An Open Bible, Open Mind, Four Questions

by Kevin Burton

   Most of my mornings begin with a Bible study method that helps me focus on the things God intended for me to know.

   It’s like pouring the power of God’s Word through a funnel and into my life. Even better than Rice Krispies, no?

   I have long since forgotten which radio ministry gave me the idea for this. But I have since heard people talk about similar methods.

   My wife and I have been using this method for years.  This would also work very well in a small group setting. It could be done under quarantine conditions, using a conference call or skype or one of the other video conferencing technologies.

   Here’s how it works.

    Each week we take a chapter in the Bible and read it independently. Then once a week (for us, usually Monday night) we compare notes as to what we found in the chapter. 

   As we are taking notes throughout the week we are answering four questions about the chapter.

   The first is, what does this passage tell me about God?

   The second is, is there something for me to do as a result of this chapter?

   The third, is there a promise for me to believe in this chapter?

  The last question, is there a takeaway from this chapter that I can use in my everyday life?

   The radio speaker emphasized that you not leave the study for the week until and unless you get a takeaway.  That’s the point of the study, to open up the Bible in a way that helps you listen what God is saying and incorporate it into your life.

   One of my frequent prayers in this process has been that God would help us actually use what we have learned and not just gather notes in a book to no effect.

   Sometimes what I have gotten as a takeaway reads more like a chapter summary, just something that shows I read and comprehended the chapter.  That’s not the worst thing but you want to get a true takeaway most weeks that moves you forward in your Christian walk.

   Keep the study personal. Questions two and three contain the phrase “for me.” Is there something for me to do? Is there a promise for me to believe?

   Sometimes the promise in a passage pertains more to the person being written about, not so much for us years later.

   Context will tell you what actions you most need to take as a result of the chapter. You know where your current victories and struggles are. Some of the general instructions will pop off the page for you.

   In a good week I will read the chapter every day before comparing notes Monday.  Fairly often I have hit five of the six other days. Any less than that and I find when we compare notes, I don’t have a complete feel for the passage. 

   Some chapters don’t fit easily into this method. They don’t seem to generate a lot of notes that fit the questions. That’s OK.  The idea is to look at the passage and see what God has for you.  Remember, gathering notes is not the goal.

   I read each chapter in the King James version, the New King James and the North American Standard Bible (NASB). There are times when I flat don’t get the King James passage and one of the other versions helps me understand.

   But the King James had the poetic and more exact language, so I will never discard that version.

   It is interesting when my wife and I compare notes, what similarities and differences we have. Sometimes I miss something that after she mentions it, I think should have been obvious to me.

   Our prayer is that we not miss anything that God has for us.  I hope this will be helpful to you.

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