READING TO ABSORB
We need to become keener observers and avoid the pitfall of the heavy eye. We can have an active eye
by reading aloud, carefully, repeatedly, peripherally, and reflectively.
Peripheral vision is seeing the surroundings while the eye is focused straight ahead. Good auto drives
and football quarterbacks must have excellent peripheral vision. Therefore, in Bible study you should
keep your eyes open to the surrounding context of the words you are reading. This can be crucial in
understanding the message.
Reflection is standing still and considering what God is saying. Reflection is the mind and heart at
work, thinking over what the eyes have seen. Reflection is the intensity of meditation, with the soul
yearning to obey God’s Word (Joshua 1:8).
Reflect Purposefully. The psalmist had a purpose in hiding God’s Word in his heart: that he might
not sin against Him. Do you want to know God more intimately, and glorify Him? Do you want
to know more of yourself? Do you want to grow strong spiritually? Do you want to know God’s
will, hear a word of comfort, receive a challenge? Then reflect purposefully!
Reflect Imaginatively. This is not difficult; if you visualize that, you are actually taking part in the
scene of the Bible passage. Taste and feel every word you read. If the passage is a narrative
employ the Four A’s Bible Study Method. Try meditating on Mark 8:6. Imagine yourself as one
of the crowd, or as one of the disciples. If the passage is doctrinal or exhortative, you can still put
yourself in the middle of it—after all, aren’t you a pupil being taught? Something is bound to stir
within your soul the moment you begin to reflect imaginatively as you read the Bible.
Reflect Humbly. The words you are reading are the holy Word of the holy God. “Behind and
beneath the Bible, above and beyond the Bible, is the God of the Bible.” It should humble us to
think that this Holy One, who is also the Almighty One, has spoken to us in the Bible, and has give
us the blessed privilege to read it, and so to listen to Him.
Reflect Prayerfully. If you reflect humbly, you will reflect prayerfully, for the contrite heart craves
to speak to the One to whom it depends (Psalm 119:18).
Reflect Patiently. Patience in any area of life is priceless and in Bible study it is surely a
requirement in the meditative process of reading God’s word. In fact the phrase “wait on the
Lord” can be applied to meditation. Reflection requires time, concentration and waiting on the
QUESTIONS TO ASK
The golden thread that ties a Scripture into a neat, understandable passage is not always easy to find.
Understanding the organization of a passage will help clarify its message. Asking questions can help
uncover that organization. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are struggling with a more
1. Does the passage reveal any contrasts? Is there a list of causes and effects, problems and
solutions, benefits and losses, or advantages and disadvantages?
2. Is there a though progression in the passage? The progression of sin is vivid in James 1:14-15
and the problems of wealth in 1 Timothy 6:3-19.
3. Does the passage use an analogy to clarify its teaching? James 3:1-8 uses a series of analogies to
describe the small, but powerful, nature of the tongue.
4. Does the passage list reasons to support its point or lesson? In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Paul gives
three reasons for not judging your fellow Christian.
ABSORBING THE MESSAGE
It is one thing to study the Bible. It is quite another to really absorb the message of the Bible and to
remember it effectively. Here are three tips on how to absorb better the Bible’s message: vocalize,
reread and activate. The more sense you involve in your learning, the better you will retain the material.
Get involved with the material. Take notes on the passage, or develop study questions to research later.
Probe deeper into the background of the passage—use other Bible study aids, such as Bible dictionaries,
Bible handbooks, commentaries and maps.