write nothing at all. God usually has a special word from Scripture for me as I start each new journal (whenever the other one ends). I put that in the front under 'journey notes'. At the end of that journey (whenever the journal is full), I look back through, finding ancient words living on new pages, grace exposing my heart, resolutions surrounding my prayers, words revealing new insights. Between the pencil marks and pasted quotes, beside the wordless-wonder and salty-prayers, within the Sacred Texts scribbled and the coffee drips, these pages retell my journey with a Holy God. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 2 Timothy 3:17 The Message 
~ dho

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