As disciples of Jesus, we have been saved by grace to walk with Him in a loving relationship. This loving relationship is about knowing God and responding to His love for us by loving and obeying Him. We learn of God's love and will for us by reading scripture. The Bible is the very word of God and, as we read it, He reveals truth that renews our mind and shows us His design for our lives in Christ.
Read 2 Timothy 3:16
Discuss: In what ways does God’s word benefit believers?
We must be diligent to spend time daily in God's word. There is nothing more critical to our growth as disciples than learning and obeying God's truth. Many call this a "quiet time" or "time with The Lord."
It is helpful to pick a consistent time and make it a goal to get alone with God for daily study. A certain amount of time is not the goal, a consistent time in your everyday life is.
A Bible reading plan will help you pace yourself in effective Bible study.
(S.O.A.P journal reading method)
S - Begin by writing a small S at the top left of your journal. The S, stands for Scripture. Beside the S, write out the scripture reference that you are reading. After reading the passage, also try to add a thought in your own words that summarizes what is in the passage.
O - Next write a small O, which stands for observation. An Observation is what you observe in the passage. We want to know what God is SAYING in this passage (interpretation). Jot down some key things you observe from the context (verses before, after, and around) in order to discover the intended interpretation. Remember that interpretation is different from application. We want to discover what God is saying, not what a passage means for me.
A - Next, write a small A, which stands for Application. An application is how you plan to apply and obey what God is saying in the passage. Write out how you will plan to do this. It is helpful to spend a few moments meditating on the way scripture applies to your life before writing your application. For meditation, record answers to some of these questions:
- What does the passage teach me so I can praise God?
- Does this passage show hidden sin in my life?
- What do I need to become in light of this passage?
- How does the grace of Jesus help me to become this?
- How would my life be impacted if I took this passage seriously?
P - Next, write a small P, which stands for Prayer. It is important to pray and ask God to give you the power to obey what He is saying in the passage. Spend time praying through what God has shown you.
Challenge everyone in the group to begin a daily practice of reading God's word and obeying what they journal in application. Every meeting after week one, members of the group should come prepared to share "what God is teaching them” through a SOAP journal entry.