Bible Engagement is the foundational principle for discipleship. John Piper shares the importance of planning. "Plan how prayer and meditation on the Word are going to be significant parts of your life. Without a plan these most important things always get pushed aside by urgent pressures. Set aside time each week to plan, especially to plan your life of prayer and Bible study. For example, since Sunday is the first day of the week (not the last day of the weekend!) and belongs to the Lord, take ten or fifteen minutes each Sunday and think through when you will pray and what you will study that week. Give some thought how God might want to use you that week in a special way. Plan the letters you need to write, the Bible verses you want to teach your children, the visit you want to make, the book you want to read, the neighbor you want to talk to, etc."

Life Journal

The Life Journal Reading plan was developed by Wayne Cordeiro and is designed to help you read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. For journals and related resources, visit lifejournal.cc.


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The Bible Recap

The Bible Recap “Chronological” reading plan follows the story of Scripture as the events occurred. This one-year plan corresponds to The Bible Recap podcast (available wherever you listen to podcasts). We recommend listening to the corresponding podcast episode after you do each day's reading.


START THIS READING PLAN FOR FREE: YouVersion (Bible App)

H.E.A.R. Journaling

The acronym H.E.A.R. stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond. 


Each of these four steps contributes to creating an atmosphere to hear God speak. After settling on a reading plan and establishing a time for studying God’s Word, you will be ready to H.E.A.R. from God.



1. HIGHLIGHT

In the course of your reading, one or two verses will usually stand out and speak to you. After reading the passage of Scripture, Highlight each verse that speaks to you.

You may want to write out:

  • The name of the book
  • The passage of Scripture
  • The chapter and verse numbers that especially speak to you
  • A title to describe the passage

This practice will make it easier to find the passage when you want to revisit it in the future.


2. EXPLAIN

At this stage you will explain what the text means. By asking some simple questions, with the help of God’s Spirit, you can understand the meaning of a passage or verse. 


Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Why was this written? 
  • To whom was it originally written?
  • How does it fit with the verses before and after it?
  • Why did the Holy Spirit include this passage in the book? 
  • What is He intending to communicate through this text? 


At this point, you are beginning the process of discovering the specific and personal word that God has for you from His Word. What is important is that you are engaging the text and wrestling with its meaning.



3. APPLY

As you have done before, answer a series of questions to uncover the significance of these verses to you personally, questions like:

  • How can this help me?       
  • What does this mean today? 
  • What would the application of this verse look like in my life?  
  • What is God saying to me? 

These questions bridge the gap between the ancient world and your world today. They provide a way for God to speak to you from the specific passage or verse. Answer these questions under the “A”. Challenge yourself to write between two and five sentences about how the text applies to your life.



4. RESPOND

Your response to the passage may take on many forms. 

  • You may write a call to action. 
  • You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through His Word. 
  • You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you have learned. 
  • You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.

Notice that all of the words in the H.E.A.R. formula are action words: Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond. God does not want us to sit back and wait for Him to drop some truth into our laps. Instead of waiting passively, God desires that we actively pursue Him.

Sample H.E.A.R JOURNAL

Read: Philippians 4:10-13

Date: 

HIGHLIGHT

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13


EXPLAIN

Paul was telling the church at Philippi that he has discovered the secret of contentment. No matter the situation in Paul’s life, he realized that Christ was all he needed, and Christ was the one who strengthened him to persevere through difficult times. 


APPLY

In my life, I will experience many ups and downs. My contentment is not found in circumstances. Rather, it is based on my relationship with Jesus Christ. Only Jesus gives me the strength I need to be content in every circumstance of life. 


RESPOND

Lord Jesus, please help me as I strive to be content in You. Through Your strength, I can make it through any situation I must face. 



Read: Genesis 3

Date:  

HIGHLIGHT

“And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.” Gen. 3:17-18


EXPLAIN

Disobedience always brings consequences, whereas obedience brings blessing. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one command and sin, death, and frustration entered into the world. However, we see the game changer - God’s grace - at work in not putting Adam and Eve to death immediately. 


APPLY

This chapter holds the key in explaining why the world is as it is, broken and in need of redeeming. There was an “aha’ moment for me when I read and understood this chapter. As I experience frustration, temptation, pain, loss, etc. may I realize that this is the result of the the fall and not creation as God intended. 


RESPOND

Lord , thank you for your reminder that sin has a great cost and it has long lasting consequences. Forgive me Father for the lingering sin in my life that I treat so lightly. May I see it as you see it. Help me in my weakness to battle sin as I should. Thanks for your grace and patience.