So, how do I begin? There are a few options. The following are only suggestions. You may use any method or Bible reading plan that you choose. The idea is to develop a daily habit of reading and applying God’s Word.
READ THE BIBLE USING YOUVERSION
YOUVERSION is a free online Bible application that allows users to associate video, audio, images, text, tags, and links to other websites with any verse or series of verses in the Bible. Each piece of contributed content can be labeled as public or private, so the application can be used both as a personal study tool and a public expression of user-generated commentary. In addition to contributing content, Scripture can be organized by assigning user-defined “tags” to any verse of the Bible.
What you will need to begin:
1. An Internet connection
2. A desktop computer, laptop, or mobile smart phone
3. An email address
4. A YouVersion account
5. A small spiral notebook to write notes in.
Step 1: If you have Internet access on your computer or mobile phone, go to www.youversion.com.
Step 2: Sign up for a FREE account at www.youversion.com (It should take about 5 min or less). Go to the upper right hand corner and click on the “Sign Up” link and fill in the boxes. You can now sign up if you have a Facebook account.
Step 3: Once you have created your new account, sign into YouVersion.
Step 4: At the homepage, go to your upper left hand corner to the Bible tab and you will see a drop down menu. Click on Reading Plans and it will take you to the Bible reading plans page.
Step 5: On this page, you will find many different Bible reading plans. Choose one that meets your needs.
Step 6: Take notes. As you read through your Bible reading plan, follow these simple guidelines adapted from Pastor Wayne Cordeiro’s book, “The Divine Mentor“:
Scripture: As you go through the days reading schedule, ask the Lord to speak to your heart and highlight “ONE” text or thought in particular. This will be the “ONE” thing God has for you that day. Why focus on ONE thing? If you try to catch more than one thing per day, at the end of the year, you’ll remember none!
Observation: As the Spirit highlights that one single thought; observe carefully what the verse says. Think about to whom the passage was originally addressed and why it was written. Ponder its meaning, its tone, its purpose. Take several moments to meditate on it, to let its message soak clear through to your heart.
Ponder the message God has highlighted for you. Write in manuscript form what you observe. It may be only a paragraph or perhaps a few sentences. The important thing is to put pen to paper and make an observation in your journal. Take into context the setting and the situation. Make an observation of what’s happening, who’s affected, what’s taking place. This will increase your comprehension and develop your observation skills.
Application: After carefully observing what the text says, take some time to write out how you plan to put into practice what the Divine Mentor has just brought to your attention. How will you be different today as a result of what you’ve just read? Application answers the question, “How does this verse or thought apply to me?”
Application is what seals God’s Word to our hearts. Application makes the difference between hearing His will and doing His will. Application is what sets apart a disciple from a dabbler, a follower from a fan. Application states how you will live differently because of what you’ve just read.
Prayer: The final stage of your journal entry is recording your prayer. Finish your time in the Word with a thoughtful prayer to God. Ask Him to help you apply what you’ve just learned. And don’t forget to tell Him how thankful you are for the power of His Word!
Once you’ve completed these simple guidelines, create a date and a descriptive title for your entry. Write it at the top of your entry for that day.
Finally, it’s important to provide a quick notation in the front of your journal about what God spoke to you, and when. If you are using a notebook for your notes, leave the first couple of pages blank. You will be creating a table of contents that will contain the entries you have made.
In your table of contents, write out the title you gave to your entry, along with the Scripture reference, the date, and the journal page where your entry is found.
If you follow these guidelines, you will give God’s truth roots into your soul, and you’ll be building a spiritual resource that will enrich your life for years to come.
If you are using the “Notes” section in YouVersion, create “Tags” so you can find your entries on a particular subject you have written about. Also remember that you have an option to set your entry for that day to either “Private” status or “Public” status. If you want to share what God is saying to you that day with everyone, choose your status to “Public”. If you do not want to share, choose the “Private” status option.
YouVersion is an amazing tool that can help you grow spiritually. Take some time to explore its many features! Download the Bible app to your phone and start reading God’s Word!