Speaker: Jon Weatherly
Week Three Devotional
By Tomara Brown
Psalm 119:105 (New International Version)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
In my journey of faith, the one rhythm that has kept me “on track and grounded” is the study of Scripture. Has it been easy? No, it hasn’t. However, I have learned to acquire tools that have helped me, as a reader, commit to the challenge of reading the Bible consistently.
The words of Scripture have truly been a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. There have been times where the Bible was like the flashlight on my phone and simply showed me the next steps to take. At other times, it has illuminated my path in a way that provided wisdom, insight, direction, and guidance.
Reading Scripture has convicted me and yet comforted me at the same time. Even in my struggles with understanding the Bible, I am so grateful the Bible helps me to know and follow Jesus.
- What methods and tools are you using to read and study the Bible? Do you feel like you are able to apply what you read and grow in your faith journey through these methods? If so, how?
- Are you willing to share those methods with others as an encouragement for reading and studying Scripture?
- If this isn’t a rhythm for you, are you willing to begin the journey of reading and studying Scripture on a regular basis?
- What is a favorite Scripture passage of yours and why?
Creating a Rhythm of Reading Scripture
- Set a time and place for reading and studying Scripture. Make a modest goal. Aim for daily but if that’s too much, try 3 times a week for 15 minutes.
- Select a Bible to serve as your guide. A study-Bible is helpful if you are just getting started. It’s important to find a translation that works for you. I read a variety of translations but the main one I use is the New International Version.
- Put away your phone and ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.
- Choose a tool for your study. The Bible can feel challenging and unproductive if you’ve always had it broken down into little spoonfuls, and you’ve never applied your heart and mind to Scripture with a framework that makes sense for you. It requires some work at first, but the payoff is extraordinary.
- Choose a book of the Bible or Bible plan. Get to reading and studying.
- Write your reflections and questions in a journal.
Tools for Reading and Studying Scripture:
Tool #1 for Reading Scripture: The Alive Method
Help! My Bible is Alive! By Author and Pastor Nicole Unice
What is the Alive Method? The Alive Method is a simple framework for looking at any passage of Scripture. For those who’ve been in church for a while, you might know it as inductive Bible study. This simple concept is not new to Nicole’s book, but, for whatever reason, it’s one that hasn’t been refreshed for the past several years.
The Alive Method is based on asking four questions of Scripture:
- “What does it say?” (Observe)
- “What’s the backstory?” (Context)
- “What does it mean?” (Theological Principle)
- “What does it mean for me?” (Application)
The Alive Method takes us back to the basics and really encourages anyone to learn some basic tools and bring them to God’s Word. The following books of the Bible are a good place to start with the Alive Method: Philippians, Luke, Acts, Exodus, and Proverbs.
Tool #2 for Reading Scripture: The Bible Recap
The Bible Recap is a short daily podcast (~8 minutes) where the Bible reading is summarized in an understandable way. Each day you’ll read the assigned reading (A yearly plan or 3 month plan) then you’ll tune in to The Bible Recap each day after you’ve finished the reading.
Tool #3 for Reading Scripture: Concordance and Commentary
Using a concordance and commentary are important for personal Bible study. You don’t need a full library of resources and marketed Bible studies. These two simple tools will get you started.
A concordance has a lot to offer as you go deep in your personal Bible study. Use it to look up the original Greek Aramaic or Hebrew words used. A concordance will also help you find other passages in the Bible where the same word is used. You can also use your study Bible to cross reference. My favorite concordance is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
A commentary can be really helpful but there is value in wrestling with an idea or question and allowing yourself to stretch to try to discover the answer yourself. Start with the Bible itself. Read the passage. Read the chapter and book in its entirety for context. Check different translations. Use your dictionary to define terms. Look of cross-references. Pray. Then, after you’ve put in the work, check out the thoughts of trusted experts. Bible Commentaries vary depending on your own doctrinal beliefs. My favorite commentary is The NIV Application Commentary by John Walton.
My main encouragement over the next few days is to commit this year to simply “take in God’s Word” in whatever consistent way that will help you grow in the knowledge of God.