The Three Column Bible Study
The length of the passage you chose affects how much time the study takes. Longer Field Testing Resource passages take longer to study. This isn’t a bad thing, but you need to keep it in mind. Generally, try to keep your passages between 10 and 1 verses.
In the ‘Scripture’ column, write the passage: word-for-word. This takes time but you control how much time by choosing smaller chunks of Scripture. Break larger passages into several sections, spread out over several days. What is most important, however, is this – when you copy a passage word-for-word you actually read it through several (about five to seven) times. It is a form a forced meditation for those of us who can’t sit and think about a passage without losing focus. This process also keeps us from skimming familiar passages. When you write it out you have to think about every word.
My Own Words
When you finish copying the passage, use the second column to write the passage in your own words. Write it out like you’re telling a friend about it over a cup of coffee. Don’t move on until you can write the passage in your own words. You see, you don’t really understand it if you can tell it to someone else in your own words. And you can’t obey Scripture unless you understand it. It’s that simple. Sometimes, you might have to stop on a passage for a couple of days and talk it out with the Holy Spirit before you can finish putting it into your own words. When you start this process, you will probably find there are several familiar passages that you can’t write in your own words. Sometimes we ‘know’ more than we truly understand.
In the third column we transition from knowing God’s Word to obeying God’s Word. Look at each part of the passage. Ask God to reveal things you need to add to your life, take away from your life, or change in your life to obey this passage. Be specific. The passage may say that God created the Earth, but you have to decide what that means in your life. How does your life change because you believe God created the Earth? What do you need to do differently? What can you do in the next 24 hours to obey this passage? Every time we open God’s Word,
He invites us into relationship. We call His invitation ‘grace,’ because we can’t do anything to deserve it. Obedience is how we accept His invitation. God lives with those who obey His Word. (John 14:23-24) When we study God’s Word we have a choice: we choose to obey Him or we choose to disobey Him. It is really that simple. This third column is your response to God’s invitation.
When you finish this study, you have two responsibilities. First, you need to meet with other followers of Christ and discuss what you learned. Tell them your ‘I Will’ statements. They can hold you accountable and figure out ways to help you obey God’s Word. Second, look for opportunities to share what God said. Work the phrase, “God taught me something today.” or something similar, into conversations and wait for a response. This creates discussion opportunities. If people care, they ask for more information. If it isn’t the right time for them, they will ignore you. Don’t continue to share. Please share your faith with those who are ready and interested, not those who are not ready.
To summarize the process:
- Write the passage word-for-word in column 1.
- Write the passage in your own words in column 2.
- List the actions you must take to obey this passage in column 3.
- Share what you learned with other believers for accountability.
Create discussion opportunities with not-yet-believers. Share with people who are interested.