This week we are going to look at the method of Bible study that I am currently using. I just started using this method and so far, I really like it and it has been super beneficial. I took this from Pastor Ben Stuart from Passion City Church in Washington DC. Pastor Ben is one of my favorite pastors and he explained that this was a method that he used in college. I don’t think this method of Bible study has a name, so I’m calling it the Heart Seal Method. Last week’s blog on the Manuscript Method I would say is more of a method to use when you are wanting to look in-depth into a passage of scripture. This method is more a time of personal devotion for you. This one is a little more low-key way to study scripture but it is really good to get your heart around the Scriptures!
This method is very simple and it is a good tool to use to not only learn how to memorize scripture but let your heart be open to the Word of God. There are a couple of key verses that embody this form of Bible study.
#1. Psalm 119:11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you”.
#2. Proverbs 3:3 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart”.
Both of these verses talk about having the Word of Truth on your heart. How do you hid the Bible in your heart? Back in early times, people took these verses very literal. They would have boxes that they would wear on a neckless that would have papers with verses written on them so they would be able to “bind them around your neck” and “write them on the tablet of your heart”. What King David was talking about in Psalm 119 and then his son, Solomon in Proverbs 3, is to keep the Word of God in you heart; have it memorized so you can use it when you need to. In the last series we did, Spiritual Boot Camp, we talked about how the Word of God is a sword to use in our battle against the enemy. Jesus used the Bible as His weapon against Satan when he tied to temp Jesus in the wilderness. The practice of memorizing scripture is super beneficial. The more scripture you know, the more you can rely on it when you need it. When you memorize truths about God and His love, it will come back to your mind when you are not feeling those truths about Him or you are in a hard place.
The other key verse that embodies this the Heart Seal Method is found in Philippians 4 where Paul writes “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever thing are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever tings are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8)”. In this method of Bible study, we are slowing things down and meditating on the good things of scripture. We are slowing our study down and dwelling on the good things in the Bible.
The Heart Seal Method:
For this method you will want to have your Bible, a journal, and three different colored pens or pencils!
#1. First, you hand write the section of scripture you are wanting to study. I use my maroon pen to do this in my journal. Writing it down instead of just reading it really helps you slow down and really look at the scripture. For me writing it down is really beneficial for me to memorize the passage.
#2. Second, you write down your observations. In my journal I use a neon green pen for this part. If you remember form last blog post we talked about what kind of observations you can make. These are things that stick out to you that you want to remember about this text.
#3. Lastly, you write down your emotional response to the passage. I use a light blue pen for this in my journal. This is the part that you should not skip. If your heart doesn’t connect to the passage, then what was the point in reading it? You could have positive emotions towards a passage and it is also ok to have negative emotions towards a passage. For the longest time there were sections in 1 Corinthians that I just didn’t like. I didn’t agree with them, and I didn’t think they were very loving. I told God all of that. Eventually the more I read that passage and let God know my emotions towards it, He slowly began teaching me His heart behind it and teaching me what it actually meant.
That’s it! Just those three steps. Now let’s look at chapter two of the book of Jonah and I will show you an example of how this works.
Jonah 2 (ESV)
#1. Write it out!
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying,
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.”
I see that Jonah was praying to God even though a horrible situation. Jonah almost died but God saved him. God heard Jonah even though he though he was far from God. God kept Jonah alive even in the belly of a fist. In God there is real hope. Even though Jonah was being punished, God was going to restore him. Jonah found a spirit of thankfulness even in the midst of the worst situation.
#3. My Emotional Response
Thank you God that even when I think I am so far from You, You are with me. Thank You that there is no place I can run away from You. And when I try to run away from what You have planned for me, You pursue me! Thank you Jesus that even in the midst of horrible things, I can still find things to praise You for. If Jonah was able to pray and praise You in the belly of a fish, Lord, than I can pray and praise You in my lowest too.
You don’t have to do a whole chapter, you can take just one verse at a time and go through all three steps, and repeat with the next verse. I really like this method because it really helps me to slow things down and really dwell on what God wants to say to me though every passage!