Probe the Bible with Questions
By Rick Warren
— February 7, 2012
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22 NLT)
As I’ve taught over the last few weeks, Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud: by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
The “probe-it” method of Bible study is a great way to do that. When you use that method, you probe the text with questions, almost like a jackhammer. To help you do that, I’ll share with you one of the strangest acrostics I’ve ever used: SPACEPETS. Each letter in the phrase is the first letter of a key word of a question you ask of God’s Word.
- Is there a SIN to confess? Does God’s Word make me aware of something I need to make right with God?
- Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God’s Word. Ask yourself if the passage you’ve read contains a universal promise. Ask whether you’ve met all the conditions of the promise. Every promise has a premise!
- Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something about which I need to think differently? Do I need to work on a negative attitude, worry, guilt, fear, loneliness, bitterness, pride, apathy, or ego?
- Is there a COMMAND to obey? Is there a command I need to obey no matter how I feel?
- Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid?
- Is there a PRAYER to pray? Paul, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah, among others, pray in the Bible. You can use their prayers and know that they’ll be answered because they’re in the Bible and in God’s will.
- Is there an ERROR to avoid? It’s wise to learn from experience, and it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others! We don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. So what can I learn from the mistakes of those in Scripture?
- Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we’ll read something in Scripture that we can’t do anything about. We simply have to believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible.
- Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage you can be grateful to God for, like something God has done or protected you from.
Every question in this list has a verb in it. There is something you can do associated with them. Write them in your Bible or put them on a note card you keep with your Bible. They’ll help you be “doers of the Word” every time you meditate on the Bible.
Talk About It
- After reading about the probe-it method, go back to the Scripture you read yesterday for your quiet time and apply this method to that passage. What new truths do you discover?
- What promise from God are you leaning on today?
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Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.