Monday, January 31, 2011

5 Questions For Deeper Bible Study

As I delve into the reading of the Bible again this year, I am praying for even greater understanding, and also for deeper insights into how God's Word applies to my every day life.

But most importantly, I want to open God's Word with excitement, not obligation.

Reading the Bible daily readings as arranged in the Chronological Bible, or in any yearly Bible reading schedule, can easily become a job instead of a joy; or a chore instead of a challenge. Even with the best intentions.

My pastor recently stated from the pulpit, that when we go to open God's Word, we should say "OH MY! I AM ABOUT TO MEET WITH GOD!" I loved that!

He also gave the example that if we saw an email in our inbox that was delivered from God, we would eagerly open it with great excitement. We would not wait, put it on the back burner, or procrastinate about it. We would open it immediately!

In essence, the Bible is really an email from God, quietly sitting there, waiting for us to open it every day. An email chocked full of vital information that we desperately need.

The key to spiritual growth and deeper Bible study - is choosing to open up that 'email' - and discover the truths and promises within.

Last year I followed Wendy Pope's suggestion for daily Bible reading, which was to pull out something old and something new from each passage that I read. She also challenged us to find one nugget of truth that we could apply to our lives from that day's readings. I treasure the journal that I kept which holds those thoughts.

This year my pastor offered up a new idea, which I believe will help me dig even deeper. He suggested we ask ourselves the following five questions each day as we go through the daily readings. They are as follows:

1. Is there a promise to believe in the passage you are reading?
2. Is there a sin to avoid?
3. Is there something about God to learn?
4. Is there a timeless principle to apply?
5. How should I pray in regards to this scripture?

Don't you just love those questions?! They really make you think!

It is easy to read a passage of scripture and check it off our to-do list, but when we delve into the meaning of the readings by answering these questions and applying them to our own personal lives, only then can life change really happen.

Psalm 119:97-104 says:

97 Oh, how I love your instructions!
I think about them all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are my constant guide.
99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your laws.
100 I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments.
101 I have refused to walk on any evil path,
so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102 I haven’t turned away from your regulations,
for you have taught me well.
103 How sweet your words taste to me;
they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life

We are to treasure God's Word, and deem it sweeter than honey to our lips.

We are called to obey God's Word, and allow it to shape our heart, mind and life.

When we do these two things, then we can truly experience the reality of God in our life.

Special Idea:
Think it will be too hard to remember these 5 questions each day while you are doing your reading? Make your own Bible reading journal!

*Choose landscape format in a Word document.
*Create two large text boxes on the left and right hand side of the document
*At the top of each textbox, insert a line for the date, and a line to record the main scripture or chapters for the day.
*Type up these five questions above in a textbox, evenly spaced out, on the left side of the paper, then copy and paste them into the right side text box.
*Print off 183 copies, cut them in half, and bind them together in a binder or spiral bound notebook.
*Now you have your own personalized journal, ready to go!

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Jane from SC said...

Tracie, Wanted to let you know I too started this journey with Wendy last January and what an awesome journey it has been. This past Sunday I presented this to our Sunday School class after being asked by several about how I read the Word through. Not sure if I made an impact but sure hope that more realize men and women, what they are missing by not reading the Word. I loved your posts re: this. Will you be doing posts along about what you are reading? I would love to come on board if possible. Maybe compare notes? It has already been amazing how my notes and insights have grown since last year.

Tracie Miles said...

Hi Jane! Thanks for your comment. Yes I do plan to talk about my Bible reading this year and the lessons and questions I have pulled out of all the daily readings. I also plan to compare some of this years notes to last years, and see how God speaks differently on different occasions. So I would love to have you on board! Take care>

Anonymous said...

I am doing Wendy's study but the questions just did not allow me to dig out what I feel like I needed. I love her commentary and still continue to watch that but I have carried these questions over to her daily bible readings and I just love it! It makes it so personal for me! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I meant to leave my name at the bottom so as to not be annonymous....Karen R. @ :^)