Recently, we realized that many of the men and women attending the Bible studies at our church can go through a guide and come prepared to discuss the text with their groups. However, when they are on their own–Bible in one hand and coffee in the other–they aren’t so sure what they should do.
To help give them a place to start, we created this Bible study method so folks knew at least some of the questions they could be asking as they read through God’s word on their own. I hope you find it helpful!
Read the text, then ask:
Where is the passage PLACED?
INFORMATION: What book of the Bible is this? Does that tell you anything about it already?
What does the passage SAY?
OBSERVATION: What’s the overarching point? What are some sub points? are there any quotes? are there any word repeated? What does the passage bring to mind?
What does the passage MEAN?
INTERPRETATION: What do all of the things I noticed mean for me, a 21st century person? How does the gospel relate to this passage? How is Jesus the final resolution of this text? How is he the hero?
How does that make you FEEL?
EMOTION: We bring our whole selves to God when we study his word, and different passages will make us feel differently at different times. First, take not of how you feel. Second, ask yourself: why does this text make me feel this way? Finally, bring these emotions to God. He has spoken to you in his Word, now you speak back to him in prayer.
What does the passage COMPEL?
APPLICATION: How should this change the way I live? Are there things I need to do? Are there things I need to stop doing? Why does Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and coming return give me security to live this way? Pray that God, by the Holy Spirit, would enable you to live the life to which this text is calling you.
WHAT IS BIBLICAL MEDITATION? Meditation places our eyes and hearts in the pages of God’s Words. In meditation we take a long, intentional gaze upon God and his Word. It is slowing down and giving your undivided attention to God by dwelling upon a passage of Scripture for a prolonged time.
WHY MEDITATION? You won’t get all of the goodness of flavor in food by swallowing it whole, and in the same way you won’t get all of the goodness of a text of Scripture by reading it once. You must chew on it, savor it, meditate on it to draw out all its various flavors.
HOW DO I PRACTICE MEDITATION? Meditation is best done in small portions (potentially only a verse), spend 15 minutes making observations.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MEDITATION? Often, you’ll find that your most impactful observation didn’t come until 10 or more minutes into meditating which shows that extended time spent with God’s word brings depths of insight.