The Devotional Method of Bible study involves taking a passage of scripture, whether large or small, and prayerfully meditating on it until the Holy Spirit show you a way to apply its truth to your own life in a way that is personal, practical, possible and provable. The goal is for you to take seriously the Word of God and ‘do what it says’ (James 1:22).
Meditation is a big part of the devotional method, but since we have just covered this in the past days, we shall not cover it again here. Instead it is important to emphasize the importance of application. The apostle Paul declared that ‘Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training the believer in righteous living’ (2Tim 3:16). The bible is a practical book and as Howard Hendricks has said, ‘Interpretation without application is abortion!’
You would think that application of would be fairly simple, but actually it is the hardest part of Bible study. It is hard work because it requires serious thinking, sometime long periods of mediation and it is hard work because we naturally resist change.
These follow steps will help with the devotional study method and applying the truth to your life
- Prayer – Firstly ask God to help you apply scripture to your life and to do the things which he wants you to do.
- Meditate – Meditate on the verses you have chosen, visualize the scene of the narrative in you mind. Emphasize words in the passage you’re studying. Trying paraphrasing and personalizing the passage to make it fit with your life (For God so loved …… that he gave his only Son’).
- Pray – pray the verses back to God (Thank you Lord for being my Shepherd, and that I lack nothing. Thank you that you make me lie down in green pastures).
- Write out an application – write out the insights that you have discovered and write an application on paper (If you don’t write it, you will forget it). Don’t forget you application should be personal, practical, possible and provable. For example: All man’s efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfies.’
- Personal: “I need to ….”
- Practical: “I need to lose some weight”.
- Possible: “I need to lose 8 pounds”.
- Provable: “I need to lose 8 pounds before the end of the month.”
- Final step is to memorize a key verse from you study – a really useful way to do this, is to write it down on a piece of paper and carry it around with you.
Now set a time to try the following method on your chosen passage.