The Bible is meant to transform us—transform our emotions, attitudes, ways of thinking, actions; our body, mind, soul and spirit. It is God’s living and active word (Hebrews 4:12). When we read, meditate, study, memorize the Bible, we are doing something powerfully life-changing. At least that’s the way it should be. However, oftentimes the Bible seems dry, monotonous, confusing, boring, forced, anything but powerful.
So, how can we read the Bible in a way that allows God’s word into our lives to transform us?
The key is to read it in a way that allows it to speak to us. We have already covered a few practices for doing that including Lectio Divina (March 21, May 2) and Entering the Story (April 25, May 9). If you missed them, or want to review, you will find them on our church webpage.
A second key is to read looking for how we can take the insights of the Bible and make them relevant and applicable to our daily life. To do that, I suggest you use this simple to remember method. I call it the 4 C’s and they are simple questions you can ask with any passage you are reading.
THE 4 C QUESTIONS
As I read this passage, what about God and God’s work can I celebrate?
As I read the passage, am I convicted about some thought, action or inaction I need to confess before God?
As I read this passage, is there an action I need to commit myself to taking in order to be obedient to what God is saying to me?
A commitment should be:
- Personal: “I will…”
- Practical: “I will use the 4 C questions when I read my Bible.”
- Possible: “I will spend 10-15 minutes (to start with) reading my Bible and answering the questions.”
- Provable: “I will spend 10-15 minutes reading my Bible and answering the questions each morning when I wake up at least five days a week.”
After reading this passage, is there someone I know who can really benefit from what this passage has to say? When you share the passage, you reinforce it in your own life as well.
Here are a Few Tips
- You are likely not going to be able to answer all 4 questions for every passage you read. Don’t try to force an answer. However, you should be able to answer one or more of the questions for any passage. Occasionally a passage is so obscure, you won’t come up with anything, don’t worry about it, just move on. There is plenty more Bible to read and apply.
- Keep the passages shorter. An entire chapter could have dozens of answers to each question. You can become so overwhelmed by possibilities that none of them stick. So, keep it focused. You do not get bonus spiritual points for reading more verses. The power is in the application, not the length.
- If you reach a verse, phrase or section that you do not understand, make a separate note of it and later go back and look up what the notes in a Study Bible have to say, or Google it, or ask your spouse, friend, or pastor.
If you are not already doing a Bible study plan, then start with a short book like Ephesians (even if you’ve read it before). This time you are reading it with a focus on the 4 C questions. Ephesians 1:1-6 will give you more than enough to work with.