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Knowing the reality of military operations that can make it difficult or impossible to access anything more than your Bible. It is not unheard of to have devotions on an empty mess deck, by the light of a red fire exit sign or under a blanket with a flashlight. In fact, with the exception of those with access to a computer, nobody ever deploys with a theological library in their locker, rucksack or flight bag. It is possible, however, to do very meaningful Bible studies with no more tools than paper and pen or pencil.

This method being shared can be a personally edifying, devotional approach that is time honored. It begins with opening the Bible and reading it! As you read a passage, seek to understand the context (the main topics of the paragraph, chapter and book in which the passage is located) so that any interpretations you make are consistent with the author’s intent. Trust the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher. Ask the Lord to speak to you and to lead you not only in hearing but also living out whatever you learn (see James 1:22-25).

The mechanics of this method come from the questions that the Apostle Paul asked when he was confronted by Christ on the road to Damascus, as he recounted in Acts 22:6-11. It is always appropriate to ask, “Who are you, Lord?” (vs. 8) and “What shall I do, Lord?” (vs. 10). he first question is seeking to know God, the theologians call it “proper theology.” The second question is seeking to know what to do about it, the theologians call it “practical theology.” he whole process is what they call “theological reflection.” But these are just fancy ways of saying that we need to figure out who God is and how we should live in response to Him.

So this quick-step method is simply a way of asking those questions and deciding what to do in response to the answers. You could, in fact, just make asking those literal questions and seeking the answers from the passage the sum total of your routine. But as part of the process try to answer the two questions and pursue the two action steps that follow (you could call it the ASK & ACT devotional Bible study method):

ASK: What does the passage say about God the Father, the Son, and/ or the Holy Spirit?

ASK: What does the passage say about any specific person(s), people in general or me in particular?

ACT: Determine anything from the passage for which I can worship, praise, thank or ask the Lord — and d o so!

ACT: Determine any sins I need to confess and forsake, promises to claim, commands to obey, examples to follow, errors to avoid, actions to take, etc. — and d o so!

Jot down the answers to the questions as well as the actions you intend to take in response. Acting on what you have discovered begin with writing out and reciting a prayer. Praying through this process will really help your to understand and apply whatever truth you have gleaned from the passage.

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