I’ve started a series of posts here at The Littlest Way called, “Bible Study Journal Template” with the intention of encouraging and instructing you in the various ways and means of Bible study. Sometimes not knowing where or how to get started is the hardest part and my hope is following these templates will give you the nudge to just do it.
You can find the first post in the Bible Study Journal Template series here where I share my Bible study on a story in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 9.
As I mentioned in the first post, I’m digging chapter by chapter through a book I read a few years ago, Learn to Study the Bible. In this book the author details forty plus ways to study the Bible.
The thing I like about this book was that it is short in the “Whys” and offers forty different “Hows.” I had no idea until this book that there were so many different methods that others use to study their Bible. I’m thankful there are because every so often I need a refresh or a restart in my Bible study to keep it interesting.
Learn to Study the Bible provides the “Core Components of Bible Study,” “Simple Bible Study Methods,” “Major Bible Study Methods,” “Creative Bible Study Methods,” Studying Specific Passages,” and “Study Methods for Younger Students.” There are Bible Study Acronyms, and “Instructions for Continued Growth.”
Before someone asks, no, this book is not written by a Catholic or from a Catholic perspective. But studying the Bible is something every Catholic should be doing! Take the gold from this book and if there’s any dross–which I don’t remember there being any, leave it. Simple as that.
If you’d like to follow along and make your own Bible Study Journal template, I recommend you purchase a spiral or composition notebook, a favorite pen, and highlighters, grab your Bible and anything else you think you might need to study your Bible using these various methods. You can find some of my favorite Bible Journaling supplies here.
Today’s post is going to work through Matthew 7:15-20 using the “Timothy Method.”
Bible Study Journal Template: Timothy Method
The Timothy Method begins this way, “Ask yourself this simple question: What purpose does the Bible serve?” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 answers that question, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
The author lists four steps in the Timothy Method. Step 1–Doctrine/Teaching. Step 2–Reproof/Rebuking, Step 3–Correction/Correcting, Step 4–Instruction/Training. Let’s start working through Matthew 7:15-20 and I’ll share my reflections.
15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Step 1 TEACHING
Pay attention to the way a person acts; their actions and results from those actions will reveal their heart and most importantly, their friendship or lack of friendship with Jesus. It’s important, life-giving and life-saving to me that I pay close attention to the people I choose to allow in my influence.
And another thought, God’s will is for me to bear good fruit. This passage contains a strong warning if I’m not following His will and producing His desired results. “So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Step 2 REBUKE
Before I started this step I needed a little clarification between reprove and rebuke. Reprove means to express disapproval and rebuke means to criticize harshly. Using that clarification I chose rebuke for this next step.
“…chopped down and thrown into the fire…” sounds like pretty harsh criticism. Although it could also be a strong expression of disapproval. But guess what? This is my study.
In the past, I would have gotten stuck at this step, afraid to mess up and choose the wrong one. I may have chosen the wrong one–either way. But the point isn’t to become paralyzed in a Bible study–that’s from the enemy who wants to discourage me from pushing through the fear of failure or doubt.
Back to this step, verse 15 reveals what is wrong. False prophets come disguised as harmless sheep but in reality, are vicious wolves! It’s my job to discern and “test” them so we can identify them for what they really are.
What are the consequences if I don’t pay attention to the fruit being produced in a person’s life? The figurative language here is that I will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. That doesn’t sound good!
This step made me ponder how important my actions and the actions of others are. It reminded me that I don’t have to wildly guess about a person; there are clues into their character and heart and I need to watch for them and be aware of the consequences they can have in my life.
Step 3 CORRECTING
I chose correcting for the next step. I think this verse clearly shows a problem and consequence. But how do I correct the problem? This passage challenged me to use discernment. I can pray for the gift of discernment and learn to recognize and know exactly who and what I’m dealing with. Man, this is important! I deal with various people all the time and so do you!
The second topic for consideration, why do I need to correct this? Why does it matter to me how other’s behave or the fruit they are producing? Because eternity is at stake!! I can very easily lose my footing, my motivation, my divine desires, and my friendship with Jesus just by the fruit my friends are producing.
Step 4 INSTRUCTION
These verses have made me aware of a problem, instructing me on how to recognize the problem, and warning of the consequences this problem can cause in my life.
Using the Timothy Method for this Bible Study Journal template was a little harder than I expected. But harder doesn’t mean bad. I appreciated that this method made me dig a little deeper into my thoughts. I had to dig deeper in order to classify them into one of the categories each step contained.
Remember, this is the second post in the Bible Study Journal template series. You can find the first one here, Bible Study Journal Template: Matthew 9