“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, ESV).
In July of 2016, I decided to dive into the book of John, combing through it verse-by-verse. I just finished reading it at the beginning of this month, and I’m so excited about all that I learned!
At times, I thought about just moving on to another book of the Bible because John was taking so long, but I’m really glad I finished it.
After taking so much away from each chapter, I thought it would be fun to share the method I used for studying John (and any other part of Scripture).
So, in three parts, here’s one simple, effective way to study Scripture—and get more out of each verse!
Once you’ve chosen your chapter…
Part 1: READ
Read a couple verses at a time (enough to gather context).
Part 2: WRITE
Write out individual verses that speak to you or offer practical applications.
Part 3: PONDER & APPLY
Jot down notes or prayers below the verse to fully absorb it.
You can do this for as many verses as you want—sometimes I just write out one verse at a time and scribble down my thoughts about it, and then move on to the next verse. Other times I’ll write out a few verses and draw general applications.
When I was studying John, I read anywhere from 5-20 verses each day using this method. Sometimes I would read the whole chapter after studying in small increments, just to tie everything together 🙂
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, ESV).
5 Reasons I use this method:
1) Simply reading words on the page doesn’t do a whole lot for me, because I get distracted and tend to skim over the pages.
Writing down Scripture keeps my mind engaged, because I’m actively looking for bits to write down. It also keeps my focus because my hands have something to do.
2) Looking for things to write down makes me notice verses I wouldn’t usually see, because I’m actively seeking out applications and gathering information.
The book of John was great for stretching my creativity, because a lot of it is action (miracles, historic events, etc.). I had to look for significance in each verse and think of ways I could learn from every chapter. Some verses simply helped me grasp the nature of Jesus better, and I took notes on what I noticed of His character through certain things He did/said.
3) Writing verses down helps the words stick in my mind.
I’ve found that on days when I just read through a chapter, I remember a lot less of what I read than when I journal verses. Getting different parts of your brain involved by reading and writing is a great way to remember verses throughout the day.
4) It personalizes Bible study time.
When I read, I’m constantly searching for ways I could apply verses to my life or learn from actions of other people. After writing down the verses, scrawling out my thoughts and adapting verses into prayers really helps me process what I read and it keeps me involved in conversation with God. It’s always special hearing sermons or talks on the chapters I’ve read later on, because I remember how various chapters spoke to me, and what I wrote about them. It’s really sweet 🙂
5) If I don’t have much time for devotions, I can just jot down one quick verse, and then turn it over in my head or pray it throughout the day.
I never feel like I’ve missed out on time with God because I’m able to squeeze in a little truth before my day is started 🙂
Here’s a little sample of what my devotions journal looks like—just to show you how this method works:
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” Proverbs 2:1-5, ESV).
One last thing…
Maybe this method isn’t appealing to you—or you have your own way of studying Scripture, but you wanna add a little extra flare. That’s great! Here are a few other ideas for you to try…
1) Take notes from a commentary on passages you want to understand better.This is a great way to stretch your understanding of the Bible, and keep your mind involved.
–> My favorite commentary is Matthew Henry’s commentary, available for free in the Bible Gateway app
2) Keep a journal or sheet of paper to record definitions of words you come across in your Bible reading. They could be words you don’t understand, or just ones that are really special to you and you want to access their definitions quickly.
This is a really fun way to absorb everything you read–and those words take on more meaning for you as you continue reading.
3) Listen to the Bible!
I have a lot of Bible reading to do for one of my college courses, and I don’t have time to comb through and write applications down for each verse 😉 So, to keep my mind focused, I listen to Scripture.
–> The Dramatized Bible (only available in NIV and KJV) in Bible Gateway is my favorite one to listen to. It’s SO good.
“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:17, ESV).
That’s all for now!
Remember that spending time with Jesus in His Word is the most important thing you could ever do. Without the guidance and understanding of Scripture, we’re lost and defenseless. God gave us His word to instruct and help us, and we need to take advantage of that gift!
If you don’t have a reading system down yet, I hope you’ll try some of these ideas. I promise you won’t regret it ❤
–> Would you do me a favor and share this post with friends and family? It would mean the world to me!
Feel free to leave a comment or contact me with any questions–I love hearing from you!
P.S. For more on Spiritual growth and Bible study ideas, check out these posts!