Bible Study and Devotional Writing

Do you read your Bible every day? Do you keep a devotional journal? Are you making notes while reading along or do you jot down your thoughts later on in the day?

Part of my study this morning has been on Bible reading and using the Bible as an inspiration for my writing. I’m not using a textbook for that but an outline of a course I had come across years ago. I had found this twelve weeks class on devotional writing on the internet. It contains one lesson and one writing assignment per week.

The method the teacher recommends is called Inductive Study*. It’s none of these read or study within minutes kind of methods. It takes time and effort but it is still simple enough so that you will succeed. What you do is, you read the text and then let the text shape your thoughts and opinions. So instead of starting with an idea of what the text is all about, you will read the text first and then come to a conclusion of what it says.

  1. You observe: What does the Bible say? (Read without reading anything into it)
  2. You interpret: What does it mean? (Word study)
  3. You ask and then apply: What does it mean for my life? How can I apply to my life what I have just read?
  • If you are using this way to study God’s Word and to collect information about Bible passages you will soon discover that your devotional journal will begin to change. The entries become more in-depth and you will want to come back to them again and again to get ideas for your writing.
  • To find your way around your notes you will need to come up with some sort of a “filing” system. The teacher of that course suggests to number the journal pages first and then to create an index page. Even though I follow his advice to write the journal by hand I created the index page on my computer (that way, if need be, I can sort it by date or alphabetically, or by year/page number of the journal) He suggests similar ones to fill in but these are the titles for the five vertical columns I have come up with: Date / Scripture / Title / Keywords / Idea / Page — you might want to focus on other things (plot, character/s, setting for example) so adjust them accordingly.
  • After you have written into your journal, make a note of your entry on the index page, fill in:
    1. the date (best to use numbers only because you can sort them later on if you are looking for an entry of a specific day)
      the Scripture reference
      a title (keep it short and to the point)
      idea/s that came to mind while reading your Bible or while writing into your journal
      page number/s (I fill more than one journal a year so I write down the year, then the number of the journal, then the page number — like this: 2018/3/56 meaning the entry is found on page 56 of the 3rd journal of 2018.

    The teacher suggests to use composition books as journals. I’m using ruled A5 copy (exercise) books. I find them light and easy to carry along. They are the perfect size to match my Bible, too. When they are full I’ll store them in a cardboard box.

    *A book this teacher recommened for further reading is: How To Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur which is helpful to get a good idea about this method.