I wanted to take the time to write a little bit about how I Journal Scripture and how I use the Be Still Journal
as I study Scripture. I am often asked how I study Scripture. I have a blog post that I have written, and I also go into much more detail in How to Study The Bible
I have been using this basic method, and tweaking it for the past 3 years, and the Be Still Journal is the result of that. The journal helps you break down any passage of Scripture. When reading Scripture, the goal should always be to know God more. We read Scripture to discover His character, and who He is. Who He is changes everything. It changes our hearts and affects the way that we live.
As I have written about before, I study through books of Scripture which helps me to read passages in context and get the story of Scripture. The amount of Scripture that I read each day varries based on the section of Scripture that I am in. Often when reading Old Testament narratives, I will read a chapter or more. In some of the New Testament letters, I may only journal through a verse or two! Years ago, I heard someone use the phrase, "Eat until you are full" when referring to Scripture and it has stuck with me for years. I try to use that principle as I read.
I started using the SOAP method, and I have tweaked it to be the layout that is found in the Be Still Journal.
The first thing I do is write out a verse or two that specifically spoke to me as I read. Writing down verses is a proven way to help memorize and retain information. For me, writing out the Scripture cements it into my mind and helps me to remember and be able to meditate on it throughout the day.
Then I journal the Word. For me, this means that I write down observations from the text. I usually write out what it teaches in paragraph form, but many others also make observations in bullet form. I often journal as if I was telling someone about the passage, or teaching it to them. I may make note of cross references or passages that come to mind as I read. This is a great place to write down the definitions of words that you may not be as familiar with, make notes about the context or historical significance, or what God is teaching us through a particular passage. I often will think about how the passage points to the fallen condition of man, and how God fills that void. I look for the gospel on the pages of His Word. I look for who God is and what we learn about Him on the pages of His Word.
The next section is what I call in the Be Still Journal, the adore section. The reason that we study Scripture is to know God more. I have learned so much about who God is, when I make myself stop after reading Scripture, and ask myself what this passage teaches me about God and His character. In many ways, I look back at what I have just learned and really focus in my heart to see what this passage teaches me about who God is. What aspect of His character do I see. When I started taking the time to ask this question, I was amazed at how every passage teaches something about who God is.
The last section is the apply section. This section ask the questions, how what I have learned about should change me? How can I be more like Him? This section can be used to write specific things in our hearts that we want God to change, or ways we can be more like Him. I often use this section to write out a prayer. A prayer praising Him for who He is, and asking Him to make me more like Himself.
These are just the basics of how I journal through Scripture. The practice of journaling the Word has been so instrumental in my life. I can't even begin to explain How studying Scripture with the purpose of knowing Him more has transformed my heart.
I would love to hear more about how you study, and what you have found most helpful in focusing your heart on Him?
The Be Still Journal is available here.