I love God’s Word, and I love helping people dive into it in fresh, meaningful ways. I’d like to help you learn a method of Bible “study” that is more like Bible “engagement” or Bible “reflection.” Let me explain a bit about it and then offer you to my FREE RESOURCES so you can download and dive into God’s Word yourself.
I coined the term “Read & Reflect” because it describes what you do in this method — you read a small section of verses and then you reflect on it. This works just as well when you’re alone as when you’re with a group. Before I go into describing it more, let me just say that this method of Bible engagement changed my life, changed my outlook on life, and made me hunger for God’s Word and His presence as never before. And that’s been life changing!
I learned how to “be still and know” that He is God. I realize most of us — honestly, I believe all of us — simply don’t know how to quiet our hearts and minds. And if we don’t know how to be quiet, how will we ever learn to hear the “still, small voice” of God? We fill our ears with music piped through earbuds. We fill our eyes with images from a constant stream of media we hold in the palm of our hand.
Reading the Bible (or listening to it via an audio Bible app) has never been easier than it is right now. Dozens of Bible translations and helpful resources are in the palm of your hand 24/7/365.
So, I challenge you to carve out part of your day to read God’s Word and … l i s t e n … to what the Spirit of God says to you through His eternal, living, active, powerful Word.
Since 2014, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to lead the women of my church in a summer Bible series we call Summer Clusters. We call it that because we “cluster around God’s Word” in small groups either in homes, in coffee shops or restaurants, or in Summer 2020, on Zoom conference calls. The Read & Reflect method WORKS in all these settings easily.
Since 2019, I’ve helped launch a small group of women who met at a local coffee shop to use this method and that’s where we coined the name GROUNDED — because God’s Word grounds us and makes us secure in this crazy world. (Grounded also just happened to work well since we were meeting in a coffee shop!) Since March 2020 when the pandemic began, we took our small group to the Zoom world and have been meeting weekly and finding God to be sufficient and His Word to be exactly what we need to strengthen us — to GROUND us — in situations we’ve never experienced before.
Just what is the Read & Reflect method?
You’ll read a short Bible passage, then if you choose, you can read it in other versions, such as the Amplified Version (one of my favorites), The Message, The New Living Translation, the Passion Translation, or one of the many others available on your Bible app. After hearing the Word several times, you turn your attention to the passage and you simply get quiet for about 10-15 minutes. In a small group, it will seem awkward at first to have silence, but trust the process — it will calm you, bless you, and teach you to be still before God and His Word. It’s incredible to truly quiet our noisy hearts and minds and just letting God’s Word soak in deeply. You’ll be looking for key words that jump out at you, for phrases that seem to really speak to you, and for those “holy nudges” that tell you how this passages applies to you! Sometimes, it’s helpful to write the verses or portions of the verses by hand; it’s amazing how much you s-l-o-w down and read a passage more thoroughly when you are copying it word for word. Another option is to recast the passage into your own words — this technique will really helps you to digest a section of Scripture in a new way.
After 10-15 minutes of silent reflection and digging in, a small group would reconvene and begin to share what they saw, learned, and discovered in their individual time. Never once have I been disappointed in how I’ve used my time, whether alone or in a small group. This time in the Word has always made me feel refreshed, renewed, and stronger than when I walked into the experience.
Now, you may be wondering if you use this in a small group, who leads? Is there a teacher, per se? Does she actually “teach” the passage or prepare any lecture notes?
No teacher. No lecture.
Someone is naturally the facilitator (the person who is hosting the group in her home or who called the group together at a coffee shop or on a Zoom call), but that person is simply guiding the process. It’s vital that the only teacher we have is the Holy Spirit. Together, we share what the Spirit has led us to understand, but there is no prepared lecture. That’s part of the incredibleness of the Read & Reflect method: We learn from the Author of the Word.
When I use the Read & Reflect method on my own, it works just as well, as I jot notes about a small section of verses after being still and listening to the Lord first. In time, you will discover that this method teaches you how to calm your head and heart more quickly so you can “get into” your time with God more easily than ever before.
Reading the Bible is not going to be high on your To-Do List unless you MAKE it so. The enemy and the noisy world certainly keep you from getting into God’s Word. But I have come to see that the Bible GROUNDS us when life gets wacky, and we don’t know what’s coming next or what’s going to fall apart next. (Sounds like 2020, doesn’t it?)
Below, you’ll find 15 ready-to-download PDFs with Read & Reflect passages ready to use in your private devotional time or with a small group. Each PDF contains a second sheet that explains the simple way to use this method on your own or with a group. I’ve used this with groups of two up to groups over 20. I’ve used this method with groups of women and men, adults and teens. Discover how God’s Word can come alive when you simply dive into the Word and learn to listen!