Over the weekend, I attended a terrific women’s retreat with over one hundred ladies from the local church and surrounding community. During the three day retreat, we enjoyed sound Biblical teaching, powerful periods of prayer, and emotional times of encouragement.
On the final day of the retreat, the speaker reminded us of the importance of digging deeply into God’s Holy Word. She encouraged us to make time for a daily and in depth period of Bible study. She challenged us to move beyond surface skimming devotional reads and encouraged us to adopt a longer, deeper, and more intense time of personal study. Why? Because independent at home Bible study is necessary for spiritual growth.
Starting an independent at home Bible study can be a daunting task especially when trying to find a starting place among 66 books and hundreds of chapters. If we become frustrated, we may be tempted to give up and return the false comforts of surface level devotions. But beware, those short devotions are mere appetizers and they alone cannot satisfy our hunger for the huge spiritual helpings only found in God’s Holy Word.
During my study time, I had been using the SOAP Method with a reasonable amount of success. (If you’re not familiar with the SOAP method, please hop over to Christian Homeschool Moms and read my post which describes the method in detail.) But after researching other methods of personal Bible study, I’m now using another method known as the Discovery Bible Study Method.
I have found the Discovery Bible Study Method to be an effective and easy to use method of study. Here’s how I modified the method for my personal use.
Step 1: I begin with prayer. I ask God to bring His Word to life and ask Him to make the scriptures I need to study known to me. I also ask that He focus my mind and remove any distractions that threaten to interrupt my time of independent study.
Step 2: I create a chart divided into three columns. The first column is titled What It Says, the second column is titled What It Means, and the third column is titled What I Will Do. This chart stays inside my Bible Study Binder so I can access it easily. (You can print out a chart or use a sheet of lined notebook paper.)
Step 3: I select what to read. I prefer to select a book of the Bible and read a chapter of the book each day. Side note: if you’re unsure where to start I recommend reading one of two books. John gives a thorough description of Christ’s life and works, while Proverbs includes practical and easy to understand advice for daily living.
Step 4: I read. I slowly and carefully read the chapter, paying close attention to any verses that address my current life situations or areas in which I need to grow. I use my highlighter to make note of such verses and refer to a commentary or Bible dictionary for additional information about the chapter I’m reading.
Step 5: I write. After reading the chapter, I complete the chart column by column. In the first column, What It Says, I write down, word for word, the verses I believe God wants me to focus on. Sometimes this will be a single verse, other times it will be a passage of verses.
Next, in the What It Means column, I rewrite the verses using my own words. This helps me better understand what I’ve just read and also prepares me to share the verses with others.
Finally, I use the What I Will Do column to describe how I will apply what I’ve read. I specifically note what I will do, and when possible, I include dates for completion. Recording these actions and milestones encourages me to be a doer and not just a hearer of God’s Holy Word.
And that’s it. When I read a new chapter the next day, I begin the process all over again.
I have found this method of study has helped me in three distinct ways. I am reading more of God’s Word than ever before. In addition, I am more disciplined during my devotional time, and finally I am applying the Bible’s life changing principles to my life.
I invite you to join me in this method of study. In fact, you can begin today. Click the Download button to get your free copy of the Bible Study Chart. It’s my gift to you!
© 2015, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.