What would happen if the only thing you ate all day, every day was candy? "I would be a blimp or a zit-faced pig," you might say. What if you never ate anything at all? "Id die," you could brilliantly deduce! What if you only ate regurgitated food? You might say, "Yuck! That is gross!" You wouldnt survive for very long if you ate like this.
The idea of living every day with a poor diet is not something we would want to do. Yet, every day many Christians are living malnourished lives. They fill themselves with "spiritual junk food" like TV, movies and music that talk about things which go against what God wants for us. Or, their only food is what they get from a pastor or other Christian leader. While listening to sermons is great, they are not enough to keep you spiritually nourished. You need to chew the food yourself, getting your nourishment directly from Gods Word.
One of the most important things you can do for the students you are leading is to help them get hungry for Gods Word. What you really need to do is teach them to eat for themselves! Just like a baby needs to learn how to eat in order to survive, Christians need to learn to study Gods Word on their own. Otherwise, they will just be "big babies."
Five Steps to Dining on Gods Word
Lets take a look at five steps to dining on Gods Word and a simple plan for studying the Bible that can help you get the most out of it.
1. You need to hear.
2. Read the Bible on a regular basis.
3. Study it.
4. Memorize it.
5. The dessert of this meal is
A great way to picture these five steps or courses of a spiritual meal is to look at your hand. Each finger could represent a different course. As you look at your hand, imagine the names of each course written on one of your fingers. Start with your pinkie for "hear" and finish with your thumb for "meditation." Taking all five steps for dining on Gods Word will help you get a grip on living the Christian life.
The O-I-A Process
"Okay, but how do I study the Word in order to get more out of it?" Since study is a very important step in deepening your understanding of the Bible, its critical that you use a good process for digging into Gods Word so you can digest it properly. One simple process for study could be remembered with the letters O-I-A: Observation, Interpretation and Application.
1. Begin by Observing.
This step also requires that you ask other good questions: "Who is involved? What has happened? When did it happen? Where did these events take place?" These are all good questions to ask when you observe a portion of the Bible.
2. Next, Interpret the passage.
3. Finally, Apply what you have
A good way to apply what a passage teaches you is to remember the word "SPACE." Look for:
S - Sins to
When you study a part of the Bible using O-I-A, it is a good idea to have a pen and paper handy. Even better, keep a notebook you can use as a journal to write down things you have learned and how you have grown through your studies.
A good format for taking notes would be to write down the key words, Observation, Interpretation, and
Application. Allow space for writing after each word. Also, at the top of the page, write the reference you
are studying then the SPACE acrostic at the bottom. Your notes might look like this:
As you begin to deepen your commitment to reading and digesting what God has to say through His Word, you will begin to enjoy some fine dining. Bon appetit!