As promised earlier, here two methods of how to get the most out of your daily Bible study.
This method is easy and can be applied equally by children, youth, adults, students, professors and pastors. I learned it recently from a mentor and friend.
The method can be summarised in 4 simple steps:
1. Read the scripture. Re-read it. Then either write it out or paraphrase it in writing.
2. What does the scripture say? (i.e. write down, what the scripture says to you about God, about yourself, about humanity, … .)
3. What will you obey? (i.e. write down very specifically “I will …….. by ……”.)
4. Whom will you share this with? (i.e. write down very specifically “I will share …………… with…………….. by ……………” .)
Do not underestimate the impact this method will have on your reading of scripture! Specifically the 3rd and 4th point, make it a method of high impact, provided you have someone keeping you accountable to it!
This method takes time. It is good for intensive Bible study. (I have learned about this method in an STI seminar in Stellenbosch, South Africa and have since profited from this method a lot in my private Bible studies).
These are the basic steps that are followed:
1. prioritising the text: read the text, rather than comments of others first.
2. getting the big picture: understand the big picture, before zooming in on the details.
3. respecting the original context: the significance of the text in the ‘here & now’ is dependent on the meaning of the text in the ‘there & then’.
4. using progressing repetition: read the text repeatedly and progressively add more contextual information.
5. Interpretation: progress of elimination.
To clarify these five steps, allow me to do so on a very easy example:
1. Read the whole book of Jude (preferably without verse numbers, sub titles/headings, and as one solid text). Read it again. DO NOT READ footnotes etc.
2. Read it again and then try and categorize the text portions yourself, giving it your own outline.
3. Now read the outline on Jude in a study Bible. Then read the text again. Do you see how it changes?
4. Read the comments of a study Bible on Jude, then re-read the book of Jude again.
With all this reading you will have gained a fully new understanding of the book. You will have experienced the joy of discovering meaning behind a text and will have memorized some content of it even.
When I say this method takes time, you now probably see why. Doing this with a short book like the book of Jude is fairly easy. Doing it with the book of Acts can be somewhat time consuming. Still it is definitely worthwhile doing so!
Let me know how you are finding these methods. Feel free to post comments of your experiences on FB or here in the comment section.
May God bless you abundantly!