"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.'" - John 8:31-32 NASB
There are many ways to approach studying God's Word. Below is one approach to personal Bible study that Priscilla Shirer shared at the Going Beyond simulcast event today in Orlando, FL. (This is just ONE WAY to approach scripture study... not the only way.)
1. POSITION YOURSELF to hear from God. Position yourself both physically and spiritually to get the most out of your time in the Bible. Physically: reduce distractions as much as possible. Spiritually: come with a heart and mind that EXPECT to get something of great value out of your time in the Word, and come with a knowledge and acceptance of your dependency on the Holy Spirit to help you fully grasp and apply what you read.
2. POUR OVER the passage and PARAPHRASE the major points. Read, re-read, focus on, think about, consider context, give as much attention to the text as time and the situation allow. Then write down the major points in your own words. Do not twist what you have read in anyway, just write down the major points simply, in your own words.
3. PULL OUT the spiritual principles. Is there a promise made? Is there a command to follow? Is there a sin to avoid? Is there an attribute of God or man described? Write down what you find.
4. POSE the question(s). Ask yourself questions that are based on what you've read and answer them honestly. Example: Do I need to adjust my thinking or actions based on what I've read? Does my life show that I really believe this scripture? etc.
5. PLAN obedience and PIN DOWN a day and way to obey. The whole point of studying scripture is to know God better and to conform our lives to His will. Don't get up from your time studying the Bible without deciding how and when you will obey what you've felt convicted about. We do not become the people God wants us to be through happenstance, we have to be willing to make strategic decisions regarding obedience to His Word and act on them over and over again.
An aside: Make a decision to never walk away from your time studying the Bible disappointed. Sometimes it will take days of digesting a particular passage before it sinks into our souls. Also, you NEVER know how God will use what you read that day in your life or in the life of someone else. You may get up from your Bible study time feeling a little bit perplexed, like you didn't really have any clear revelation that day, and then later that afternoon you will have a conversation with someone and discover that they need to hear the exact Word from God that He gave you that morning. Our time in scripture should not just benefit us, but benefit those we come in contact with.
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!