by Deborah Spooner
Each week on Thursdays we highlight a trustworthy discipleship resource that can help you in your mission to make disciples. This week’s post is adapted from and expands on Foundations: New Testament. Fill out the form at the end of this post by Friday, December 7th at 11:59pm to enter for a chance to win this free resource!
What if you could do more than read the New Testament? What if you could H.E.A.R. it?
Good news. You can.
Robby Gallaty describes what it was like reading Scripture when he first became a believer. Instead of using the H.E.A.R. method, he tried the O.P.R.A. technique: randomly opening the Bible, pointing to a passage, reading the verse, and applying it is his life.
Stunted growth. His lack of an effective reading plan didn’t produce the spiritual growth he longed to experience.
Enter the H.E.A.R. journaling method, used in a 260-day reading plan that journeys through every chapter in the New Testament during the course of a year. Providing a devotional for each chapter, Foundations: New Testament is flexibly designed to use the H.E.A.R. method for five days per week.
The method? Simple. Here’s a glimpse.
Write the letter “H” at the top left-hand corner of your page. As you read, one or two verses typically stand out and speak to you. After reading the scripture passage, highlight each verse that is particularly powerful to you and copy it on the page. Also record the book’s name, the passage of scripture, the chapter and verse numbers that particularly speak to you, and a title to describe the passage.
Write the letter “E” under the previous entry. Here, you’ll begin to explain what the text means. Through some simple questions and with the help of God’s Spirit, you can understand the meaning of a passage or verse. Try asking:
- Why was this text written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- How does this text fit with the verses before and after it?
- Why did the Holy Spirit include this passage in the book?
- What does the Holy Spirit intend to communicate through this text?
At this point, you’re beginning the process of discovering the specific, personal word God has for you from His Word. What’s important is that you’re engaging with the text and wrestling with its meaning.
What comes next to complete your process with the H.E.A.R. method? A: Apply and R: Respond.
All the steps are actions. God doesn’t want us to sit back and wait for him to drop truth into our laps. Instead of waiting passively, we can actively pursue Him. Jesus said:
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).
Compared to what you can gain through an intentional method for studying God’s Word, what do you have to lose? Try it. Enter to win a copy of Foundations: NT to get the full description of the H.E.A.R. method and start your intentional reading plan.
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Deborah Spooner is a Minnesota-born analytical creative serving as a Marketing Strategist for Lifeway’s Groups Ministry. As a pastor’s daughter with a background in Digital Communications and Media and Biblical & Theological Studies, you can find her at her local church, in deep conversation, or with a book or pen in hand as she seeks to know Christ more and make Him known.