Today I want to share another method for digging into Bible verses that I discovered a while ago. I used it for a good chunk of time recently before switching to another method, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it again (I change my routines up often).
I first got the idea for this method when reading Tim Keller’s book Hidden Christmas. In the book, he tells the story of a conference he went to where the speaker instructed them to write down at least thirty things they could learn from Mark 1:17, listing things for a whole thirty minutes even if it seemed there was nothing else to possibly write. It sounded intriguing, and so I decided to try it.
And every single time I picked a verse and spent long enough writing things down, I made some kind of breakthrough discovery in my understanding of the verse, something I would never have gotten out of a ten-minute study. It made me realize that the majority of the time, I don’t go nearly deep enough in my Bible studies. So today I want to share this method with you.
I’m not going to do an example, because this is a very straightforward method that would be hard to demonstrate thoroughly in a blog post. Here’s how it works:
- Choose a verse.
- Choose an amount of time (thirty minutes recommended) to write things down. Choose this before you start so you won’t be tempted to stop whenever you think you’ve run out of things to write!
- Write down everything you learn from the verse. Continue writing things down until your time is up (I promise there’s always more to say).
That’s all! Really simple, but the extended amount of time forces you to pay a lot more attention and care to what you’re reading, to dig for definitions of specific words, historical context, Biblical context, application points, etc. Think of it as a brainstorming session, where you jot down absolutely everything that comes to mind. Depending on your handwriting and speed, you should be able to fill 2-3 pages of a notebook easily.
You’ll probably be surprised at the really good insights that start to show up 15-20 minutes into the session (so don’t give up early!).
When to Use It
If you’re in a dry season in your Christian walk, or you’re starting to feel like you’re not getting anything out of your devotions, this is a great method to help you reignite the spark and make some new discoveries about what you’re reading. It’s especially great to use for studying those familiar or cliche verses that we’ve all seen so often we’ve forgotten what they really mean.
When Not to Use It
If you don’t have the time to commit at least twenty minutes (and thirty is better…or even more) then this method probably isn’t the right choice. I would recommend the SOAP method I shared last week to study a verse in a rush.
But if you have the time (and even if you have to make the time) this is an amazing method to try! It takes some diligence and patience, but it’s totally worth it for the insights you’ll gain.
What do you think? Have you ever tried this, or will you try it now? How else do you like to study verses? Share in the comments!