All of these suggestions assume a thorough examination of scripture has occurred already. In fact, some suggestions may not be possible unless you have followed an inductive process of study prior to implementing the suggestion. Many of these ideas came from Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods book.
- Meditate on a particular verse. Think about it over and over again. Read it aloud three times.
- Put yourself into the bible situation. Picture yourself as an active participant. Try to imagine what it would be like living in the biblical scene you read about.
- Write what you learned. Make a story of the lesson. Write what your thoughts, attitudes, or actions looked like before and after applying the truth you discovered from scripture.
- Paraphrase the scripture you are studying. Repeat it using your own words.
- Personalize the verse by putting your name in place of the pronouns or nouns used in the verse under study. For example read 1 Corinthians 13:4 with your name in place of “love.”
- Use Pastor Rick Warren’s S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. acrostic to help you meditate deeply on the verse. S = Sins to confess? P = promises to claim? A = attitude to change? C = command to obey? E = example to follow? P = prayer to pray? E = error to avoid? T = truth to believe? S = something to praise God for?
- Pray the scripture back to God. Once you learn a verse, use it in prayer. Take 1 John 1:9 as an example. Father, thank you when we confess our sin you are faithful and just to forgive us. Thank you for cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
- Make a plan. Figure out what you will do differently after learning the truth. Write out concrete actions you will take to implement the new way. Make sure your steps or actions follow S.M.A.R.T. S= specific, M = measurable, A = achievable, R =relevant, T = time dimensioned. Using James 3:10 here is an example. For the next 30 days, when I am tempted to curse or slander someone, I will instead repeat James 3:10 and refrain from speaking anything.
- Get a partner. Make a pack with a trusted Christian friend to help you be accountable to what you learn. Every time you study the bible, write down one thing you learned and share it with this person. Ask them to point out any time you fail to live up to that teaching or give you accolades when you do live it out.
- Teach someone what you learned. Talk with others in your small group, at work, at home, or at school. Simple share what you discovered in the bible. Explain how it impacted you and how you plan to live differently because of it.
There are many methods of applying God’s Word. You don’t have to use them all. Just pick one or two and try them. Find out what works best for you. The key is to fully grasp the truth before you implement it in your life. Understand it deeply. Look at it from every angle. Read other scriptures relating to that topic. A Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and BibleGateway.com are valuable resources to help you discover where specific topics occur elsewhere in the bible.
Father God thank you for providing your Holy Spirit who guides us, gives us the desire to obey you ways, teaches all things Jesus Christ taught his disciples when He was on this earth. Thank you for your love. Grow us with you Word. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.
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