The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea,
and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were
more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
(Acts 17:10–11 ESV)
Making the Most of Your Quiet Time
There are two main ways to sit down with your Bible. And actually, it is important to have BOTH for a healthy Spiritual diet. (I smile as I write this because you are probably wondering “Huh?”). The first way to study, is devotionally. The second way is a Book Study/Survey for understanding.
> So, the first way to approach your study time is “Devotionally” and there are actually two parts to this: the first is when you sit and read His Word to simply let it refresh you. This is when you are open to just receiving a fresh new Word God might want to share with you. And second, this is a time for Him to nourish you, and prepare you for instructions, direction, and personal application. Devotional study is more to feed our hearts, and to be able to see a reflection of God’s heart, which deepens our relationship with Him.
- The word “Devotional” comes from the word “Devotion” which means: dedication, consecration, worship, and sincere attachment. This type of study leads to an increase of dedication and consecration to God. It also leads to a more personal relationship with God and helps us to worship Him more in our hearts and with our lives. This type of study also helps us to lean key principles that can be applied to our lives, helping us to not only be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word, as well.
During this time, you will want to pick: key verses, record insight into this Word that God is giving you, respond to personal application so that the lesson is brought out into your own life, and personal prayer regarding what God is teaching you through this verse.
- Questions to consider during this time: is God giving you an example to follow? Is there an error to avoid? Is there a duty to perform, or is there a promise to claim?
When you are devotionally reading, this is a good time to use your reading guide to follow what-ever reading plan God has directed you to. This is also a good time to just absorb His Word as you read, and make note of any verses that God highlights to you, and also to write them down to meditate on them later throughout the day. Then the second part of this devotional time, is where you can use this time to look up any Cross references for these verses, and prayfully ask God to work them into you, and help you to understand how they apply to your life, and how He would have you to stand on them. This is also a good time to write in your journal, and to apply the tips we’ve given on how to make the most of your quiet time.
- During this devotional time, it is always good to think about: What does this teach me about God, His Son, or His Holy Spirit? What does it teach me about myself? What applications can I apply so that this lesson from His Word can become more personal? This can be compared to “looking in the mirror” and seeing your reflection in God’s Word… and even more… seeing the reflection of God as He reveals Himself (and HIS HEART) to you in a more personal manner, so that you can grow deeper in your relationship with Him, and then be a light to others.
The second way to approach your study time is in a “Survey Study for Knowledge and Understanding” (which again, is what we are going to be doing in this group). This is when you come before God and say, “Lord, teach me so that I can understand the MEAT of Your Word.” You can do this as a Book Study, Chapter Study, Word Study, or a Topical Study.
This type of studying can be considered as a “Synthetic Bible Study” meaning to gain a general knowledge of its contents for overall historical understanding, and to gain a better appreciation of the original content and meaning. At this time, you are “looking at the BIG picture” and grasping the whole (or meat) of what was said, and why. This study time tends to lead to a broader view and a more deeper knowledge (thus understanding) of the Word of God, whereas in your “devotional study time” you are zooming in to see up close and personal.
When you sit down for this “Survey for Knowledge-- Study Time,” it should be looked at as a time set aside to “dig deeper” into His Word (and maybe even use this time to do a “formal Bible study” written by a Biblical teacher). Whereas your devotional study time is more heartfelt, and a time to feed your spirit; this time is for you to apply your ear as a student of the Word, so that God can teach YOU, so that you can grow not only WITH Him, but IN Him. This not only strengthens your own faith, but also will help you to be able to share what YOU have learned with others, thereby helping to strengthen their faith. Also, the reason this type of study time is so important, is so that YOU can come before God to, “search His Word”, and know for certain the truth of His Word, thereby protecting yourself from falling under the influence of “false teaching.”