The Bible is not only able to make us smarter or more disciplined; the Bible allows us to hear from God. However, when we commit to a daily Bible reading plan it is easy to end up focused on checking boxes — and then experiencing guilt when we fall behind.
So, how can we read the Bible in a way that can actually change our lives?
One way is by adopting the H.E.A.R. method — Highlight. Explain. Apply. Respond.
What you’ll need…
- Your favorite Bible or YouVersion Bible App
- A prayer journal, notes app, word doc, (or napkin from lunch)
- An open heart, ready to hear from God
Begin each daily reading time with prayer: “God, as you speak to me, help me to listen.”
Read the passage, with your mind ready to HEAR from God.
As you read the passage, highlight one or two verses that stand out to you by copying down the chapter and verse reference. You might jot down word for word the phrase or key portion that stands out to you.
Explain what the highlighted verse(s) means. You don’t have to be the most technical or answer the most complicated questions about the verse. You can simply summarize the main point being communicated in the verse(s) by asking a few key questions: why was the text written, to whom was it originally written, how does this verse fit with the rest of the passage, why did the Holy Spirit include these verses, and what does the Holy Spirit intend to communicate through this verse? Keep your summary of what the verse(s) is saying to just a few short sentences.
Learning to apply what you hear God saying in His Word is the key to experiencing life change through Bible reading. In order to know how you should apply the key verses you read in the passage, you might ask the following questions: What does this text teach me about God? What does it teach me about myself and the world around me? How could one apply these words to their life? Is there an action or attitude to avoid or embrace in the text? What is God saying to me through these words? Write a few sentences about how you can apply the text in your life.
Respond to what you are hearing. Your response may take different forms. You might write out a prayer, or describe how your life may change because of this text. You might write the name of a person to pray for, or friend who needs the Gospel.
God is speaking. The question is, are you listening?