If you’re anything like me, it’s really easy to read a passage of Scripture, think to yourself, “Huh, that was interesting,” and then walk away and forget everything you just read! It happens to me all the time. And when it comes to actually growing spiritually, just reading huge swaths of Bible passages isn’t always going to equate to actually learning the Bible.
You have to read intentionally.
That’s why it helps to have a study method that will encourage you to focus more intently on what you’re reading. Here is the one strategy I find most helpful for making my Bible-reading more effective.
The Swedish Method
I learned about this method from David Helm’s book, One-to-One Bible Reading (pp. 43-45), and it has quickly become my favorite reading strategy.
It’s my favorite because it is super simple. The Swedish Method involves finding three things in the Bible passage you read that day and writing them down:
- An observation. What is one thing that really sticks out to you in the text? Something that caught your attention, or that you never noticed before?
- A question. What is something in the text that you want to learn more about? Did anything confuse you?
- An application. What is one thing you need to do in light of this text? Is there a principle to obey, or a promise to trust, or an example to copy or avoid?
I love that it isn’t a long, intimidating list of steps. Just a simple, manageable strategy for getting more out of what you read. It works simply by making you think about what you’re reading.
Of course, you don’t have to stay at just one of each; you can write as many observations, questions, or applications as you can think of (or have time for)! Treat it as a jumping-off point. Let your questions spur you on to further research or a good conversation. That’s the beauty of the Swedish Method – it’s simple but adaptable.
It’s also excellent for group study! We took our small group through the Gospel of Matthew last summer using this method and it was awesome. It encouraged each person to read Scripture for themselves, and each week we shared our observations and discussed our questions.
Try it out, and let me know in the comments what you think! What are some Bible study methods you’ve found helpful?