If the YouTube video above is not available, here are two other ways to view:
I want to show you now how to do the active reading, as we call it. This is how it is, you prayerfully read Proverbs through with a highlighter. Mark the verses that strike you as needed, powerful, helpful, fascinating but notice you either highlight or mark them in some way. Again, look just for a second at my Bible. Every one of these marks is from, you can see they’re all different, there’s blue, red, black, highlighter; each of these is some time that I’ve read through. Now, I’ve read the book of Proverbs but 120, maybe 130 times. So, I have a lot of marks in there, but you go through and look at this you look as you’re reading for repeated themes. As you’ve highlighted things, you’ll say I’ve already highlighted something about money. Proverbs has much to say about money or about relationships. Proverbs has so much to say about God’s way of relationships. Or it could be something about what a fool looks like or a wise person looks like. You start seeing repeated themes and you start seeing key passages, chapters, or sections. They have much to say about one topic. All the time you’re reading you note these in your journal. Now here’s my journal. I work on it every time I open the Bible; I open the journal next to me, I have it right there. I’m writing down, noting. See right here as your notes say, noting in your journal, then you pick out 10 of the key verses. You might think in verses, and you might just find the 10 best verses in Proverbs or topics on relationships, or fools, or wise, or on money, or whatever, or a passage. Maybe you like a section that talks about wisdom or whatever, and do a written out, three-part devotional. Now what exactly is that?
Back to the board behind me there. You see back there on that board; I’ve actually done one for you and marked on the marker board how I would be writing in my journal. So, with this in front of you, each one of these needs to have a title. So, you need to do 10 of these and you put a title. Here’s my title for this one? The danger of sluggards. A sluggard is a lazy person. That’s what I’ve decided to do. Then, I go through all the passages I found, and I just write down what I find. It says that the sluggard turns on his bed, like a door on its hinges. When you go by his field, the weeds are growing. He says, I can’t go outside because a lion might be out there. He has all these unfounded fears. So, that’s what I mean by noting these in your journal. you write down looking at sluggards and you go through all the verses saying that. You find them in the scriptures, and you write down your observations, which you see.
Now everything you do, doing this assignment, don’t try and think what does he want me to say? You are inviting God to open your eyes to His word and you’re saying, I want to know how not to be lazy because a godly person, a wise person, someone who’s going God’s way is not a sluggard. They don’t turn on their bed like a door to its hinges. They don’t fear going out into life, they have all these unfounded fears. That is God’s way. You and I were born foolish, that’s man’s way. God transforms our mind. In fact, James chapter 3 verse 18 says, 17 and 18, “the wisdom that is from above.” See, when we were born again, God downloads to us His wisdom. It grows every day by reading His word.
Back to your project, turn over here. We need to also, after we get these elements, the title and the summary done. So, number one, a title. Number two, is a summary. Here’s the most important part. Number three, an application. I wrote, Lord I want to live my life with wisdom. I want to live life your way. I want to be hardworking, disciplined, and repenting of all the foolishness of how I’ve lived without you.
So, this is what your Bible should look like when you get done. This is the book of Proverbs. I just started marking we need wisdom because we are lacking discipline and experience and we need maturity and then here’s verse 7.
Part of what we do in reading the Bible and understanding Proverbs is we see God. Then, I start looking at this here’s repeated words. My son. My son, see how I mark them. My son, this whole, my son over here all the way through. You start seeing repeated words and I daisy link those. I mark them so I understand what’s going on.
Now look at chapter 4. In my Bible, this is Proverbs chapter 4, again I highlighted here – words that stood out. Hear, give attention, retain, keep, yet, exalt, love. You see, those are imperatives, they’re commands. Take firm, hold, keep her. Part of the study is for you to learn to just say, God open my eyes. Let me see what your message is, what you’re trying to communicate and show me. What’s being repeated over and over in the scripture.
Then here, is what I told you a moment ago, Proverbs 4:18 and 19. I wrote in my Bible, the two roads of life. “The path of the just is like the shining sun, it shines brighter unto the perfect day. But the way of the wicked is like darkness; they don’t know what makes them stumble. “ Then he goes back to, see this, my so. My son. Do you see that he, basically Proverbs is Solomon inspired by God to talk to his son. Wow. Solomon’s talking to Rehoboam and he’s saying, I asked God for wisdom, He gave me more wisdom than any normal human has ever had, other than Jesus Christ, he was the smartest, wisest, most powerful minded person in the world? He said, I want to share with you Rehoboam, my son, what God says. Now the sad thing is, Rehoboam didn’t listen, but that’s a different story to hear.
Here is an example of our Proverbs life-changing devotional project. You can pick topics. There’s lots on money, on sex. Chapter 7 is an amazing section on God’s designs for sex and marriage. Much, much in there about alcohol, foolishness and wisdom, pride, how to talk, how to raise children, how not to use your tongue. Also, you can do topics or is I already said, key verses for your project. Some of you might want to do key chapters. Chapter 8 is all about wisdom personified. Of course, chapter 31 is about God’s view of marriage, especially the virtuous woman. Chapter 7 is about temptations, modesty, the wicked woman, and what to not look at, at night.
Going on, this is an overview of what we’re doing. This course project is picking 10 chapters or 10 verses or 10 topics from the book of Proverbs to spiritually digest. That means you pray over them, ask God to open your mind to use what I’m describing here. I call it the devotional method. Which you have a title for each one. So, a title for one and title for the second, all the way through to the 10th. You have on all 10 of them a title, then your summary. I’ll show you a summary in just a second. Then you write out prayers to the Lord.
Now, what is the prayer? Almost everybody when they read the Bible say, Oh, that is a great verse for my roommate, or parents say that’s a great verse for my child, or my husband, or my wife. This is not the purpose of our Bible study. The purpose of our Bible study is the hardest thing to do in Bible study, to say this verse is pointing at me; what God wants me to change. Do you understand that?
See that? I led Bible studies, 10 Bible studies for a year and a half, 10 different groups. We covered the 52 greatest chapters in the Bible and all of them had to do this. They all had to write a prayer, from you to the Lord. Asking Him to change you. Write out this prayer in our group, you have to read them aloud. It petrified the men. I had 30, I think 36 men that were in these 10 groups, scared them to death. Number one, they didn’t want to admit they were struggling with anything. Number two, they didn’t want to make themselves vulnerable to say in front of a group this is what I want God to change my life.
But that’s the essence of Christianity, Hebrews 10. Now let me get back here so you can get this. Hebrews 10 verses 24 and 25 say, “let us consider one another how to provoke to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” but listen to this, “but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
What day? The day that Jesus is coming back and taking me into His presence, glorified forever in Heaven. Part of that is going to be Him looking at my life, what I did with my life. So now, do you see why in this project, everything I want to be changed, I want Him to work on in me, impact me, everything I want to apply from the Bible. That’s what I’m writing out on this prayer.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, 52 Greatest Chapters In The Bible here
Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.