How to Read and Reflect on the Bible

A Note of Encouragement from Pastor Cody

Raise your hand if you can read Biblical Greek or Hebrew? Even if I could see through the Internet to count how many people raised their hands, I know it would be a small number. And yet the Holy Spirit speaks to us all. The Spirit speaks to those who faithfully seek the Lord. The more you know about the Word of God, the more deeply you can listen for what the Spirit is saying, but all you need to hear something from the Spirit is a willing heart and a commitment to routinely listen by reading the Bible.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51:16-17 (New Living Translation)

You do not need to go to seminary or live as a missionary to hear from the Holy Spirit as you read the Bible. No one else can follow Jesus for you. No one else can listen to how the Holy Spirit is guiding you. It’s up to you, but you can do it!

The MOST IMPORTANT spiritual practices are Reflecting on Scripture and Praying for Guidance

There are plenty of spiritual practices that can be useful at different times of your life, but reflecting on Scripture and praying for guidance are the most important spiritual practices in every phase of life. Whether you’re wondering, “Who is Jesus” or you’re the next Mother Teresa, these are the two most essential spiritual practices.

The Life Journal

In the video above, I walk you through the Biblical journaling practice I have been using for many years. If you have one that works for you, stick with it – this one isn’t magical, it just works for me. The Life Journal is available online for free or you can purchase physical journals. Prefer a physical journal but can’t afford it? Just let me know and I’ll give you one to help you get started!

The journaling method is called SOAP. Click on the image to the right for a sample entry from my 2012 journal.

  • (S) Scripture – write down a verse or two that speak to you today
  • (O) Observation – write down a sentence or two about what you’re noticing in the text
  • (A) Application – ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and write down how your life should be different as a result of the Scripture you just wrote down and observed
  • (P) Prayer – write down a prayer that relates to your application

This method combines the two primary spiritual practices, and the daily reading plan also allows you to just look up the date and know what to read in the Bible. Simple! And if you skip a day or two or sixty, just pick back up on today’s date. Don’t go back and try to catch up for missed journal entries! Jesus won’t love you more if you do, and you’ll just overburden yourself and quit. Trust me, I know from experience.

If you want some help getting started, I’d love to grab coffee or lunch sometime! Contact me at cody@fpcl.org.