Thursday, October 5, 2023

1 - Devotional Bible Study Method

Big Idea: A Bible study method based on application is practical for daily living.

Series note: The next 12 weeks will feature summaries of the 12 Bible Study Methods featured in the book by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.

The Bible Applied to Daily Life

My mother and I were working in the garden on a hot day in North Dakota. I was about 8 years old, probably doing more playing than helping. She asked me to bring her a cup of cold water. Remember what the Bible says, she quoted.

And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded. Matthew 10:42 NLT

It was the Bible, applied to daily life. It began to shape my life on the importance of service before self.


The Bible is not just words  

The Devotional Bible Study Method, according to Rick Warren, shows how to prayerfully meditate on the Bible and apply to our daily experiences.

He states that you don’t really know and absorb the Word of God unless you apply it. Otherwise it is just words.

Additionally, the Bible can actually be dangerous if you study it but do not apply it. One example he gives is that you could get arrogant and just brag about what you know, without living it (I Cor. 8:1). 

Application is hard work

Rick Warren gives us three reasons why applying the Bible to daily life takes hard work.

1. It requires serious thinking.
2. Satan fights against it viciously.
3. We naturally resist change.

Four steps to practical application

Every chapter of Warren’s book is practical. He provides charts and templates for personal study. Here are four practical steps he gives on studying from an application point of view, which are the 4 sections of his template on the Devotional Method.

1. Pray for insight on how to apply the passage you have chosen.
2. Meditate on the verse or verses.
3. Write out applications you see from that passage.
4. Memorize a key verse.

Suggested passages 

Psalm 15
Psalm 34
Romans 12
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
1 John 4

Warren’s summary

The Ultimate test by which we study and apply Scripture is the person of Jesus Christ. We have to ask, “Does this application help me become more like Jesus?”

If we do not apply the biblical insights God gives us, we become spiritually dull to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Application of God’s Word is vitally necessary to our spiritual health and our growth in Christian maturity.

Resource: charts for every method

Here is an online PDF of the book by Rick Warren, Bible Study Methods: 12 ways you can unlock God's Word


Previous: “Three Versions” Bible Reading
Up next: The Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study



1. Take a moment of reflection on your life. Can you think of an example when you were aware that the Bible was relevant to, and helpful to, a life experience?

2. In all honesty, when you read the Bible are you mindful to apply it to your life situation today? Was there moment when you came to realize the importance of application?