HOW DO I LOG A H.E.A.R. JOURNAL ENTRY?
The HEAR journaling method promotes reading the Bible with a life-transforming purpose. No longer will your focus be on checking off the boxes on your daily reading schedule; your purpose will instead be to read in order to understand and respond to God’s Word. It is a time for you to meet with the Lord and hear the voice of the ultimate counselor, the Holy Spirit. The acronym HEAR stands for highlight, explain, apply, and respond. As you prepare to walk through this method of reading scripture, the most important step is to begin by praying for the Holy Spirit to:
“Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from Your instruction [Word].” (Psalm 119:18)
At the top left-hand corner write the letter H. After reading the assigned passage, highlight the verses or details within verses that speak to you and copy them under the letter H. This does not need to be more than two or three verses, but record what you wish. Take time to be still and listen. To help with this, read the passage more than once.
At this stage you will explain what the text means in your own words. Here are some simple questions that will help you better understand the meaning of a passage or verse along with the Holy Spirit’s guidance:
- Why was this text written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- How does this text fit with the verses before and after it?
- Why did the Holy Spirit include this passage in the book?
- What does the Holy Spirit intend to communicate through this text?
Application is the heart of this process. Everything you have done so far culminates under this heading. Once again, it’s important to be still and listen. Here are some questions to guide you through this
- What does this text teach me about God or humanity?
- What does this passage mean today?
- What would the application of this passage look like in my life?
- Does the text identify an action or attitude to avoid or embrace?
- What is God saying to me through His Word?
R –RESPOND IN PRAYER
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 give more generously. Keep in mind the goal is not only to know something new about God and His ways, but to respond appropriately to what He has revealed to us. This is how spiritual growth and transformation take place.
SAMPLE H.E.A.R. ENTRY
Read: Philippians 4:10-13
Title: Secret of Contentment (fill in last)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
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.
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.
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.
The Bible Project
Be sure to check out the overview videos of each book of the Bible.
Church Center App
Find a Grow group, give, register for events, & check-in your kids all in one place! This resource is updated regularly so staying in-the-know is simple & easy!
Knowing God,by J.I. Packer (Book)
A great read for those who may be looking for a helpful dive into the fundamental doctrines of God. Available online.
Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word, by Matt Smethurst (Book)
If we’re honest, the Bible often intimidates us, confuses us, and reading it doesn’t always thrill us. And yet, the Bible is where God reveals his loving character and incredible plan of redemption. In a practical and engaging manner, Matt Smethurst presents nine heart postures that will prepare you to unpack all that’s awaiting you in God’s Word.
Also… Be sure to periodically check out our resource table at Faith for more great resources!
Seven Arrows Method: Aiming Your Bible Study in the Right Direction -Bible Study Tips
The Seven Arrows method is the brainchild of Matt Rogers. After planting a church in Greenville, South Carolina, he began meeting regularly with a young man in his congregation. This young man was full of questions about God’s Word, but he didn’t know where to start studying. He embodied our scenario from the introduction. Sure, he read his Bible & asked questions, but he didn’t have a plan for study or growth. This ultimately led to confusion & doubt.
In response, Matt came up with a plan to help this young man study God’s Word. He knew he couldn’t hand him a stack of theology books, nor did he want to give him a set of rules. So, he began doodling on a napkin the steps & questions he used when studying a passage, using arrows to indicate meaning.
What emerged from Matt’s few moments of doodling was the Seven Arrows method of Bible study: a series of seven questions we can use to understand & apply any passage. As we answer these questions the meaning of the text becomes clear, and we also walk away with real application for ourselves & others.
ARROW 1: What does this passage say?
The first arrow is circular & wraps around itself to make a dot. Our goal here is to figure out what the passage says. Before we can do anything else with the text, we need to answer this question.
Too often, we rush our Bible reading. That’s not good. Instead, we need to slow our reading pace to see what’s in the text. When we take our time, it’s easier to make observations of the text. As we do, figuring out the main point becomes easier. Look at it this way, if all we ever do is look at a forest as that, we lose its beauty & every forest looks the same. Yet, when we stop to look at the individual trees & plants, the forest comes alive & we see its uniqueness. The same holds true in Bible study.
Can you summarize the main point of your passage in a sentence or two? Don’t move to the next arrow until you can.
ARROW 2: What did this passage mean to its original audience?
Next is a backward pointing arrow. This arrow asks, “What did this passage mean to the original audience?” We must remember that each book of the Bible was written to a specific group of people who lived long ago. We do ourselves a disservice if we fail to understand what a book or passage meant to its original readers.
At this step, we’re starting to use theBible study librarywe have at our disposal. Start with the Bible’s cross-referencesand read related verses. From there, we can venture out to other tools such as: maps, Bible dictionaries, study Bible notes, and commentaries. It’s hard to figure out what a passage meant to its original audience without context, and these tools help provide that context. Yet, we shouldn’t become so obsessed with these tools that we spend more time with them than our Bible. Remember, the Bible alone is God’s Word and our tools are only supplemental.
Once we understand how the original recipients would have understood the text, we’re equipped and ready to move on to the next arrow.
ARROW 3: What does this passage tell us about God?
What does this passage say about God? This third question is symbolized by an arrow pointing up. Like the great urban theologian Timothy Brindle says, “Y’all should be mindful of this devout thesis: all of the Bible is about Jesus!” Thus, we would be remiss to not look for God in the middle of each & every passage we read. What do we learn about God in what we’re reading?
Without this arrow’s emphasis many people go wrong in their Bible study. First and foremost, the Bible is God’s Word about himself. It is only about us in so much as it relates to him. That means we need to look for what a text tells us about God.
In this step we must look for words that describe God & mark them in our Bible. How does the passage point to Christ, either forward or back? What does it show us about God’s person and character? How does the passage help us worship God better?
The more we know and understand about God, the better we can answer questions about ourselves and how the Bible relates to us. But, without this step, we’re missing the mark of Bible study.
ARROW 4: What does this passage tell us about man?
Fourth, we have an arrow pointing down. This arrow poses the question, “What does this passage tell us about man?” Just like every passage tells us about God, it also teaches us something about humanity. In this question we grapple with questions like the sinful condition of man and the life of those redeemed by Christ Jesus.
With a proper view of God we avoid the misstep of making the Bible and its interpretation all about us. Yet, we are God’s image bearers, and we must view man in the Bible in light of this truth. Therefore, when we look at passages like the Old Testament we should see our depravity & constant need for a redeemer and savior. Whereas, in many of the New Testament epistles, we find encouragement for how man ought to live as God’s new creation.
The narrative of the man’s Fall & redemption is key to the Bible, and we should look for it on every page.
ARROW 5: What does this passage demand of me?
With academics out of the way, now we can jump to everyone’s favorite part of Bible study: application! Arrow 5 points forward and asks the question, “What does this passage demand of me?”
This is a more meaningful question than asking what does the passage mean to you. Every passage requires some kind of response from us, and it is our job to figure out what it is. It’s not about “What does this passage mean to me?” but “What is God telling me to do?”
To find our application, we begin by taking everything we’ve learned in the first 4 arrows. If we know the main point, how the original audience understood it, and how it points to God & man, we should be able to see the application. Any given passage wants us to: 1) know something, 2) be something, or 3) do something. So, start simply. Is it obvious in the text? If not, think bigger & how the passage fits in with the overall narrative of the Bible. Use the arrows to your advantage.
Whatever the application, we must make sure we’re living it out. Don’t just read it, believe & live it!
ARROW 6: How does this passage change the way I relate to people?
While most people stop at applying the text to themselves, arrow 6 forces us to find corporate application. With an arrow pointing forward & back, we must look at how the Bible not only relates to us as individuals, but also to our neighbor. We do not live the Christian life in isolation from one another, and there are so many“one another” passages in the Bible, so we must ask the question, “How does this passage change the way I relate to people?”
Again, we use the same steps from arrow 5 and look for corporate application. Turn the application from “I” to “We.” Here we apply it to our family, our church, and to the world as our mission field. When we read the Bible in this way, it expands our thinking beyond self.
We’re not alone in this world or in the Church, so our Bible reading should reflect that.
ARROW 7: What does this passage prompt me to pray to God?
Finally, arrow 7 encourages us to end with prayer, represented by a curved arrow pointing forward. Given everything we unearthed in our studies using arrows 1-6, we should now be able to ask the question, “What does this passage prompt me to pray?” Every page of Scripture should encourage and strengthen our prayer life; and, as such, should direct our prayers to God.