From Pastor Ken…
“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
So often, we read and understand what God’s Word teaches. But more than we would care to admit, we move on from God’s Word without accurate and immediate personal application.
How can we correct such inactivity with the truth? How can we genuinely apply the Word of God to our lives?
First, time is necessary. Yes, time! Bill Bright with Campus Crusade suggested a minimum of 15 minutes everyday for personal study in God’s Word. John Stott suggested reading three chapters from the Bible every day and studying one of those chapters in depth. When you examine the way you have spent your schedule on any given day, what absorbs most of your time? Have you determined how to fight for personal time in God’s Word?
Second, memorization is necessary. We may often groan at the idea, for so many things already demand our mental energy. But I have realized that efforts with memorization can truly engage you with the meaning of a Biblical truth. And, when you begin your day, you are more apt to take the message with you through an attempt at memorization. You may not remember a verse perfectly, but simply making the attempt will carry the message deeper into your heart.
Third, some form or plan of inductive study is necessary. Inductive study engages one with the Scriptures through digging deeper for the essence of a particular verse or passage. The following is a simple example of such an approach (although there are many inductive studies one can discover through reliable Christians resources).
- When you read a verse or passage, ask the simple question, “what is the one thing God is saying to me?”
- Follow with the question, “based on what God has said to me, what do I need to say to Him?”
- Finally, ask, “what plans can I make to apply this truth to my life in the next 2 days?”
With time, memorization, and a simple study plan, find some way to make personal Bible study a regular and meaningful discipline in your life. I journal a lot, and almost every day I am writing down some answer to the three questions I offered above. Notice that I said, “almost.” Life happens, and sometimes my desired way of studying the Bible does not. Nonetheless, early on I established prompts in my life to keep me posted to a regular discipline of personal study. One prompt I continue to use is to always keep my journal close in proximity. Like my car keys or my phone, my journal is never far away, and with an ocular influence my journal always seems to bid me to slow down and spend time responding to God’s truth. Another prompt I have heard someone use is the phone alarm. This may seem extreme to some, but there are phone apps that will wake you with a verse of the day. But I offer a warning here. Do not allow your personal study time to be reduced to simply a spot on your daily schedule. These prompts are good for establishing the discipline, but they should not be the goal. Eventually, with the right accountability, your study time should be the first thing you think about when awaken each day. Your personal time in God’s Word should negotiate external demands of life, and not the other way around. So, suffice to say, sometimes developing a regular habit of being in God’s Word takes time. But, be intentional. You will be amazed at what can happen when time in God’s Word becomes as regular as waking up, grabbing your phone, and checking your messages.
So, be a doer of the Word. Take time to apply the truth of God’s Word. It is the living Word (Hebrews 4:12), so make sure it is living in you!
READ: Read as much of Psalm 119 as you can in one sitting, and renew your appetite for God’s Truth.