Yesterday, I posted on the Spiritual Habit/Discipline of Study- defining study as a specific act where we fix our eyes on an object (like Scripture) in order to be changed. When we study scripture our minds are conformed around the things of God.
So the question is- how do we study? How do we study the Scriptures? Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline suggest four steps of study.
- Repetition– we need to take time to read a passage over and over again. This allows it to get into our hearts and mind.
- Concentration– cannot study with the TV, radio, or iPad on around us. We should focus solely on what we are studying.
- Comprehension– focuses on understanding. Seeking a lightbulb moment where we begin understanding the text.
- Reflection– Foster says that reflection defines the significance of what we are studying. Foster again writes, “Reflection brings us to see things from God’s perspective. In reflection we come to understand not only our subject matter, but ourselves.
I have always encouraged people who are just beginning to read the Bible and just beginning to study to begin in a Gospel. Some say John, I like Mark- but the point is beginning somewhere. But like prayer- we have to make time and space to study.
I think it is important to have a notebook and pen when we study to write down questions, observations, and our lightbulb moments. They can also be written in the margins of our Bible.
As we reflect on the Scriptures- I try to ask five questions:
- What does this passage mean?
- What does this passage teach me about God?
- What does this passage teach me about Jesus?
- What does this passage teach me about myself?
- What is this passage calling me to do?
Having a notebook handy, you can write out those questions- and begin writing your responses as you read and study the Scriptures. When you become disciplined to have this divine appointment with God on a daily basis- you put yourself in a place to encounter God through the Scriptures and be transformed from that encounter.
For those wanted to learn more about reading, studying, and interpreting the Bible- I recommend- How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart).