In our How to Read the Bible series, some of our staff shared things that have helped them in their time in the Word. One thing was a resource that Pastor Matthew shared called the 7 Arrows of Bible Reading. It’s a bookmark that has some helpful questions to guide your reading of God’s Word.
Let’s take a look at the 7 arrows and how they help us dig into the Word. Pastor Matthew mentioned that this is especially helpful when we encounter a verse that we’re tempted to skim or that we think we know because we’ve read it before. These arrows help us slow down and come at it from different angles.
Put the passage in your own words or summarize what you read. What did you hear God saying in this passage? How would you describe it to someone else? If there are any words or phrases that you don’t understand, take a moment to look them up. A study bible or even just Googling the word can be helpful.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of those who heard this passage when it was first proclaimed. How might they have taken it or what might it have meant to them that was different than what you take from it? For instance, those who heard Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah didn’t have all the details that we have about Jesus, His life, and His death and resurrection. How might that have affected how they understood the prophecies? Here, a study bible is especially helpful.
How does this text teach me about God and what He’s like? What does it reveal about His character or His work?
What does this passage or text reveal about humanity and our fallen condition? How does it show our need for the Gospel and the work of Jesus?
Now that we have the context and meaning of the text, we move to application. What demands does this passage place on me? Am I to do something? Feel a certain way in response to God? Recognize and confess something? Pursue a way of living or a habit?
What does this passage have to say about my relationships? How do I live out my faith and my calling as a follower of Jesus based on this passage?
Lastly, from what the other arrows have shown me, what is my prayerful response? How has this passage stirred my heart and what might I seek in prayer?
A tool like this can help change up your Bible reading time and lead you deeper into a passage. Even if you only have your Bible or Bible App and don’t have any study notes or resources to reflect on, you can still reflect on a passage from different perspectives and let God speak to your heart through His Word – a practice that we can all grow in!