Ask the Right Questions
"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." (James 1:22 NLT)
As I've taught over the last few days, Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud - by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
The "probe-it" method of Bible study is a great way to do that. When you use that method, you probe the text with questions, almost like a jackhammer. To help you do that, I'll share with you one of the strangest acrostics I've ever used: SPACEPETS. Each letter in the acrostic is the first letter of a key word of a question you ask of God's Word.
- Is there a SIN to confess? Does God's Word make you aware of something you need to make right with God?
- Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God's Word. Ask yourself if the passage you've read contains a universal promise. Ask whether you've met all the conditions of the promise. Every promise has a premise!
- Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something about which you need to think differently? Do you need to work on a negative attitude, worry, guilt, fear, loneliness, bitterness, pride, apathy, or ego?
- Is there a COMMAND to obey? Is there a command you need to obey no matter how you feel?
- Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid?
- Is there a PRAYER to pray? Paul, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah, among others, pray in the Bible. You can use their prayers and know that they'll be answered because they're in the Bible and in God's will.
- Is there an ERROR to avoid? It's wise to learn from experience, and it's even wiser to learn from the experience of others! We don't have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. So what can you learn from the mistakes of those in Scripture?
- Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we'll read something in Scripture that we can't do anything about. We simply have to believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible.
- Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage you can be grateful to God for, like something God has done or protected you from.
Every question in this list has a verb in it. They are all associated with something you can do. Write them in your Bible or put them on a note card you keep with your Bible. They'll help you be "doers of the Word" every time you meditate on the Bible.
Talk It Over
After reading about the probe-it method, go back to the Scripture you read yesterday for your quiet time and apply this method to that passage. What new truths do you discover?
- What promise from God are you leaning on today?