My wife most often uses the journaling method to study GOD’s word. She useing various methods while journaling and was kind enough to put together a guide with examples on how to use this method.
Below you will find various excerpts from the guide and a link to the full guide with examples. You might find it useful to buy a journal, a composition book, or you can just print pages from this link and use the Sermon Notes page that I posted for your journaling.
Journaling is my preferred method of Bible study. As you will see in the descriptions and examples below, my methods vary widely depending on the time I have to invest that day, what type of scripture I am reading, and my mood or needs for that day. One of the things I like about journaling is how flexible it can be from day to day.
In general, I follow the R.E.A.P. method for journaling. R.E.A.P. stands for Read, Examine, Apply, Pray. I always read the passage between two and five times. I want to first get an overall picture of what the theme is, then I want to start picking out finer details which I might have missed during my first or second reading….
Journaling Method 1: Paraphrasing
I like this method for a passage of scripture that stands alone, like a Psalm or Proverb, although those are not all I might paraphrase. I usually read through the passage once or twice first, to get a feel for the overall message. Then, beginning with the first verse or sentence, I just rewrite in my own words…
Journaling Method 2: Historical Analysis
I use this method whenever I am reading an historical book, such as Kings or Deuteronomy, or one of the gospels. I begin by reading the section three to five times. Each time I read through, I am trying to think about the context. What is the historical and cultural setting? Who are the main characters? How are they feeling and interacting with one another? What is God doing, and what is his larger purpose in these actions? This method often looks more like an outline than anything else…
Journaling Method 3: Just Write!
Sometimes the new idea begins as I am reading. When this happens, I just write it down and try to develop it further. These entries tend to be full of the words “I think,” and it is very important to differentiate between my thoughts, and actual fact or doctrine. The things we think about scripture can be very windy roads which may lead us closer to God, but need to be tested thoroughly along the way…
Journaling Method 4: Exposition
When I have the time, this is my favorite way to journal, especially for the epistles. As before, I read the passage a few times before I begin. I then proceed verse by verse, or thought by thought. I write much of the actual scripture (seen below in red), and I denote my comments in brackets.
This process becomes almost a conversation between God and me. I write his Word, and then I respond. My response may be a rephrasing, a clarification, or a question. Often, if I do write a question, he is faithful to answer it later in the passage. If not, I make note of it for further study.
My goal in this method is to understand what a passage is saying, and how it connects to its context…