An encouraging word from Pastor Ken:
So often, we read and understand what God’s Word teaches. But more than one might care to admit, there exists the tendency to move from God’s word without the accurate and immediate personal application of His truth. So, what moves us beyond such inactivity with the truth? How can we genuinely apply the Word of God to our lives?
First, time is necessary. Yes, time! An article from the late Bill Bright with Campus Crusade suggested a minimum of 15 minutes for personal study in God’s Word. John Stott suggests reading three chapters from the Bible per day and studying one of those chapters in depth. When you audit the way you have spent your schedule on any given day, what absorbs most of your time? Have you determined how to have adequate time in God’s Word?
Second, memorization is necessary. We may often groan at this idea, for so many things already demand our mental energy. Therefore, we may need a more practical approach to memorization. To effectively memorize, we must embrace the message of the text. The goal then becomes, “taking the message with us” throughout our day. We must take time to embrace the spiritual truth from the verses being read. We then strive to memorize a phrase or verse that will keep the truth before us. We may not memorize perfectly, but simply making the attempt will carry the message deeper into our heart.
Third, some form of inductive study is necessary. Inductive study engages one with the Scriptures through digging deeper for the truths of a particular verse or passage. The following is a simple example of such an approach (although there are many patterns one can discover through reliable Christians resources). When you read a verse or passage, ask the simple question, “what is 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, “how can apply this truth to my life in the next five days?”
With time, memorization, and a simple plan, find some way to make personal Bible study a regular discipline in your life. I journal regularly, and almost every day I write down some answer to the three questions I have offered above. Notice that I said, “almost.” Life happens, and sometimes my desired way of studying the Bible does not. Nonetheless, I have prompts in my life that hold be accountable to a regular discipline of personal study. One prompt I use is that I always keep my journal with me. Like my car keys or my phone, my journal is never far away. With such an visual influence, my journal always seems to bid me to respond to God’s truth. Another prompt I have heard someone use is the alarm on a personal device. That 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 reduce personal study time to merely another piece of your daily schedule. Such prompts can become beneficial 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 you wake up. Your personal time in God’s word should also 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 updates.
So today, be a doer of the Word. Take time to personally apply the truth of God’s Word. It is the Living Word, so make sure you live by it!