Worship Tips - Bible Study | The Practical Disciple

Bible Study and Worship Tips: What to Look for in a Sermon or Passage

I have encouraged readers in recent posts to take notes when listening to a sermon and to set goals for responding. I thought it may be helpful though if I offered some suggestions as to what to look or listen for. When I am either doing bible study or listening to a sermon I listen for what I call three basic callings. They are principles, tasks and changes.

  • Principles or life lessons are instructions for how we should live as disciples. For example, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is a general guiding principle that we should seek to be mature in all the time.
  • Tasks are measurable commitments that you believe God is calling you to accomplish. For example, you might read a passage on forgiveness and feel led to reconcile a particular broken relationship.
  • Changes are shifts in who we are that need to be made in order for us to follow God more faithfully. For example, you may realize that you have a problem with judging other people and know that you need to learn to extend to others the grace you have been given by God.

Identifying a principle, task or change is just the beginning. Once identified you need to set concrete measurable goals for how you will pursue the calling. Some callings can be accomplished via a goal and some callings require an ongoing discipline. Particularly, I find that life changes requiring repentance often times necessitate the adoption of some form of ongoing spiritual discipline.
 
Lastly, I need to add that not every sermon or bible lesson is going to necessarily leave you with something to do. Sometimes you simply get exposed to a truth that you need to know or understand. For example, a sermon may teach you about the divinity of Christ. That is a truth you need to understand but there may not be a particular calling in it. So, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t walk away from every scripture passage with a mission. Similarly, I found that sometimes God gives me comfort or assurance. In those instances, where I do not sense any immediate calling I simply ¬†thank God for the truth revealed or the comfort given.
 
Next time you read try looking for one of these specific ways God speaks to us through his living word.
 
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