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For republication please contact Tim Richmond: tim@nycgrace.

For more booklets in this series go to
“Developing a Daily Devotional Time with God”
Tim Richmond
Copyright © 2018, Second Edition
Editors / Contributors – Andrew Snavely and Jessica Tanis

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New
American Standard Bible. Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972,
1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. All rights
Table of Contents

Lesson 1 Introduction 1
Dependent Independence 1
Spiritual Breathing 7
Where We’re Headed 9

Lesson 2 Inhale: Bible Reading 12

Taking in the Word of God 12
Scripture Plowing Method 14
Scripture Plowing Plans 25

Lesson 3 Inhale: Bible Study, Part 1 32

Comparing Inhale Methods 32
Mining: Inductive Book Study 34
Scripture Mining Preparation 36
Scripture Mining Process 41

Lesson 4 Inhale: Bible Study, Part 2 51

Mining: Topic Studies 51
Mining: Verse Memory 58
Concluding Thoughts 60

Lesson 5 Exhale: Prayer 64

The Necessity of Prayer 64
The Activities of Prayer 67
Confession 68
Exaltation 69
Petition 77

Lesson 6 Practicalities 81
Stay balanced. 81
Choose a strategic time and place. 83
Mark in your Bible. 87
Utilize Resources 89

Appendices 94
Lesson 1

Dependent Independence
Humans are dependent creatures. You are dependent.

Anyone who believes otherwise is fooling himself. Even

survivalists who grow their own food and create their own

energy are not as independent as they might think. The desire to

live independently of others can drive people to crazy extremes.

For example, you may have heard of the family that set sail from

San Diego in a small boat

in search of a life

independent from all

outside interference. Their

destination was a small

undeveloped group of

islands between Australia

and Hawaii, and they took their newborn and three-year-old

children with them! Two weeks into the trip they encountered

some storms and nearly lost their lives. Thankfully they were

rescued by a fishing boat from Venezuela, but only after being

reminded that dependence is inevitable.

Every day of life you are dependent on outside help. How

did you get water today? Or food? Where did you put waste?

Did you work? Did you travel or use transportation of any kind?

These are all ways we depend on others in our society.

Beyond the human interdependence we all experience, we

have an even greater, deeper dependence on God. Have you ever

considered what it takes to beat your own heart? And yet this is

essential to life. Why take a pulse? Because if your heart is not

beating, then you are probably dead. And yet you have no

control over your heart beat. Your body does this involuntarily.

No big deal? Well consider these facts.

“Your heart beats about 100,000 times in one day and

about 35 million times in a year. During an average

lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion


“…Your body has about [6 quarts] of blood. This… blood

circulates through the body three times every minute. In one day,

the blood travels a total of [12,000 miles]—that's four times the

distance across the US from coast to coast.” 1

Who makes your body do that? You don’t; God does. What

about thinking? How did your mind read the next word on this

page? Even to this day scientists describe what is happening in

these processes but they can’t tell you why. Why do cells work?

Why do electrons continue to sail around protons and neutrons?

If the brightest minds don’t know why, I sure don’t. And yet I do

know that Christ upholds all things every moment by His Word

(Hebrews 1:3). You have to admit that you are physically

dependent. We are all dependent on God immensely every

second we live.

One more interesting illustration: breathing. Although

breathing is vital, your body is made to continue to breathe when

you are asleep or not aware of your breathing. This is especially

interesting because you can try to control your breath. You can

breathe more and you can breathe less (please don’t hurt yourself

trying). I just read through a Harvard Health publication

teaching how to breathe well. It was practical. So your mind and

body need oxygen to function. And God has made us both

dependent and independent when it comes to breathing. Your

NOVA Online: Amazing Heart Facts, (accessed 12/11/17):

body takes over and keeps you alive when you are not even

thinking about it.

Let’s think about this spiritually; you are even more

dependent on Your Creator in this arena. You are dependent on

God for the beginning of the Christian life. I am assuming you

are reading this as a Christian. As a Christian, you have placed

your trust for your eternal life and your standing with God on

Jesus. That is dependence. You are depending on Jesus – His

perfect life and sacrificial death – for your spiritual life. When

you initially transferred your trust onto Jesus you were born

again. 2 You received spiritual life. That spiritual life is dependent

on what Jesus has done.

But that dependence continues after you received spiritual

life. Just as you are dependent on God for the beginning of your

physical life and every moment you live physically, you are also

dependent upon Him every moment of your spiritual life.

Now that you are born again—born spiritually through

faith in Jesus Christ—you should begin growing in that spiritual

2 “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not

receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to
become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were
born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but
of God” (John 1:11-13; emphasis mine).
life. But the fascinating part is that in your spiritual growth, God

builds in a dependent independence. Without Him we can do

nothing. He grows us every step of the way. And yet he tells us

to grow.

One interesting passage clearly teaches this truth:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for

His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

The idea of working out your salvation is not to work for

it. We know that Jesus worked to obtain our salvation. Instead,

the idea is to work it to its conclusion. Now that you are saved,

you must continue to work God’s work in your life until it is

through or complete. You are to continue to work out the

salvation you have been given. How? God is working in you to

work. So we are commanded to work because God will work in

us, giving us the desire and the ability to work. That may sound

confusing. But the Lord is telling us to live the Christian life – use

the means God has given to live “for His good pleasure.” And as

you work toward that end, you will find that He is working in

you to do that very work.

Are you growing? Are you taking a dependently

independent step toward growing in Christlikeness? I want to

encourage you to grow today. God will grow you, but you need
to take the steps. The fact that you are reading this booklet is a

good indication that He wants to grow you spiritually – or

perhaps I should say He wants to continue to grow you


It is a little like breathing. God has placed it in your body

to breathe – He is doing it, and yet you are responsible too. You

can learn to breathe well. You can take over with deep breaths.

You can hold your breath and hurt yourself. Spiritual growth is

a dependent independence.

Did you know that God has shown us the methods to use

in spiritual growth? He has,

and you are responsible to

God has revealed
use them. In this booklet, I
the methods to
use for spiritual
want to lay out a primary
means that God gives to grow

you spiritually: a daily

devotional time with Him. You must grow – God will grow you

spiritually – but to do so you have to be taking the steps He has

mapped out for you. You can’t pull yourself off the spiritual

ground by your spiritual bootstraps. But if you work the way

God desires you to work you will find yourself growing by His


Spiritual Breathing
To help map out where we are headed, I’d like to use the

illustration of breathing. Just as you need to breathe in and out to

survive physically, so you need to breathe in and out spiritually

to survive. As you continue to breathe spiritually, God will

continue to grow you.

Breathe in, breathe out. These two spiritual actions are

outlined in the well-known children’s song you have heard for

so many years. “Read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll

grow, grow, grow.” We’ll use inhaling as a picture of taking in

your Bible. Exhaling refers to praying. Breathe in, breathe out

every day and you’ll grow!

So what I want to do in the following pages is share

practical guidance on how to develop a consistent breathing in

and breathing out habit in your life. Motivation gets us going, but

habits keep us going. What I’m after is your developing the habit

of consistent private communion with God: God’s speaking with

you (inhale/Bible reading), and your speaking with God

(exhale/prayer). I hope you are after this same thing in your life.

God speaks to
you in the Bible

Your Daily
Time with God

You speak to
God in prayer

While developing this in my own life, I’ve often missed

having a set of clear, practical instruction. I wish someone had

sat me down and shown me how to develop a personal time with

God. Oh, I was given Bibles. I was encouraged to read. But then

I was left alone. You may have the same experience as I did. Even

today, you can find many different Bible study strategies or

reading guides. You will be encouraged to pray this way or that

way. You may be given an outline to memorize and passages to

recite. But rarely will you find a practical discussion of this

special daily devotional time with God.

This study will be an overview of what is often called daily

devotions. We won’t be exhaustive on any one topic but provide

a basic survey. I’m more interested in painting the big picture for
you. It is my prayer that after you finish these lessons you will

not feel alone. Although you will not know everything, you will

know how to begin this essential part of your spiritual life.

Where We’re Headed

Let me outline where we are headed. We begin the booklet

surveying how to breathe in spiritually, including two basic

categories: reading and studying. We will use the illustrations of

plowing and mining Scripture for proper Spiritual nutrition.

Plowing is normal Bible reading, while mining digs a little

deeper and involves several different Bible study methods.

Scripture memory also falls under this heading.

The second major section of the book is breathing out, or

praying. In this section we will consider the three main aspects

of private prayer – confession, exaltation, and petition.

In the final lesson we will survey some practical tips for

developing the habit of communion with God each day.

The following page will give you a bird’s eye view of

where we are headed throughout the whole booklet. Don’t be

intimidated. As we walk through the different aspects of Bible

study and prayer, you will see many different ways to develop

similar activities. These activities provide variety in the way you

listen to God’s life changing message, and how you speak to

Him. Such variety can keep you fresh, and prevent you from

seeing daily time with God as a boring lifeless task.

As you develop this aspect of your spiritual life, you will

find that your life’s most glorious experiences come during this

time of intimate communion with God. Perhaps very soon you

will pray with David: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so

my soul pants for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1).


Listening to God Speaking to God

Mining Exaltation
Plowing Petition

Inductive Studies

Topical Study

Verse Memory


1. In what ways can you forget that you are physically

dependent on God and others?

2. Describe what we mean by being spiritually dependent

on God.

3. What are the two major activities involved in “spiritual


4. Which of these two do you find yourself naturally

inclined to enjoy? Discuss how both are essential.

Lesson 2
Inhale: Read

Taking in the Word of God

How long can you

hold your breath? (No

need to try at this point.)

Stig Sverinsen, author of

Breatheology: The Art of

Conscious Breathing 3 holds

the Guinness World

Record for longest time holding his breath under water. After

hyperventilating for over 19 minutes, Stig then held his breath

under water for 22 minutes! What a feat!

I wonder who holds the record for spiritually holding their

breath the longest. Hopefully you do not. You remember that we

are comparing our daily time with God to spiritual breathing

(inhaling His Word, then exhaling in prayer). How long has it

been since you took in a long breath of spiritual oxygen? Perhaps

you in danger of blacking out because of an oxygen deficiency.

3 Idelson Gnocchi Publishers, Ltd., 2010.

The lack of inhaling spiritually affects the way we think

spiritually. So let’s get back to the Bible.

We will use three lessons to cover this topic. Today’s lesson

will focus on Bible reading and lessons 3 and 4 will develop Bible

study. We are going to use two separate illustrations to help us

understand these two aspects of taking in God’s Word: plowing

and mining.

What do plowing and mining have in common? Both

activities involve effort and digging into the ground. They both

expect to receive something valuable in return from the ground.

Of course mining and plowing have many differences as well.

One major difference is that plowing unearths the top layer of

soil, moving quickly across the field. You cover more ground this

way. However, in mining you dig much deeper into the ground

to find treasures that are not apparent on the surface.

As we consider taking in God’s Word, we are going to

develop both of these methods. Although you will probably find

one or another more natural to you personally, I believe both are

very important. Let me encourage you to work both activities

into your regular breathing pattern.

In this lesson we will survey plowing. Plowing is reading

portions of Scripture. Plowing in Scripture allows you to

understand the major themes of the Bible. You also develop a

well-rounded view of the character of God. If all you do is study

one portion of Scripture then you are missing the whole counsel

of God’s Word. You need to continue to plow over the whole plot

of ground!

Plowing – Bible Reading

So, let’s take some time to sharpen our plow blade. If you

are agriculturally challenged, plowing describes the process of

digging across a plot of ground in order to sow seed and

eventually harvest a crop. Plowing is hard work, but it needs to

be done in order to produce a precious crop. The same is true

spiritually. Reading the Bible is essential in order to bear precious

fruit. Below we will develop a method for Bible reading time, and

then outline several different Bible reading plans that others have


Scripture Plowing Method

I still have my first study Bible. It was given to me when I

was ten or eleven. What a joy it is to flip back through that

Scofield Reference Bible, black leather edition. My mom’s

handwriting is in the front flyleaf, and the back flyleaf shows

little marks for each time I read through the whole thing. Pardon

my sentimentality driving down memory lane. I’m so thankful

for parents who encouraged and rewarded daily plowing!

It was not until many years later that I picked up on

different practices to help me plow effectively. These practices

can be divided into four basic stages. Even if you set aside ten

minutes each day for plowing, try to include each of these stages:

1. Pray

2. Read

3. Record

4. Apply


Most of our prayer time comes after the inhaling, and we

will develop this much more fully in the second major section of

our spiritual breathing. Don’t wait, though, until the end to pray.

You should pray before your time with the Lord. Known for his

prayer life, George Mueller said that the best way to study the

Bible was on your knees. That may hurt after a bit—so it may not

be a good idea to take him literally—but the idea is clear. As you

read your Bible, be in constant prayer.

Why pray? God has inspired the words in front of you, and

He chooses to speak through those words in a unique way. Paul

taught the Corinthian church that spiritual truths, truths taught

in Scripture, cannot be understood by “a natural man.” They are

only “appraised” as God’s Spirit illuminates our spiritual eyes to

understand them. 4

So we must pause before spending time at the plow and

ask God to guide us. Before you jump in, ask Him to talk to you.

This may be a very short prayer. “Lord, I know that You speak

through these Words. Please give me spiritual understanding to

listen to You. I believe that You speak, and I ask for grace to obey

what You say. Thank You in Jesus’ name, Amen.” The Lord

answers that kind of prayer.


This goes without stating. But it is important to gain a little

direction. You won’t want to pick a new spot, plopping the pages

open and reading for three minutes, every few days. That is not

enough oxygen! Instead, try to read chapter by chapter through

a book of the Bible. Be reading consistently day after day. You

may find it helpful to read out loud (especially if your brain is

“prone to wander” like mine). Later in the lesson we will spell

4 “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of
God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them,
because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
out a few reading plans to take up. But for now just be sure you

have a plan.

As you read, don’t get too bogged down in details and side

trails. Quickly turn aside from the path if you need too, but it is

best to plow in a straight line. Use the side trails for your study

time (the mining process we’ll discuss later). If you are given to

study, perhaps it would be best to write down questions and

study ideas you would like to consider later. For now, enjoy

letting the words of Scripture wash over your mind and soul like

purifying water (Ephesians 5:26-27).

We take for granted the

ability to read the Bible in our Allow the

own language so easily. Scripture to
Charles Spurgeon tells the wash like clean
story of visiting a poor, water over your
illiterate, but devout church mind and soul.
member. He saw the man

turning the pages of a well-worn Bible. Spurgeon asked the man

if he could read. He replied that he could not read the words but

at least he could count the pages. Such devotion puts us to shame.

You have the resources to own a copy of God’s Word. You live

in a time of history where you are able to read, and the Lord has

blessed you with sight. So plow away! Read God’s Words and be



Once you have prayed and read you are not through

plowing. You must keep what you have found. What would you

think of a farmer who spent all of his time plowing, sowing,

weeding, watering, and finally had a harvest, but then let the

fruit lay on the ground to rot? Senseless! So, when you take the

time to harvest out precious truths from Scripture, do not let

them lay aside. Capture them; record them! Write about what

you read.

You will want to record some discoveries directly in your

Bible. I enjoy using a Bible with margins wide enough to record

my notes and thoughts right in the Scripture. That way I am sure

to have it for the next time I come across that passage. You can

find some suggested Bibles below. 5

5 (1) Kay Arthur’s New Inductive Study Bible has great space for
margins. We will look at this tool in a little more depth later.
(2) The Cambridge Wide Margin Bible series is one of my
(3) The English Standard Version has a journaling Bible with
sidelines to help keep your writing neat.

You will also want to internalize what you have learned

and apply it to your current situation. The margin of your Bible

may not be the best place for this kind of recording. Purchase a

notebook that you can use specifically for your Bible reading

time. You will use it like a journal. 6 At the beginning of your

plowing time put the date and portion you are reading. Putting

the date on the page is also a good way to remind you how often

you are breathing. If you look at the page and realize it has been

several days since you last breathed, your journal can remind

you to be more consistent. However, as you look back at a full

notebook with daily entries, you will be able to thank God for

helping you form a long-term habit. Make that your goal—a

whole notebook with each page full and no dates missing.

For each entry, ask yourself three questions:

1. What does the passage say?

2. What does the passage say about God?

(4) The New American Standard Bible also has a wide margin
version that includes a large amount of space to record your devotional
(5) You can also look at Charles Stanley’s Note Taker’s Bible.
6 Tech-savvy people don’t need paper, but favor a Word

document, OneNote, Pages, etc. The essential items are the same. Even
if you are reading an electronic Bible, you should be recording what you
3. What does the passage say about how I should live


These questions help us make the connection between the

original setting of the Bible story and today’s setting. We start by

trying to understand what the passage says, then focus on what

it means (how it reveals the unchanging God), then work to

connect the passage with our lives today. For question three,

you’ll want to focus on how you should reflect God (“What parts

of God’s character should I try to imitate?”) or how you should

respond to God (“What part of God’s character should I


As you answer these questions, you should not take a huge

amount of time on each. Let’s say you are taking fifteen minutes

in this portion of your personal time with God. You could pray,

then give ten minutes to reading and five minutes to recording.

That would be a healthy balance.

Writing about your reading not only keeps your lessons for

future reference, but also cements the thoughts for that day. As

you answer each question in the notebook, the truths are

imprinted even more in your heart and mind.

Let’s look at a brief example. Consider Matthew 9:1-9.

Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came

to His own city. 2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying

on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take

courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”

3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow


4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you

thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, 'Your

sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, and walk?’ 6 But so that

you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth

to forgive sins”--then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick

up your bed and go home.”

7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds

saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had

given such authority to men. 9 As Jesus went on from there,

He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's

booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and

followed Him.

January 1st, 2018 Matthew 9

1. What does the passage say?

Jesus heals a paralytic man by forgiving him

of His sins. Jesus then confronts the scribes for
what they thought against Jesus’ authority.

2. What does the passage say about God?

God receives glory when people see miracles.

Jesus forgives sin!

Jesus is interested in helping those that others

may overlook.

Jesus knows my thoughts

3. What does this passage say about how I

should live today?

I should come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins.

At times, sin can cause illness (NOTE for

further study another day).

When I see God work in my life I should glorify


Notice the progression. We explained the passage in

Question 1, then drew timeless principles about God in Question

2 before making application to ourselves in Question 3. You’ll

also see that we are trying to respond to God in Question 3. Yes,

we should try to look like Christ, but I don’t think that includes

trying to read people’s minds like He does. So instead of reflecting

Him in this story, we should respond to Him.

You could spend much more time in the recording process.

But we are not as interested in writing a novel as we are gleaning

the truths in a memorable way; you are keeping what you found.

If you find yourself recording too much, you are getting into the

mining process which we will develop in the next lesson. That is

fine, but be sure not to distract yourself from actually reading a

larger portion of Scripture than you would if you were studying

a text.


You have prayed for guidance, read a portion of Scripture,

and recorded your gleanings. Good! Great start! But remember

that God has spoken to you. If you heard God audibly ask you to

do something, would you not aggressively obey? Well, this is the

same. In fact this is even more reliable. You know that this is

God’s Word. A voice from heaven may be your neighbor in the

apartment upstairs talking on the phone. But you have heard

from the Lord. Now, obey.

James gives us a helpful illustration of this truth.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely

hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of

the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his

natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself

and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of

person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect

law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become

a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be

blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).

When we read the Word we must do what it says. Don’t

just hear, but change. Live out the answers to Question 3. As you

continue to read, you will find yourself being changed to look

and act more like Jesus, even without conscious effort. But that is

not an excuse for a lack of determination and effort. God

commands us to be doers of His Word. So listen and obey!

Remember that this growth is a dependent independence, so you

are promised God’s help as you try to obey.

Scripture Plowing Plans

There are so many Bible reading

plans out there that it is hard to

pick just a few to highlight for

you. I’ve picked one of each size

to fit different time slots: Small,

Medium, Large, and Supersize

(Big Gulp® is trademarked or I’d use that).

Small – One Chapter a Day

Although small doesn’t sound all that great (and that’s on

purpose), it is a great place to start. Don’t despise the day of small

things (Zech. 4:10). If a chapter is all you can consistently read

each day then by all means read one chapter a day. One chapter

of plowing every day is much better than a seven chapters one

day a week. Again, we want to form a habit that will stick with

you the rest of your life.

If you are just beginning this habit I recommend you begin

reading through the first part of Genesis or the Gospels

(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Once you have finished these,

you will want to read the rest of the New Testament and then

perhaps you will be ready to expand to one chapter from the

New Testament and one chapter from the Old Testament each

day. That would be a good way to ease into this habit.

Medium – Three Chapters a Day

This is still a large portion of time to give to reading. It will

most likely take you fifteen minutes to read three chapters, so

don’t get discouraged if you are not able to read this much each

day. The goal is not to get to supersize. The goal is to gain a

consistent Bible reading time each day.

The reason the Medium size plan is a helpful goal is that

you will be able to read through the Bible every year if you take

this step. Perhaps it would be wise one year to commit to this and

then save Saturday for the mining portion of your time with the

Lord (see next lesson). Below you will find several tools that can

help you map out three chapters a day.

Our Daily Bread gives a Bible reading plan and a brief

devotional each day of the week. You can access their booklet

free directly from them, from their website (, phone app,

or from our church.

The YouVersion Bible app and website are extremely

helpful in providing multiple Bible reading programs. You can

map out three chapters a day using this app.

Cover to cover. I find it helpful to read three chapters a day

starting in Genesis and go straight through to Revelation.

Sometimes simple is best. Read three chapters each day and use

a bookmark to keep your place.

One Year Bibles. Many versions offer this copy of Scripture.

These Bibles mark off a specific amount to read each day with the

day’s date. They often follow chronological order. You may

know that the Bible’s books are not ordered in exact

chronological order. Reading the Bible chronologically through

The One Year Bible can be a good way to learn the timeline of

Scripture. 7

More Variety. One other option I find helpful is to read one

chapter from the Old Testament, one chapter from the New

Testament, and one chapter from Psalms or Proverbs. You won’t

quite get through the Bible in a year, but the Psalms and Proverbs

are so precious that this is a very practical possibility. I would

recommend this option if you are just moving from one chapter

a day to three chapters a day.

7 Our booklet “What Does the Bible Say?” expands on this idea.
Large – Five Chapters a Day

(M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Schedule)

This pattern follows the schedule developed by Robert

Murray M’Cheyne. He was a godly pastor in Scotland in the

1800’s who greatly influenced his generation for Christ and His

kingdom, although he died as a young man. In this plan you

make it through the New Testament and Psalms twice a year and

the rest of Scripture once. A copy of the M’Cheyne schedule can

be found in Appendix 2.

You may say, “That’s a bunch of time!” That is true. I’ll let

M’Cheyne reply for himself: “Do everything in earnest – if it is

worth doing, then do it with all your might. Above all, keep

much in the presence of God.” 8 You will not be able to read this

much Scripture every day unless it is a high priority in your life.

And if you begin and are not able to keep up, that is ok; take on

this reading plan and stretch it to two years. Consistency is key.

Supersize – Ten Chapters a Day

I include this option because it is a helpful one to try even

if just for a few months, a vacation period, or in place of more

conentrated study. One way to devour Scripture reading this

8 Andrew Bonar, Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Edinburgh: Banner of

Truth Trust, 1960 reprint), p. 37.
way is to read a large chunk of Scripture (say ten chapters) each

day. As you do this, you will experience the flow and message of

Scripture very clearly. If you continue this for four months, you

will read through the entire Bible, and you will have many of

God’s themes fresh in your memory. This commitment does

demand more time, but it offers more returns. What a joy to see

the whole picture of Scripture rise out of pages as one painting! 9

Another way to apply this large chunk of reading is to read

a chapter a day in ten different sections of Scripture. Professor

Grant Horner of Master’s College has recently made this system

more popular. I have included this in the back if you would like

to try (Appendix 3). Although a bit more complex to stay on top

of, it will help you recognize how Scripture fits together perfectly

in all its portions. Horner has designed the reading in a way that

keeps you reading through some books of the Bible several times

a year and other portions of Scripture less frequently.

That’s it! We have made it through the survey of plans.

Please don’t allow the large and extra-large options to discourage

9Let me encourage you to get a Bible that is easy to read in order

to streamline the process. The ESV offers several Reader’s Editions;
other modern versions I would recommend for reading are the NLT or
NIV (preferable the 1984 edition).
you from taking on the first step. Even if you read five minutes a

day, record your findings in the way we outlined above, and then

make a conscientious effort to live what you read. You will find

yourself growing immensely in the months to come. Certainly

you can give time each day to the One Who gave His life for you.

There is a life-long bounty of wonderful fruit to enjoy for

those who consistently read. This oxygen is life-sustaining. We

will turn to some further practical considerations about time,

place, and other tools in the last lesson. For now, just get to



1. Why do we use “plowing” to describe Bible reading?

2. What are the four stages of Bible reading?

____________________ ____________________

____________________ ____________________

3. Let’s practice! Read Matthew 4:1-11 and answer the three

recording questions.

• What does this passage say?

• What does this passage say about God?

• What does this passage say about how I should live


4. Which plowing plan seems most interesting to you?

Lesson 3
Inhale: Study, Pt. 1

Comparing Inhale Methods

Breathing is necessary, both physically and spiritually.

Spiritually, we must be in the habit of inhaling God’s Word.

We have spent one lesson on the inhaling process: Bible

reading (illustrated by the idea of plowing). Now we will take

two more lessons to discover how to dig deeper into the

Words of Scripture (mining). Let’s mine out some deep truths


Bible reading and Bible

study are similar in many

ways. They each consider

the same book and

require hard work!

Generally, they each

follow the same steps:

1. Pray – ask for God’s help to understand and change.

2. Dig: Read/Record – We will combine these steps for

mining purposes.

3. Live – Be sure to do what you have just heard!

So what is the difference? Mainly, the mining process

covers less ground but zooms in to more details. This shows

up in step two, especially recording. You’ll recall that

recording asks three basic questions:

1. What does the passage say?

2. What does the passage say about God?

3. What does the passage say about how I should live?

For mining, we answer the first question in much more

detail. Recording your answers is even more valuable. Can

you imagine a person mining for gold but leaving what he

finds? After long hours of scooping dirt, sifting through it,

inspecting closely, he lifts up a gold nugget and holds it up to

the light; perhaps he gives it a kiss. “This is beautiful!” Then

with a twinkle in his eye he buries it back underground and

leaves the mine, never to return.That would be insane! So

why do this with spiritual treasures? Do your best to record

your findings for future use. 10

Let me encourage you to give priority to this process on

a regular basis. It may mean a greater time commitment or

pausing your regular reading schedule. It could also shrink

the amount of time you give to prayer. But—as in many areas

of life—the more time you give, the more you receive.

In this lesson, we will give our attention to inductive

bible study. The next lesson will focus on the topic/subject

study approach and Scripture memory as a study method.

Scripture Mining through

Inductive Book Study
Inductive Bible study is a valuable tool, a science really.

You may not be as familiar with this idea, but don’t worry.

Over time, you will develop the ability to study Scripture. The

Lord commends this to us as His people:

10 Although we will discuss using a notebook (either paper or

digital) to record your finings, let me encourage you to use a wide-
margin Bible as well. Then, you can easily collect and use these
findings every time you read the Scriptures in the future.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a

workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately

handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

“Now these [Paul’s audience in Berea] were more

noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they

received the word with great eagerness, examining the

Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts

17:10-11, emphasis added).

So let’s learn how better to study the Bible inductively.

Inductive simply means that we are gathering all the facts

before drawing conclusions. By mining we gather as much as

we can find out about the book or passage we are studying.

Then, we read enough times to see how details work together

and patterns begin to

emerge. Finally, we try to Inductive means

summarize the theme of the we gather
passage, the chapter, or
before drawing
even the entire book.
Martin Luther

described his detailed study this way:

“I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the

whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each

limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each

branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf. I

search the Bible as a whole like shaking the whole tree.

Then I shake every limb--study book after book. Then I

shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters.

Then I shake every twig, or a careful study of the

paragraphs and sentences and words and their


Ideally you will study one book of the Bible at a time,

giving a month or several months to each book (depending

on the length of the book). You will probably want to begin

with a shorter book. Start with several days of preparation to

begin the study, and then give one or two days to each chapter

in the book. We will divide the mining into those two steps:

(1) Mining Preparation and (2) Mining Process. Let’s get


Mining Preparation

You’ll prepare for the study by reading over the book

several times. Start by trying to gain the big picture before you

zoom into the details. To use a mining illustration, you’ll be

11 Quoted in The Westminster Collections of Christian Quotations,

compiled by Martin H. Manser (Westminster: John Knox Press,
2001), p. 363.

surveying the land and recognizing the different terrains

before you begin digging at one specific spot.

Book Survey

Read at least five times through the book that you are

going to study. I suggest that you read it once a day for a

week. Each day you read the book, however, you will

discover new treasures. You will still answer the basic

recording questions each day, particularly Question 1: What

does the passage say?

Right now, on Question 1, focus on recognizing the

major themes of the book. If the word “theme” scares you,

substitute “big idea”–what are the big ideas that come up

repeatedly? For this chapter, we’ll pretend that we are

working our way through Philippians. Each day you may

write something like this:

January 6,2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the passage say?

Themes/Big ideas: joy, the gospel, living for


Main idea: It seems like Paul is encouragin the

Philippian believers to live for Christ in hard
times with a joyful heart.

Once you have done this five times (ideally over five

different days), use a new sheet of paper to record the major

themes you have found. This will be your Master Sheet, a

summary page that stores your major conclusions. Also, try

to write what you would say the book is generally about. You

will definitely fine tune or even change this throughout the

process. For now, though, you have a working idea of the

themes. Net let’s answer two more big questions.

Book Background

Read back through the book at least twice more with

other questions in mind. This time, you are not looking for the

big ideas, but for clues to the background to the book.

As you know, each book of the Bible is unique. God

used specific individuals writing in unique styles to different

groups at different times. So we need to recognize the book’s

unique background at the beginning.

1. Who is the author?

2. To whom is he writing?

3. Why was this book written?

4. When and where was this book written?

Some helpful clues to look for – does the text tell you

the author’s name or the intended audience? Do you see any

clues about the attitudes or actions of the author or audience

(people receiving the book)? Does the text give you any

references to time or place of writing? Can you get a sense of

the emotions the author or audience has as they read or write

(for example, joy or sorrow, discouragement and confidence)?

All these are helpful considerations as you read.

You would record these things daily in your notebook

like this:

January 8, 2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the passage say?

Author: Paul
- Joy!
- In prison
Audience: Church at Philippi
- with elders and deacons
- hounded by false teachers

Record the answers to these questions on your Master

Sheet. You may find in your research that there are more key

words you would like to add now.

Now you can cheat. :-) Compare your answers with

other believers who have studied the book more thoroughly.

Almost any major study Bible will discuss these background

questions. You will usually find the information at the

beginning of each book of the Bible in the introduction section

to that book. 12

12 Besides Study Bibles, is a valuable (and free!)

Internet resource for this type of study. If you are looking for all in
one commentaries, John MacArthur and Warren Wiersbe have
printed abbreviated commentaries of the whole New Testament
which would give you the information you would need. See the
closing lesson for helpful resources.
Mining Process

Now that you have done the preparation, you are ready

to dig even deeper into the text. The method stays the same.

Each day you go through the same basic steps 1. Pray, 2. Dig

(Read, Record) and 3. Live. In the dig section we continue to

answer three questions about the passage.

However, we will change our focus from the entire

book to one chapter at a time. The number of days you spend

on each chapter will depend on the amount of time you can

give (30 minutes a day will cover more territory than only 10

minutes a day).

Each day begin reading the chapter two times. After

reading, your goal is to summarize the chapter in one

sentence. What does this chapter say? Here is a general idea

of how to do that.

1. Go section by section. Divide the chapter into

sections (paragraph divisions can give you some

big hints), and summarize each paragraph in your

own words. You may find it convenient to cover

one paragraph a day.

2. Recognize the main ideas. You have already been

doing this for the whole book, but you will also
notice that the main idea often changes from

chapter to chapter.

3. Summarize the whole chapter. Be as simple as

possible. You will want to include the main idea of

each paragraph in your summary sentence of the

whole chapter. This will take time, and you will get

better at this as you practice.

I’d suggest recording these findings in your notebook

under the question “What does the Passage say?” Here is an

example of how you would survey Philippians chapter 1.

January 12thst 2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the pasage say?

Chapter 1: Section 1 covers verses 3-11

A prayer of thanksgiving for the effect of the

gospel in the lives of the Philippian believers.

January 13thst 2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the passage say?

Chapter 1: Section 2 covers verses 12-20.

Paul rejoices that the gospel is being preached

and even if it means persecution, he wants
the gospel to go forward no matter if it
results in his living or dying.

As you look at the summary of sections one and two

you see that they both have to do with the gospel, and how it

relates to believers and their lives. Our summary will have to

include those themes. Let’s look at the third section.

January 14thst 2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the passage say?

Section 3 covers verses 21-30.

Paul rejoices that he can continue to minister

the gospel to the Philippian believers and
asks them to conduct their lives with joy in
a godly manner in keeping with the gospel,
even in the face of persecution.

For the sake of space we divided the first chapter of

Philippians in three sections. You might divide into six

sections to be more thorough. Now that we have the three

main ideas, we put them all together. The next day in your

study you might do something like this. I’ll answer all three

questions in this example.

January 15th 2018 Philippians 1 Study

1. What does the passage say? (all of ch. 1)

No matter what we face-life, death, persecution,

or peace-we should rejoice in the way that the
truths of the gospel transform us to live a life
pleasing to Christ.

2. What does the passage say about God?

Christ is worth living and dying for (v. 21)

God changes us (v. 6)

Jesus has affection for us (v. 8)

God allows suffering for His name (v. 29).

3. What does the passage say about how I should live


Rejoice in Jesus no matter what happens to me

today. Think about my blessings in Him

Live in a way that reflects well on the gospel –

worthy of the gospel.

Anticipate the Lord’s changing me through

His power living through me…

Philippians chapter one is done! In the days to follow

you will do the same process with each of the chapters in the


Be sure to read the chapter you are studying two times

each day. Reading is what changes you. Once you have

worked your way through a chapter, you can include that

chapter’s sentence summary on your Master Sheet (added to

the main themes and book background info).

SIDE LIGHT: “Normal” Reading

A journal is different from a fairy tale is

different from a hymn. In order to benefit from

each type of writing, then, we read it normally, or based

on the kind of writing that it is.

In the same way, we approach different parts of the

Bible differently, reading them as they would be normally

understood. Here are some broad suggestions:

1. Stories (Narratives): Try to understand how this story

fits the broader story of Scripture. Figure out the main

problem of the story and how it is resolved.

Also, are the human characters good or bad examples

(hint: look at how they interact with God). Lastly,

always spend time reflecting on God as the main


2. Poetry: Expect to find imaginative language (the

Lord is our Shepherd, but we know He doesn’t carry

a staff; it’s a word picture). Also, see how the lines in

a verse connect to each other as parallel ideas. Finally,

prepare to be moved emotionally by transparent


3. Prophecy: You’ll need to recognize the historical

setting and the audience that the prophet is

addressing. How does your life parallel that setting?

Is it prediction of a future event or a message for his

present setting? Is this prophecy quoted or explained

in another part of Scripture?

4. Letters (Epistles): Why was this letter written?

What parts of this letter are explanation, and what

parts are instruction? See if you can follow the

thought progression of the book, since this often gives

greater impact to familiar verses.

You have one final step in the mining process. Just as

you connected the paragraphs together for each chapter

summary, so now you’ll use all of the chapter summaries to

explain the entire book. Tell the main idea of the book in one

sentence, and include in that sentence a summary broad

enough to cover each of the main ideas of the chapter

summaries. Consider the following diagram as an eample of

this process. Sections merge into chapter summaries which

then merge into one entire book summary.


1. What are some differences between plowing and

mining God’s Word?

2. What are the three stages of Bible study (Three

Words)? (We combine the middle two into one)

3. What three questions do we ask when approaching a


4. Read the following paragraph, pick out the key

themes, and summarize the paragraph in a sentence.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;

and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The

one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has

sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might

live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but

that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for

our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love

one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love

one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because

He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that

the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1

John 4:7-14).

Key Themes:

Paragraph Summary:

Lesson 4
Inhale: Study, Pt. 2

Before we begin this lesson, take a moment to review

where we are in the booklet. We want to grow in our spiritual

life. That takes commitment! It also takes spiritual breathing,

both inhaling and exhaling. Lessons 2-4 survey inhaling,

taking in the oxygen of God’s Word. Lesson 5 surveys

breathing out, or prayer. There are two major ways of

inhaling God’s Word: reading and studying. We illustrated

those with two different pictures. Reading is like plowing,

and studying is like mining.

We have begun now to survey three different ways to

develop our mining ability. The most common is the

approach that we learned last lesson–the inductive book

study. However, this is not the only effective Bible study

practice. In this lesson we will survey mining through topic

studies and Scripture memorization.

Scripture Mining Through Topic Studies

At times you need to gain an understanding of a topic

of Scripture that is not found exclusively in one book of the

Bible. A topic study will help you discover what the entire

Bible as a whole teaches about that topic.

This type of study can take several days of your

personal time with the Lord. Because of the nature of the

study, it will be more difficult to divide the steps into daily

increments in which you ask the three study questions each

day. But keep the questions in your mind. As you study

through each passage, keep asking: (1) What does this

passage say? (2) What does this teach me about You, Lord? (3)

How can I live out this text today?

Let’s walk through an example of how to study a topic

of Scripture. Perhaps you are reading in your daily plowing

time in Genesis and you read of the Angel of the Lord

appearing to Hagar in the wilderness when Hagar fled from

Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

“Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of

water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to

Shur. He said, ‘Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you

come from and where are you going?’ And she said, ‘I

am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai’”

(Genesis 16:7-8).

Your quickly wonder, “Who is the angel of the

LORD?” 13 That is a great topic study. There are four steps to

studying a topic in Scripture.

1. Gather all the occurrences of the topic (try to be


2. Summarize what each passage teaches about that topic.

3. Group these main ideas into categories or headings.

4. Synthesize what Scripture teaches about the topic.

Gather passages that mention the topic.

We start by gathering data across all of Scripture. In the

“good old days” (not too “old” because I did this when I was

younger), you would have to use a Strong’s Exhaustive

Concordance to get this information. Strong numbered every

Greek or Hebrew word in the Bible, then listed every

occurrence of that word in the Bible. If you find the Strong’s

number you can locate each occurrence of that word. This gets

a little complicated, but at this point you would go through

and compare all the times that the Strong’s number for

“angel” and the Strong’s number for “LORD” occurred

together in the same passage. This can be a very difficult

13 If you don’t have time for this detailed study, perhaps your
Bible will give you sample results through cross-references..
proposal given all of the occurrences of the name “LORD” in

the Bible (7,836 occurrences in the KJV!).

This study has become much easier because of modern

technology. What took hours of searching through an

exhaustive concordance can now be done by typing a few

words and clicking “search.” BibleWorks and Logos are both

powerful (and expensive) software research tools for this type

of study. To be honest, most of what you will need to study a

topic like this is easily accessible on the Internet. Two valuable

resources are

and 14 I typed

“angel of the Lord” in the topic

search of and

in the twinkling of an eye, I had a

list of 78 references where the phrase “angel of the LORD”

occurs. We are so blessed to have such easy access to study

tools like this.

14 More references are suggested in lesson 6. You may

also find these three free resources helpful:;; and

This list is not complete, though. We now have to figure

out which references actually mention the Angel of the Lord.

Different programs will be more helpful and give you an

exact list. A more exact list gives us 68 occurrences in about

30 different passages. That is our complete list.

Be careful not to take shortcuts at this stage. If we do

not take the time to look up each reference, we may not have

a complete understanding of the entire topic. Sadly, an

incomplete topic study can create a misunderstanding about

an aspect of Scripture or even leave us open to false thinking.

Summarize what each passage teaches

about that topic.

Now we want to learn what God is telling us about that

topic. We don’t have the space to look at each occurrence, but

let’s look at one example to demonstrate how to do this. The

third major passage of Scripture that mentions the angel of

the Lord comes from Exodus 3.

“Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his

father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock

to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb,

the mountain of God. The angel of the LORD appeared

to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he

looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet
the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn

aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is

not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned

aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the

bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’

Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your

sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are

standing is holy ground.’ He said also, ‘I am the God of

your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and

the God of Jacob.’ Then Moses hid his face, for he was

afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:1-6).

As you read through this passage you record what this

passage teaches you about the angel of the Lord.

January 22nd, 2018 Exodus 3:1-6

Subject study: angel of the Lord

• The a/L appeared to Moses in the burning


• The a/L was called God by Moses.

• The appearance of the a/L causes fear.

Each passage will give you one or more key ideas about

the angel of the Lord. Record those principles on a separate

sheet of paper (or perhaps a computer) with the reference next

to the principle.

When you have finished going through all 68 passages,

you will have at least 100 principles on this topic. Some topics

will be much smaller; however, you will find that other topics

are impossible to exhaust (more on that later).

Group these principles into main categories

or headings.
Looking at all of these big ideas at one time will help

you see several that say the same thing. Some of these

passages teach about the character of the angel of the LORD.

Others teach about the activities of the angel of the LORD; still

others focus on how he is described. You can try to categorize

these by what they share in common.

Synthesize what Scripture teaches about the topic.

Similar to our summarizing in the inductive method,

now we need to look at all the categories and try to come up

with a one-paragraph definition of the topic. This paragraph

then becomes a pack of gold for future reference. You have

combined what the Bible teaches on that entire topic in just a

few sentences!

In our example above, we find that at times the angel of

the LORD is the Son of God, Jesus. He speaks as God and

accepts worship like God does. At other times the angel of the

LORD seems to be a regular angel. Here, the angel speaks for

God and points the individual to God instead of accepting


At this point, let me recommend a few other helpful

tools. Websites can give you a list of every time a word or

phrase occurs in Scripture, but what if that list is pages and

pages long? Nave’s Topical Bible (available in print and free

online) offers a consolidated list of Scriptures for key topics,

as do many other study Bibles. Although those are not as

exhaustive they can give you the most important verses to use

of the topic. Another key resource is a systematic theology, a

book written to systematize what Scripture teaches on all

major topics and organize that teaching in an accessible way.

Scripture Mining Through Verse Memory

A third valuable, vital mining activity is Scripture

memory. I’m sure you have experienced the value of having

a memorized verse pop into your head at just the right time.

If a passage is committed to memory, you can take it with you

throughout the day for constant reflection (in an elevator or

subway car, during a slow work day, etc), not just in your

private time with the Lord.

In times of temptation, memorized Scripture is like a

dagger that you can quickly pull out to put the temptation to

flight (Eph. 6:17) . We find Jesus doing this during His time of

temptation on earth. Each time he was tempted, Jesus

responded by quoting Scripture. And each time He was


“Your word I have treasured in my heart,

That I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11)

It is helpful to memorize single verses of Scripture for

these moments of temptation. Perhaps you would like to

memorize three verses on lust, or three verses on anger or

worry. A list of 50 good dagger type verses and the topics

which they address is listed in Appendix 1.

It is also helpful to try and work on memorizing a

longer passage of Scripture. I’d suggest trying to memorize a

verse a day, adding it to the chunk you have already stored.

What has helped me is to read a section of five verses, with

the new verse at the end. After repeating this passage for 25

times, the words will stick; you’ll be memorizing by accident!

Over time, you will find yourself able to recite entire chapters.

This is especially helpful for important chapters like Psalm

139, Isaiah 53, or Romans 8.

One final thought regarding Scripture memory: use it

or lose it. If you do take time to memorize Scripture, make the

most of that time by reviewing and re-reviewing until it is

firmly in your mind. If you do not review what you have

memorized it will leave as quickly as when you crammed for

a test the night before. Make the best use of your time.

Concluding Thoughts
Now you know three ways to mine out Scripture in

deep study: inductive book study, topic study, and memory.

We could survey more ways as well, but this will be sufficient

to give you a few different varieties of Bible study. You may

try memory for a month and then switch to an inductive

study of a book of the Bible for another two months, and then

try a week on a topic. This helps you keep variety in your

Bible study.

Let me challenge you again to keep up with the

plowing (reading) even while you are mining. When you

want to spend more time studying, you can always trim back

to a lighter reading plan, but always keep up with a regular

reading program like ones we discussed in the second lesson.


1. What are the three mining activities that we have

surveyed in the last two lessons?

2. List the four major steps in a topic study.

3. If you cannot list all the references where a topic is found,

then you cannot know what the Bible teaches about that

topic (True/False).

4. Sample topical study: see if you can identify seven

principles that this passage teaches us about the Holy


“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these

are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of

slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a

spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba!

Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that

we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also,

heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we

suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with

Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present

time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that

is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the

creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of

God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not

willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its

slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the

children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until

now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having

the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan

within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as

sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have

been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who

hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for

what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly

for it. 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our

weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we

should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with

groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches

the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because

He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God”

(Romans 8:14-27).











Lesson 5
Exhale: Prayer

Your personal time with the Lord is

spent quite a bit in the Bible, but you

must think of God as more than just

a book. He speaks through the Bible

because He is ultimately a person. And like any other person,

God expects us to respond to Him in prayer. He longs to be

worshiped by His children in private prayer.

You will gravitate toward either inhaling or exhaling –

either Bible reading/study or prayer. Yet, both parts are

essential. God talks to me from my Bible, and I talk to Him

through prayer. Any healthy relationship has give and take in


In this lesson we will survey the necessity of prayer and

then summarize the three types of prayer that a Christian

should develop in his or her daily devotional time.

Necessity of Prayer
Prayer is often described as “the Christian's vital

breath,” with emphasis placed on the word “vital.” Prayer is

a vital sign. If you do not have prayer then you are not alive.

If you are not praying then you are not breathing properly.

A quick survey of Scripture,

Prayer is the shows that God’s people are a
praying people. Enoch spent so
vital breath.
much time in God's presence,

talking with Him and walking with Him that God took him

directly to heaven. We read of Noah, Abraham, and Moses

walking and talking with God. Moses’ assistant, Joshua,

followed the same pattern and remained in God’s presence,

even after Moses would return to his public duties:

"Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face,

just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned

to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young

man, would not depart from the tent" (Exodus 33:11).

David's prayers, recorded in Scripture as beautiful

poems, overflowed from a vibrant private prayer life.

Jesus prayed as well. He developed regular patterns of

private prayer. In addition, He would devote entire nights in

prayer. If God's perfect Son needed to pray and commune

with His Father, certainly you and I do as well. 15 The early

church constantly devoted themselves to four activities, and

the first one mentioned is prayer. The early church leaders

gave up many administrative tasks so that they could devote

more time to prayer. 16

We could give many more examples. But let me turn to

you: are you in a habit of praying? I’m not asking if you

mumble blessing for dinner or recite a short script before

sleeping. Do you really pray? Consider a few Scriptural

reasons why prayer is so essential.

1. Some victories can be won only through prayer.

"When He came into the house, His disciples began

questioning Him privately, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’

And He said to them, ‘This kind cannot come out by anything

but prayer’" (Mark 9:28-29).

2. The believer is commanded to pray at all times.

"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

15Consider Luke 6:12: "It was at this time that He went off to
the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to
God." Mark 1:35 is another great example.
16 Acts 2:42; 6:4

[Be] "devoted to prayer..." (Romans 12:12).

"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the

Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all

perseverance and petition for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an

attitude of thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).

3. Prayer unloads your burdens onto the Lord.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand

of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all

your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-


4. Prayer accomplishes much.

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can

accomplish much" (James 5:16).

Activities of Prayer
Perhaps you know the essential nature of prayer and

have seen God work powerfully through prayer, but you

have never been taught how to develop sustained time in

prayer. Let’s do that now. As you talk to the Lord, try to

communicate with Him in three ways: (1) Confession, (2)

Exaltation, and (3) Petition.


As we come before the Lord the first stop is confession.

We are taking off our shoes as we approach holy ground. John

tells us:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to

forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all

unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Before you come to the Lord in petition or praise, you

should spend time confessing sin. The word confession in this

verse is made up of two words in the original language –

“speak” and “same.” Confession is to speak the same thing

about an issue as another. We must agree with God about the

ugliness of our sin. We agree with the Lord that it deserves to

be punished. Then we must turn again to the cross and thank

Jesus for dying for that sin. It is with sorrow mixed with relief

that we confess and forsake our sins in prayer.

A prayer of confession would include something like:

“Lord, I know this ________ is sin, and it displeases

You. It is sin like this that sent your Son, Jesus, to the cross to

bear your wrath. I am so sorry. But I trust the forgiveness

obtained through Jesus’ death on the cross to cover this sin

and thank you for His blood that continues to cleanse me from

my sin.”

It is important to preach the gospel to yourself each

day. Don’t meditate on your sin in order to grovel in guilt.

Confess it, forsake it, and turn to the comfort of the gospel of



Devote another portion of your prayer time to

exaltation. To exalt is to glorify or praise. All these verbs have

reference to making much of the greatness of something else.

That is what you will do in this time. Lose yourself in the

glory of God. Rejoice in the glory of His presence. Meditate

on His character and thank Him for Who He is. At first, this

sounds kind of mystical and New Agey, but it is actually the

natural response to the truth we understand about God in

Scripture. Let me take a few moments to encourage you to

exalt in God.

Although all of the communion with God we have

examined so far in this booklet is soul-satisfying and will fill

your heart with joy, prayers of exaltation can be especially

rich. I say that based on both biblical warrant and also

personal experience. If you will develop a time of quiet

meditation on the glory of God you will not find anything else

in life that will satisfy. When you have tasted the fruit from

the glorious trees of heaven, no earthly taste can satisfy. They

leave you hungry and thirsty for something more. Only God

can satisfy that thirst. 17

Let me share some favorite quotes from Matthew

Henry that can encourage your exaltation of God:

“A holy, heavenly life spent in the service of God, and

in communion with him, is, without doubt, the most

pleasant and comfortable life any man can live in this

world…. Here is bait that has no hook under it, a

pleasure courting you which has no pain attending it, no

bitterness at the latter end of it; a pleasure which God

himself invites you to, and which will make you happy,

truly and eternally happy….

17 “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of

this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I
will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will
become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’” (John

I have found that satisfaction in communion with

God, which I would not exchange for all the delights of

the sons of men, and the peculiar treasures of kings and

provinces.” 18

He is absolutely right! This is the greatest draw of

Christianity, not that God takes all of our problems away, but

that joy in Him is greater than pain in even the worst of


Glorying in God is at the

“I have found
heart of the Westminster
that satisfaction
Confession’s opening question.
in communion
Question: What is the chief with God,
end of man?
which I would
Answer: The chief end of
man is to glorify God and not exchange
to enjoy Him forever.
for all the
As you read Scripture and delights of the
the writings of church history, sons of men” –
you realize that God’s glory and
Matthew Henry
our joy are linked together

inextricably. As you glorify God you enjoy Him. God has

18 The Pleasantness of a Religious Life: Life as Good as It

Can Be (Christian Heritage, 2002), p. 43, 45, 98.

made us to fulfil our purpose of glorifying Him by enjoying

Him. Or to repeat the familiar phrase, “God is most glorified

in us when we are most satisfied with Him.” 19

To help you develop this satisfying practice in your

own life I want to answer two questions: (1) What is the Glory

of God? (2) How can I exalt God in my private prayer time?

What is the Glory of God?

Do you remember when the Lord appeared to Moses in

Exodus? In the text we get a good glimpse of what the glory

of God is.

Moses asked to see God’s glory. God responded to

Moses’s request in the affirmative. “And it will come about,

while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the

rock and cover you with My hand…” (Exodus 3:22). So God

promised to show Moses His glory – although just a portion of His

glory. God’s glory would be seen. So what happens? Read on.

“Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to

Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he

took two stone tablets in his hand. The LORD descended

in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon

19 John Piper, used in multiple books and sermons

the name of the LORD. Then the LORD passed by in

front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD

God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and

abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps

lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity,

transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the

guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the

children and on the grandchildren to the third and

fourth generations.’ Moses made haste to bow low

toward the earth and worship” (Exodus 34:4-8).

Do you see what God’s glory is? God’s glory is His

Name. More specifically, God’s glory is His character –

compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, truthful, forgiving,

keeping covenant promises, punishing the guilty. These are

all manifestations of God’s glory. And Moses’s response was

to do what? Bow and worship.

God’s glory is Who He is, His unique excellence. God

is unique in how forgiving He is. God is unique in how

truthful He is. These are all extremely bright and colorful

beams of glory bursting forth from the pages of Scripture.

God’s glory is His excellence, His greatness in the sum total

of all His character qualities. One word we use to refer to

God’s unique excellences is His attributes.

How can I exalt God in my private prayer time?

Now we need to apply what we have learned about the

glory of God to our private prayer time. To worship God, to

glorify Him, is to be awed with His glory. It is to look at His

glory, just as Moses did, and to bow in holy reverence.

Practically, what does that look like? We see God’s

glory in the Bible. God speaks to us just as He did to Moses.

He reveals His glory to us just as He did to Moses. We read in

Scripture that God is gracious. And we think about that. We

think about what that looks like and how that is demonstrated

in our life. Then we respond in thanks and praise. Look; Think;

Respond. As you begin to do this on a regular basis you will

find that you don’t have much time for other activities in your

private devotional time with God (you can tell I’m biased

toward this activity).

Let me give you a practical example. Many passages of

Scripture are bursting forth with God’s glory so that we are

almost overwhelmed with the light! Look at a Psalm like Palm


• Step 1 - Look

“I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your

name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will

praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and

highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One

generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall

declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your

majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate”

(Psalm 145:1-5).

In the first step you may look at any attribute in the

verses above. They are packed with God’s glory. His name is

blessed; He is great; His greatness is unsearchable; His actions

are great. We could go on and on. But let’s look at one

attribute in particular. The passage says that God is a King.

• Step 2 – Think

Let’s think about the ways that God’s Kingship is true.

God is King, so He is in charge. God is King, so I need to obey

Him. As King His authority goes over the head of my boss or

my political leaders. I am not in control. God is King, and He

is in control. You could go on and on in your thoughts about

God’s kingship.

• Step 3 - Exalt

Once we have looked and thought, we need to express

our praise and thanksgiving to God through Jesus. You may

be on your knees before an open Bible, or you may be on the

subway having this verse memorized. But in your soul, you

are like Moses in front of the burning bush or just glimpsng

God’s glory on the holy mountain. You are praising your

Creator. This is a glorious gift given uniquely to humankind.

We can voice praise to God for Who He is. You may pray

something like this.

“Holy Father, I come to you through Jesus Christ and

Him alone. I praise You for You are King. I do not dread the

future for You are in control. I praise You for the kings of the

world are nothing compared to You. You alone are King of

kings. I praise You for your Kingship will never end. Earthly

kings have limitations through life. But I praise You for I serve

an everlasting King Whose rule will never end. I praise You

for you are King over everything. There is nothing that is out

of Your control. When I face a difficulty today I glory in the

fact that You are King over that difficulty. You rule. Lord, I

give you my sovereignty. I have no rule in my own life. I

simply wait for your direction and guidance. My will is

nothing. I worship and adore You as King. Thank you for

revealing Yourself to me in this way today. Help me Lord to

keep Your Kingship in front of me today. In Jesus name I pray,


These three steps–look, think, and exalt–are the essence

of meditation. Meditation on the glory of God is a soul-

satisfying joy. You will find yourself relieved when you finish

this meditation. Stress and anxiety can’t coexist with comfort

in God’s control. Earthly considerations will lose their claim

on your spirit. You will be free.

This is what changes you from the inside out. I believe

this to be the heart of change. Paul explains that when

considering the Moses story as well.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a

mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into

the same image from glory to glory, just as from the

Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

As we meditate on God’s glory He changes us step by

step–“we are being changed”. As we meditate on God’s

forgiveness, He makes us forgiving. As we meditate on God’s

truthfulness, He makes us more truthful.


The final aspect of prayer is what normally comes to

mind when we consider prayer. Prayer is asking. It is

fascinating that the Lord chooses to work through our

prayers. It is puzzling. And, actually it is scary. There are

some things that God waits for us to pray and ask for before

He provides it. He wants us to demonstrate our dependence

on Him before He works. He sometimes works only after we

ask. I understand this as a father with my children. I enjoy

providing all they need, but I especially enjoy when they

kindly ask for something that I’m waiting to provide for them.

When you come in petition, remember the gospel

again. You have no right before God’s throne apart from the

mercy that is brought to you through Jesus Christ. Jesus

makes God’s presence a throne of grace. You can expect grace

every time you come before God because Jesus has died for

your sins and lived a perfect life in your place. His perfection

is yours, your sin is His. So you come before God in His Son,

in Jesus. This gives us great boldness. Now we are ready to

bring petitions to our Heavenly Father. 20

Let me encourage you to keep a prayer list handy,

perhaps in your Bible. If you don’t list your requests, you will

probably not remember each one. And you won’t remember

how the Lord answers each one (remember, He can answer

with “yes,” “no,” and sometimes “wait”). Instead, try to mark

20 If you would like more information on praying through the

Lord’s Prayer, please pick up one of our booklets that walks through
this pattern.

and track your requests and how God remains actively

involved in response to your prayer.

God wants to work through you in prayer. Pray for

your friends, family, and church. Pray for your government

leaders. Pray for the persecuted church around the world. It

will not take long before you have a long list of things to pray


Also, pray specifically. The more specific your prayer

request, the more glory the Lord receives from saying yes to

that prayer.

Finally, be sure to thank God for answered prayer.

When the Lord does answer your prayer, be sure to thank

Him for what He has done. It is instructive that two of the

times we are told to pray in the New Testament we are told to

pray with thanksgiving. 21 As we bring our petitions before the

Father, let’s not forget to thank Him for the blessings He has

already given us. Petition; and in your petitioning, thank.

21Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by

prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be
made known to God.”
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it
with an attitude of thanksgiving;”

1. What are three activities involved in prayer?

2. What is God’s glory? How can we see it?

3. What three steps are involved in the exaltation process?

What is another name for this?

4. Group Discussion – Discuss how and why God

chooses to wait for our prayers to work on our behalf.

Lesson 6

In our final lesson together, I want to pass along various

tips and thoughts that others have passed along to me in this

practical area of instruction.

1. Stay balanced.

Don’t be crazy.

There is a large amount of information in front of you

now. We have gone through several different ways to get into

the Bible and pray. You have to pace yourself.

Professional marathon runners start at 5K’s. They

slowly work themselves up to an increased level of

endurance. In the sam eway, don’t try to be so devoted to

devotions that you set impossible goals for yourself. If so, you

won’t enjoy your daily devotional time with God. That would

be a horrible result of this booklet! I speak from experience in

this area. At times I’ve tried to accomplish such a big portion

of memory or reading that it actually had a negative effect in

some ways.

On the other hand, don’t finish this book, then ignore

its advice. I am trying to present a pattern of spiritual

breathing that every believer must practice. This is not just for

pastors and extra-spiritual people. If you are a believer, God

calls you to breathe. Don’t be crazy and throw it all away.

I want to encourage you to attack this with zeal. Often

the best things of life are attained through greater effort. The

Lord wants you to pursue Him in His Word. And yet He

wants the pursuit to be enjoyable. Don’t be crazy and bite off

more than you can chew or refuse to eat altogether.

Do be intentional.

If you are just beginning, start small and work your

way to more time and more involved time. Let’s overview

each of the things we have spoken about so you can get a look

at what would be a good plan for you.

If you are just getting started in this, let me encourage

you to pick one of the reading plans in the plowing section to

commit to daily. Also, develop the prayer time in all three

areas of prayer. The Scripture mining may need to be saved

for one or two days a week, perhaps on the weekend.

Most people will divide their time with God in half,

between inhaling and exhaling. Regardless of the amount of

time, try to do this consistently. If you have thirty minutes,

plow or mine for the first fifteen minutes, then pray for the

last fifteen. Using the suggestions in this book, you will find

more than activities to occupy those moments. The reason I’ve

included several different study habits is so you can

experience different ways to study your Bible. Mix and match

these in different ways for variety’s sake; just make sure you

are inhaling and exhaling every day. That is the essential

thing. Breathe, Christian, breathe!

2. Choose a strategic time and place.

Setting or situation may not appear to be important, but

experience tells us otherwise. Our environment does affect

the way we perform. If you have a distracting work space or

a cluttered office, your productivity and ability to concentrate

will be affected. Set aside a strategic place and time for this

private communion with the Lord each day.

This principle applies not just to your job, but to your

time with God. I’m spoiled in that I have access to a private

office for my quiet time. Yet I still need a strategy to maximize

each day. You may not have ideal settings. Your family may

cram six people in a two-bedroom apartment; your

coworker’s loud lunch room chatter may keep you from

concentrating in any meaningful way. For your specific

situation, try to meet the following practical, strategic goals.

A Private Place and Time

It is helpful to pray and read out loud. You will want to

find a scenario where you can express your emotions without

embarrassment or reservation. For this reason, sitting in the

subway on your morning commute may not be ideal since it

does not give you great privacy (unless you use headphones

and pretend to be on the phone). If that is your only time in

the day, it is better than nothing, but try to carve out a private

time where no one but God is around.

A Quiet Place and Time

This is similar to having a private place. Here, though,

I want to highlight the absence of noise, not just absence of

other people. Try to find a place and time where there will be

the least amount of distractions.

You will be surprised by the amount of things that

happen as soon as you begin to pray. The enemy knows the

power of private worship and will distract you. Your phone

has been silent all day; but when you begin to pray, you will

receive a text, notification, phone call, knock on the door, or a

natural disaster in that moment. Take these interruptions as

faith-building. What you are about to do is most important. 22

So plan ahead – find a place and time when you will

experience the least distractions. Many people find the

quietness of the morning or just before bedtime as ideal

because of this principle. Just as important, try to eliminate

technological distractions. Try to put your phone on airplane

mode or, if using your phone for Bible reading, turn off

notifications from other apps. You must do your best to give

undistracted attention to God.

A Consistent Place and Time

Be consistent. We are creatures of habit. Repeating the

same time and place each day will go a long way in helping

you develop this habit. Some people have more obligations

than others, but we all have the same amount of time. You

need to carve out of your busy schedule a slice of time that is

22 D. Edmund Hiebert puts it well in his book Working with

God through Intercessory Prayer: “[Prayer] is the essential element for

Christian victory. Without it, all other means are powerless and
ineffectual. Without prayer, toil we ever so hard, our labors for God
are vain. The Devil cares but little how many activities we engage in
or how many organizations the churches develop, so long as he can
keep believers from intensive prayer. Without prayer all the
machinery is useless for lack of power” (Greenville, SC: BJU Press,
1991, p. 9).
holy – put a wall around that time and allow yourself to spend

time doing what is best.

You remember Jesus’ instruction to Mary and Martha.

Mary set aside time from the busyness of serving and sat at

Jesus feet, listening to Him. Martha confronted Mary – “Lord

rebuke her for she is not doing she is sitting before you.” What

was Jesus' response? He praised Mary for choosing the best

thing. Activity is not always good, especially if that activity

distracts you from the glory of a personal devotional time

with the Lord.

“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations;

and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care

that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?

Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and

said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and

bothered about so many things; but only one thing is

necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which

shall not be taken away from her’" (Luke 10:40-42).

An Optimal Place and Time

You need to find the time that is best for you. I won’t

belabor this point, but some people believe it is extra spiritual

to get up at 4:00 am for devotions, as if that is the only time

the Lord listens to us. And that may be the best time for you.
But that may also be placing temptation in front of you – the

temptation to fall asleep.

9:00 am may be the most productive time for your mind

and body that you can give the Lord. You need to find the

point in your schedule that is optimal for you in both your

ability to think and your ability to be alone.

If you choose an early rise—that is often the most

practical—then you must choose an early sleep. The key to

getting up early is going to bed early. It’s that simple.

3. Mark in your Bible.

It took many years and many times reading through the

Bible before I felt comfortable marking my observations in the

margins. You still may have a hard time doing this. But be

assured; God’s people have been doing this for ages. If it helps

you, consider that the earliest copies of Scripture were all

hand copied. God is holy, His Word is holy, but pages are not.

As you record your communication with Him, you are

recording your heartfelt thoughts and experiences you have

had with the Lord.

It is convenient to have that record for future study.

Another benefit is that the inductive book study (Lesson 3) is

much easier if you are recording these things right in the

margin. You can highlight the themes of a book with different

colors allowing the themes to jump out in front of you.

Computer programs can do this as well, but it is nice to have

that page in front of you for the rest of your life. You will

forget your discoveries if they are not recorded. But if you

don’t record them where you will see them, then you will

forget them anyway.

If you do not have a Bible to use in this area, let me

recommend again the New Inductive Study Bible. This Bible

actually walks you through this process and outlines how to

study each book of the Bible inductively. I have found it an

extremely helpful study tool personally.

Let me encourage you to begin writing, even if you use

mechanical pencil that can be erased if needed. Eventually,

you will want to find a quality, fine tip writing pen. This may

sound simple, but I have to recommend this or you will run

into some problems. The Micron Pigma series of art pens are

great for this purpose, and they are not too expensive. They

come in different thickness and colors. I find .005 to be a good

thickness to help you write small and neat. You can also use

the different colors to mark different themes in your book


4. Utilize resources.
We have examined several resources in this booklet. Let

me give you an overview of these resources and information

on ways to purchase or utilize them online. We are so

privileged in our day to have God’s Word in our hands. Now

we have it on our phones! Don’t miss out on the wealth that

is yours.

Study Bibles

Each of these study Bibles can be found at a local

Christian book store, Amazon, or Each of these

study Bibles will help you answer the questions that we

suggested in Lesson 4.

New Inductive Study Bible (Harvest House) – As I’ve

mentioned before, this is extremely valuable. This is a true

study Bible. The others are “studied Bibles” that share with

you what someone else has studied. This one walks you

through how to study the Bible yourself. You’ll also benefit

from Kay Arthur’s How to Study Your Bible as a partner guide.

ESV Study Bible (Crossway) – With over 250 pages of

extra material, this Bible gives numerous notes, charts, maps

and articles. It offers several interpretational options for

controversial passages, so I would disagree with some of the

notes; still, this is probably the most substantial study Bible


Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale)) – This is a

practical resource with helpful notes.

Other helpful study Bibles are: MacArthur Study Bible

(Thomas Nelson), Ryrie Study Bible (Moody), Scofield Study

Bible (Oxford University Press), and NIV Study Bible


Websites and Apps

There are so many of these available. I will name just a

few, but you can find many others. – Valuable for searching topics as

well as a commentary on each passage that is usually more in

depth than others that are available free. It is usually Biblically

accurate. (and app) – Both the website and

the free app allow you to read and search Scripture in several

different versions, as well as basci commentaries. It also gives

a great audio option for the ESV. (and app) – Valuable in providing

both text and audio Bibles. The app and website also work

together to help you keep track of your Bible reading plan.

This is extremely valuable for those of you who are trying to

read during a commute or lunch break along with other study

time at home.

Commentary Series

The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson) –

This is a shortened edition of John MacArthur’s NT series.

Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren Weirsbe (David

C. Cook) – A condensed edition of Wiersbe’s practical

commentaries on the books of the Bible.

Other commentaries are available for free online. If you

would like recommendations for single commentaries on any

one particular book please contact me. You cn find valuable

insights or bankrupt heresies in human opinions, so choose

these carefully.

Reference Books and Software

BibleWorks Bible Software – This is a heavy-duty

program that helps you search and understand the Bible,

including the original languages. This is for serious students

who love to examine the details of the Scriptural text. As a

pastor, I use this daily and consider it an essential tool for

sermon preparation. Go to to order.

Logos Bible Software (and app) – If you want to build a

robust digital library, this is the program to consider. You can

order just about any Christian book or series of books through

this software. It is also a valuable resource for searching and

studying texts (similar to Bible Works). Warning: this can be

costly, depending on the package. Go to to


Naves Topical Bible (Hendrickson Publishers) – A helpful

summary of different topics in Scripture. You may have one

in the back of your study Bible, but this is more exhaustive.

You can also use this online for free.

Introducing Christian Theology by Millard Erickson

(Baker Press) – This systematic theology is the abbreviated

edition of a longer work. It includes detailed explanations for

essential Christian Doctrines.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (public domain) – R. A.

Torrey’s valuable resource gives hundreds of thousands of

cross-references for every theme in Scripture. After a phrase,

the Treasury will give you a list of several other verses that

are related to the verse you are studying. It is available in

print and also free online as well as in most Bible software


Appendix 1: Memorization Verses

1 Psalm 119:128 My Opinion of God's Word

2 Numbers 23:19 God Will Do As He Has Said
3 Matthew 4:4 God’s Word Above Daily Eating
4 Daniel 4:35 God's Providence: Sovereignty
5 Job 23:14 God's Providence: Personal
6 Romans 8:28-29 God's Providence: Transformational
7 Hebrews 13:5-6 God's Presence Suffices
8 Psalm 23:4 God's Presence Comforts
9 1 Corinthians God's Presence Obligates
10 Psalm 56:3 Faith
11 Hebrews 11:6 Faith
12 1 John 5:4 Faith
13 1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience: the Priority
14 1 John 5:3 Obedience: the Motive
15 Psalm 40:8 Obedience: Christ's Example
16 Proverbs 21:23 Guarded Speech
17 Proverbs 25:15 Soft Speech
18 Proverbs 31:26 Kind Speech
19 Philippians 4:8 The Christian Mind: Its Subjects
20 Isaiah 26:3 The Christian Mind: Its Effect on the
21 James 1:8 The Christian Mind: Its Singleness
22 1 Peter 5:5 Attitudes: Humility
23 Proverbs 22:4 Attitudes: Humility
24 1 Peter 4:8 Attitudes: Christian Love
25 Nehemiah 8:10 Attitudes: Joy
26 Philippians 4:4 Attitudes: Joy
27 Colossians 1:11 Attitudes: Patience
28 Ephesians 4:32 Attitudes: Kindnes/Forgiveness
29 Colossians 3:15 Attitudes: Peace
30 Psalm 27:14 Tempted To Be Discouraged

31 Proverbs 19:11 Tempted To Be Angry
32 Proverbs 23:17 Tempted To Envy Sinners
33 Proverbs 20:4 Tempted To Be Lazy
34 1 Corinthians Tempted To Sin of Any Kind
35 1 John 1:9 Need for Forgiveness & Cleansing
36 James 1:5 Need for Wisdom
37 Matthew 6:31- Need for Material Things
38 2 Thessalonians Need for Protection From Evil
39 Psalm 84:2 Need for Soul-Satisfaction
40 Proverbs 27:6 Need for a Friend's Correction
41 Proverbs 4:14- Relationships: To Evil People
42 Jude 22-23 Relationships: To the Unsaved
43 Romans 16:17 Relationships: To False Teachers
44 2 Thess3:14-15 Relationships: To a Brother in Sin
45 Philippians 2:1- Relationships: Within a Church Family
46 Hebrews 13:17 Relationships: To Spiritual Leaders
47 Psalm 42:5 Praises
48 Psalm 51:15 Blessings
49 2 Timothy 4:18 The Future
50 Proverbs 11:3 Guidance

Appendix 2: M’Cheyne
Reading Schedule

Appendix 3: Horner’s Bible
Reading Lists
Cut out each of the following bookmarks and place

them in the sections as listed on the bookmark. These are the

ten different chapters you read each day from ten different

parts of Scripture. You can find a full explanation online.

Appendix 4: Overview of
Devotional Time
1. Read (plowing)
A. Pray
B. Read (small, medium, large, or supersize)
C. Record
1) What does the passage say?
2) …say about God?
3) …say about how I should live (reflecting or
responding to God)?
D. Live
2. Study (mining)
A. Inductive studies
1) Mining Preparation: Book survey and
2) Mining Process: Summarize sections, then
chapters, then the book
B. Topical studies
1) List all occurrences
2) Summarize each occurrence
3) Categorize and synthesize these into clear
C. Verse memory

1. Confession
2. Exaltation
3. Petition

What are L.I.F.E. Groups?
In the blueprint for church ministry found in Ephesians 4,
God explains that He gives church
leaders who will equip each
individual in the church to do the
work of building others up. Look at
three primary principles from this

Loving—In the Ephesians 4 blueprint, all building is

accomplished through people who are speaking the truth in love.
Love is the great greenhouse of the church. Our motivation in these
groups should not be selfish. We must strive for another person's
spiritual maturity.

Individuals—In the blueprint found in Ephesians 4, the

spiritually maturing church is one where each joint in the body is
functioning properly. The church is like a clock filled with cogs,
gears, and other intricate moving parts. Each part in that clock must
be working properly for the goal to be reached. You are needed in
this clockwork—you are needed in God's blueprint for church

Furthering Edification—In the blueprint in Ephesians 4, God

shares His goal for church ministry—that we are all building each
other up to be more like Christ. We are to think, act and live like
Jesus. So the end goal is that each person will be more like Jesus
through meeting together around God's Word.