Counsel: Bible Study and Application Format

Counsel: Bible Study and Application Format

How many times have you led someone to Jesus Christ and been asked the question “Okay, now what?”  You have been a Christian for a while, but their question sends you to the inner resources of your mind and you come out with a brilliant blank!  Or maybe you wanted to get started yourself and you don’t know where to begin studying in Scripture and you think, “If only I had a book that could tell me how to study or what to study in the Bible.”
            We often get the notion that we need another resource or person to dig into the Bible.  Certainly, everyone should begin their spiritual journey with a disciple-maker.  That’s the model that Jesus provided (Matt. 28:19-20).  Yet, you can gain a great deal of wisdom by doing your own personal study. The exercise below is a simple and easy tool to help you gain spiritual strength to dig into Scripture.
            This simple tool is called the “Bible Study and Application Format.”  It is based on 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  It’s likely easiest to understand in a chart form.

Bible Study and Application Format: (Biblical Reference)
Teaching- What is the
commandment or principle?
Reproof- How have I failed to live by it?
Correction- What do I need to do?
Training in Righteousness-
What is my specific plan- how will I do it?

Let me explain how simple it is and how you can gain immediate growth. First, choose a passage of Scripture.  I’d encourage you to choose a passage from the book of James, because it is so practical.  You could also choose a passage from the first eight chapters of Romans, or a passage from Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, or even 1 John.  James is a very practical book and has great applications.  You could choose James 1:22-25; or James 2:1-5; or James 3:1-12; or James 4:6-10; or another passage.  Then follow the four steps with the four-column chart right above this paragraph.
First, what does the passage teach? There will often be a command or a principle that the passage is teaching.  You can record one or several principles.
Secondly, examine yourself and ask God to reveal how you may not be living according to the standard communicated in the passage.  This is called reproof from the Word.  It’s easy to examine yourself and by means of the Holy Spirit.  After recording the teaching from the passage, ask God to help you see how you may or may not be living according to the passage.  The Holy Spirit will reveal to you conviction about how you have failed to live according to the passage.  Fortunately, because God gives us the standard in His Word, He also gives hope that He will help us overcome the reproof.  The beginning of that process is in the third step.
Thirdly, in the third column, how am I corrected?  What should I be doing according to the Scripture? This step helps me get back on track to walk in a manner worthy of His calling.  I need a plan, however, because all step three is awareness.
So, finally in the fourth column, what does this passage communicate about how I should live.  This is the training in righteousness.  What is my plan to put the principles from the passage into action?  How do I implement the principles into life?  This is a good time to consider how I should engage my thoughts, my words and my actions that would help me live according to the passage.
Why is doing this exercise so important? Most people like to sit and listen to other people teach the Scriptures or to just read books.  Both of those options are great.  However, what is even better is doing the work yourself.  When we are beginning spiritually, we need to be spoon fed the truth or drinking on the milk of the Word.  However, we need to get to the point where we are  able to stick a fork into the Word and use a knife to cut off a portion to chew on it ourselves.  That’s when we are feeding ourselves.  The writer to the Hebrews explains,
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb. 5:12-14)
It may not seem like you get very much yourself, compared to what other teachers may be able to communicate.  But if you are patient with yourself, God will lead you to be able to dig out treasures and nuggets of truth just like other teachers.
For additional information, please see the “Self-Confrontation: A Manual for In-Depth Discipleship” Supplement 3, pages 437-439.


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