Reading Plan Update: Journaling

January 9, 2010

General

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=antique+book&iid=309815″ src=”0306/0000306556.jpg?adImageId=8893459&imageId=309815″ width=”234″ height=”349″ /] More books arrived today!  The reading program is officially off the ground and cruising at a comfortable pace.  Currently I’m reading through Scripture; something that I will be doing the entire year.  This is in addition to any Bible reading done for focused study.  “Read your Bible and pray every single day.”  How many have heard that admonition?  Simply, God is deserving of our full measure of devotion.  The more I read the more I desire to read.

Also, I’m well into “The Hermeneutical Spiral” by Osborne.  Truly this book yields appreciation for the art and science of Biblical Interpretation; as well as technique.  Scholars throughout the ages have meditated over every single vowel and consonant of Scripture ad infinitum.  Everything has already be put through it’s paces, but God still requires us to do our own scholarship, according to our own abilities.  More on this book later, suffice for now to say that as a lay person who doesn’t know Greek or Hebrew, some of the craft I won’t be able to apply.  Particularly the intricate grammar work.  But, I’ll certainly do a lot of contextual studying, which this book will help with tremendously.

Something that is key to this whole reading program, and kind of flies under the radar, is the keeping of a journal.  In reality, I’m not studying, I’m reading.  Two different things.  For this year, with this plan that I’ve set forth, I’ll be attempting a group of readings.  Study denotes intensive investigation on a level much deeper than just merely reading a book.  The thing of it is, though, is that I absolutely intend to come away with a much improved understanding of the stuff of the list.  The Journal is the key.

 Now, in all honesty, I’m not journaling the eschatology stuff.  What I’m mainly interested in is the reading through the Scriptures.  Of course, the two will overlap, and much of my thinking as I read through the Bible will be influenced by eschatology.  My thoughts on the necessity of a journal follow below:

  1. We can’t honestly think that we can go before God and not think that He will give us something important enough to write down.  I don’t know about you, but I’m rather thick.  It takes repetition for me to really appreciate a new idea.  I want to have the thought available for review after I’ve forgotten it twenty minutes later.
  2. I want to keep a history so I can observe how God has changed my way of thinking.  The Scriptures are the rule of faith by which we live and grow.
  3. Like the Bereans, I want to be critical of what I read.  Whenever questions arise, I want to be able to record them.  Answers to these questions may not be apparent, initially, but God may take me to the solution in further readings.  The journal records the process of learning.
  4. Creativity is part of learning.  If I have an idea or just want to try looking at things in different ways, the journal can, again, facilitate that process.  Sometimes thoughts aren’t communicated best by words; try drawings.
  5. When something is confusing it’s best to sort it out by writing it down in an explanatory way.  It’s important to distinguish between fact and interpretation, figures of speech and literal statements, etc.
  6. Perhaps notes from other sources could play into the understanding of a particular passage; for the reasons stated above this source material may be an appropriate entry.
  7. Technically speaking, I’m recording thoughts that are new.  I’m not outlining passages.  No busywork here.

OK, that’s enough.  I’m sure that if you thought about it, you could come up with your own reasons, too.  The bottom line is a journal keeps you active in the reading process and less of a passive bystander.  Please comment if you have additional thoughts.  I want to know what you’re thinking!

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