I don’t know how it is with you when you read Scripture, but my mind often wanders.
You know, one second, I am reading about Moses on Mount Sinai and the very next second, I am wondering where my black yoga pants are and why my mail is now being delivered at 3:00 p.m. instead of noon.
Can I get a witness? Sometimes focus is hard.
If you can relate, then I have an easy—and I mean easy way—to stay focused as you read Scripture. Sister, it has worked for me, and I think it will work for you too!
On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I share what I call the four C’s of Bible study with you. As you read, you keep these four C’s in mind. They serve as guide rails to keep you focused and guard rails to keep you from veering off your path. Not only that, but using the four C’s will help you apply what you read too.
The Four C Bible Study Method
- C is for Character. When you read a passage from Scripture, ask yourself—and the Holy Spirit—“What does this reveal about God’s character?”
It may be a story from the gospels you are reading. If so, what Christ does and says and how He responds to situations clearly reveals His character. And, if you are reading in the Old Testament, like in the major or minor prophets, you get God’s words to His people right from His mouth. You hear His words of forgiveness, you see when He is patient, and you are right there when He holds His people accountable. You get a front row seat to watch His behavior and see His heart, which also clearly reveals His character.
But, even if you are reading through an epistle in the New Testament with no “red letters” or “thus sayeth the Lord,” the same applies. You can see God’s nature and character revealed in the apostle’s teachings if you open your spiritual eyes and look.
So, whatever you are reading, read with an eye to see God more clearly. And then thank Him and praise Him for who He is.
- C is for Condition. When you read a passage of Scripture, ask yourself—and the Holy Spirit—“What does this reveal about the condition of my heart?” Everything we read in Scripture clues us into the condition of the human heart.
For example, if you read about the nine healed men who didn’t thank Jesus in Luke 17 (and by the way, we talked about this on episode 11 of the 4:13 Podcast), you see their hearts’ conditions, and it serves as a mirror to see your own. “Am I like the one who returned to say thanks, or like the nine who took my healing and went my way?” Or, in the Old Testament, you can do the same thing as you read about the Israelites and all the other people groups.
The point is, people are people! Thousands of years haven’t changed our basic nature and character tendencies. So, find your own condition in the verses, teachings, and stories you read.
- C is for Change. After you read Scripture, ask yourself—and the Holy Spirit— “How do I need to change so that the condition of my heart gets closer to the character of Christ?” That’s a simple question, but it requires some hard consideration and prayer.
Our goal for studying Scripture is not simply to gain knowledge, but to know God better and become more like Him. So, as you read, and begin to notice God’s character and your condition, then ask the Lord to show you if you need to change.
If you only applied three C’s, you would stop here with a spiritual to-do list and probably a heap of guilt or a trifle of pride. That is why there is one last and most important C.
- C is for Communicate. Communicating with God is the ultimate goal. Your reading and study of God’s Word lead you to communicate with Him more intimately. Sit and listen to God as you read and after you read. Don’t just close your Bible and come up with a spiritual strategy of how you will change.
Communicate with your Heavenly Father. Thank Him for His character. Let Him remind you of the condition of your heart. Tell Him the areas you feel you need change and listen for His voice. Receive His power to change as He fills you and changes you. God loves to be with you. He longs for you to hear His voice just as He loves to hear yours.
So, sister, give this method a try. Apply some C’s to your Bible study and you’ll end up with an A or an A plus! And, remember, whatever you face, it is true that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
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Where’s your favorite place to study the Bible? Maybe it’s your kitchen table, your local coffee shop, or in a local Bible study group. Share in the comments below.