The Words in the Bible should transform us. Do you ever read the Bible and then walk away and you can’t remember a word you read? I have done that time and time again. I finally decided it was time to figure out a method of study that would help me understand the Bible better, apply what I learned to my own life, remember what I read, and most important, help me understand the Triune God better. (If you have never heard the term “Triune God” before, it is the same as the Trinity. Three in One: God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.) I desire to know these three more intimately. Intimate knowledge transforms.
In this quick method, I read and then answer a series of questions. I choose to write the answers out in a notebook because that helps me both focus and remember what I read. You could also take your notes electronically. You will want to decide how much time you have to study, where you will study, and how you will take your notes.
Taking about 15 minutes and studying a chapter a day will take you a little over three years to complete the entire Bible. I do my study first thing in the morning. Then I reread that day’s chapter again before bedtime. I chose to write my notes in a notebook. You can do as I do or set up your file on your tablet etc. I do notes in two sections. I answer the seven questions below in one section. Then I rewrite everything I learn about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (Questions 2, 3, and 4) in the back. See 8 below for further detail on this step.
The following may appear complicated but in truth, it is a very simple method of study. Don’t be afraid of it. In a separate post called Quick Bible Study Worksheet, I have listed out the questions along with a very brief description for each.
ALWAYS PRAY FIRST. Here are the questions to answer.
- What is happening in the text?
- What do I learn about God the Father in the text?
- What do I learn about Jesus Christ or how does the text point to Him?
- What do I learn about the Holy Spirit?
- What is the lesson in the passage?
- How does what I learned apply to my life?
- What steps can I take today to apply what I have learned?
- In the back of your notebook, write down the answers you wrote to questions 2,3, and 4. I do them on separate sheets so I can see all I learned about Jesus on one, God the Father on another, and the Holy Spirit on the third. As you see this list grow, you will find you have a powerful list of the attributes and activity of the Triune God. There will be your intimate knowledge of God. I use the list in prayer to praise God each day.
- Praise the Lord for what you have learned today.
My process: I make my oatmeal then sit at the table. While I eat, I read the chapter through the first time. After I have read the chapter through, I go back and start writing down the answers to each of the seven questions. By the time I am done, I have read the chapter multiple times. I then rewrite all I’ve learned about God on separate sheets. The text may not always mention God, in that case, I just leave it blank.
I started in Genesis but will intermix Psalms, Proverbs, and the New Testament (NT) books with the Old Testament (OT). While I love the OT, sometimes I get bogged down in the first five books because so much is repeated, in particular the laws. Interjecting the Psalms and NT books helps break that up but also reminds me that the OT is the beginning of the NT and they go together. Where should you start? Pray about it. God will show you where to start. My personal recommendation, if you have never read the Bible before, would be to start in the NT with Matthew and work your way through the entire NT, then go back and study the OT.
If you have more time to spend studying, either spend more time in the chapter, or do more chapters each day. It’s very flexible. Prior to rereading the chapter at night, I mentally try to recall the happenings of the chapter I read that morning. Then I read to see how I did. In my daily process, I read, write, recall, and reread. Because I’ve gone over the text several times, I remember too.
I thought to give you an example of how I answered the questions in Genesis, Chapter 1. The Holy Spirit directs so you might see things I didn’t include here.
- What is happening in the text? God is creating the earth and everything in it. He had to merely speak and it came into being. He did it in a specific order.
(I read the following while studying for my Masters and found it fascinating so I include it here.) His order:
|Day One: Light and Dark, Day and Night||Day Four: Sun, Moon and Stars|
|Day Two: Sky and Water Below||Day Five: Birds and Living Creatures in Sea|
|Day Three: Seas/Land separated, Vegetation||Day Six: Livestock, Creatures that Crawl,
Wildlife, Man and Woman
He found it all to be good. He gave dominion over all His creation to the man he created. Man was made in His image. Told to be fruitful and multiply.
- What do I learn about God the Father in the text? He was present at the creation of the world. We are made in His image.
- What do I learn about Jesus Christ or how does the text point to Him? He created everything. We don’t know this from this chapter. Instead, we learn he specifically created everything in John 1:3. Demonstrates that you have to take the entire Bible into consideration when studying it. Jesus found what He created to be good. Powerful. Provider. Creative.
- What do I learn about the Holy Spirit? Verse 2 lets us know the Spirit was also present at creation. His Spirit was hovering over the waters.
- What is the moral or point of the passage? God personally created the world and saw that is was good. He created a perfect world with man having dominion over it. He provided exactly what His creation needed to survive.
- How does what I learned apply to my life? God created a perfect world. I need to praise God for the perfection He created. If God can create such complex perfection, he can take care of my little problem. And He will provide exactly what I need.
- What steps can I take today to apply what I have learned? Find songs that specifically praise Him for His creation. Pray and thank Him for His perfect creation. Praise Him for his power to just speak it into existence. Add this thank you and praise to my prayer list for today. Meditate on the perfect world He created and His plan which we learn about later in Scripture to restore that perfection. Pray and trust Him to take care of me.
- Write your responses to questions 2, 3, and 4 in back of notebook. Note that you found them in Genesis, Chapter 1 for later reference. I just do a heading with the book, then before each note under that chapter, write the number of the chapter it came from and circle it.
To use this method in a discussion group or during family devotions, just discuss each person’s answers to the different questions. You will be amazed at the similar and yet different answers people have to the same questions. Learning from each other is another opportunity to study the same passages.
Again, this is my method and it works very well for me. Feel free to adapt it to your specific needs. The important thing is to have a method that helps you dig deeper into the Word, learn about the Triune God, and live a transformed life.
awomansheart.co October 17, 2016