REAPing in 2015
As the the New Year approaches I encourage you to be intentional with your Bible reading. There are so many tools and helps available for us to spend quality time alone with God in His Word. If you are not sure where in your Bible to read I highly recommend that you begin by reading this post by blogger Tim Challies. He provides links to many of the best reading plans including those with “apps” for both Apple and Android devices.
One thing I plan to emphasize throughout 2015 is how to REAP when we spend time in the Bible. REAP (Read, Examine, Apply, Pray) is a straight forward way to process what you're reading, either on your own or with a small group of people.
Here is a quick summary of how to REAP:
Remember to pray as you open the Bible asking God to show you the grace of Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train you (2 Timothy 3:16). Pray "Incline my heart to your testimonies" (Psalm 119:36) and "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law" (Psalm 119:18).
Read the passage. Read it a few times, silently and out loud, with a pen in hand. Note thoughts that might be significant. What is happening? Answer the question, “What do I see?” Consider what you like and if there is anything you don’t like.
Examine the passage. At this point, you will answer some questions about the meaning of the text. Work through this list of questions:
- What does the text mean?
- Is there anything I don’t understand?
- What do I learn about God, people or myself from this passage?
Apply the passage. Answer these questions:
- How do I need to repent? What truths do I need to believe? What false beliefs must I turn from?
- What can I do - empowered by the Holy Spirit - today to apply this passage?
- No matter where I am spiritually, what would it look like for me to apply this week what I just read and though about?
Pray through the passage and your application, asking God to change your heart and to change your life, based on the time you’ve spent in God’s Word. Ask that God would be glorified as you seek to apply the passage this week.
After you finish, share what God taught you with at least one person—your roommate, your spouse, your kids, or your coworkers. Don't keep what God taught you to yourself.
The goal of this kind of Bible reading/study is primarily to grow in faith and obedience, not mere knowledge. Keep that in mind and be attentive each step of the REAP process.
Tomorrow I will share a few more practical suggestions for making the most of your REAPing in 2015.