Anyone who knows me well can tell you this... I NEED to write things down. If I don't make a list, a calendar, a page of notes, well then its going in one ear and right out the other. Learning this about myself is one of the reasons that I tend to make good grades in school. I know that I can't read the text and listen to the prof lecture and pass a test. It just isn't going to happen. I've GOT to outline the chapter as I read. I have to highlight and take notes in my book. When the professor speaks I have to write things down. Even if I think I know what he/she said, it just make me feel much more secure if I can go back and look at where I documented all the important information that was provided.
This is also one of the reasons that I keep a blog. I'm always learning things about God, life, love, myself. I blog them so that I will be able to remember them later on when I need a reminder of how far I've come. I also keep a journal. Thats a little more random than the stuff that I write on my blog. Often times, several days/weeks worth of journal pages are synthesized into one of my blog posts actually. I usually write prayers in my journal. Its just sort of letters to God. Sometimes its serious stuff like sin I'm struggling with, things that I'm worried over, or something that a friend asked me to pray about, and other times its just my way of being thankful for small pleasures in life. I also keep track of sermon notes in the same journal. Pastor Steven is GREAT at giving points that are easy to record and remember and using phrases that will come back to mind throughout the week. Often times I find myself in a situation where I need guidance and I think back to a sermon I heard at Elevation and go back and hunt the notes in my journal.
Anyway, why am I saying all this? The one thing that I find it hard to record is my own personal Bible reading time. I have just never been able to find a format that really helped me capture what I was learning as well as I wanted it to. I wanted to be able to go back and recall the things that I learned from any given passage of scripture that I'd read, but writing big long paragraphs just didn't seem like the most effective way to do that. Anyway, I stumbled across this format on the internet (which isn't ALL bad haha) and its been working really well for me so far, so I thought I'd share.
Personal Bible study suggested format:
1. What has God spoken to me about today through the reading of this section?
a. Concerning Himself?
b. Concerning my life?
2. What am I going to do about it (Ephesians 4:22-24)?
a. Ungodly habit of thinking or behavior to "put off"
b. Godly habit of thinking or behavior to "put on"
3. When do I plan to do it? (Psalm 1:1-3; James 1:23-25)... If ______ happens, then I plan (with God's help) to _______________.
4. What verse am I going to take with me today? (Look for opportunities to share this verse with someone today)
5. What can I pray back to God from this section (as a worshipful expression of praise and/or resolve)?
6. follow up for the next day: Did I follow my plan?_____If so, thank the Lord! If not, consider what happened, if necessary, seek God's forgiveness (James 4:17), determine what you need to do differently, asking God for wisdom (James 1:5).
I know that intellectual endeavors work a lot better for me when I can look at a plan and go step by step. As such, I decided to stop rummaging around God's word randomly hoping for insight and revelation and instead treat Bible study with as much respect as I treat studying for school. I'd NEVER start a paper without an outline, or read a chapter of text without a highlighter and pen on hand, so why should I be any more nonchalant about my approach to Bible study? God wants to speak to us through his word, but if we don't take the time to study it properly, then we won't learn anything.