The goal in reading the Bible isn't to develop spiritual discipline (although that's healthy and good), the goal is to give you a way to grow your relationship with God. Instead of just ticking the box that you've read the Bible, let's go a little deeper.
We encourage you to grab a notebook or journal so you can write some things down. It's amazing and encouraging to look back and see what the Lord was doing in your life. Also, say a prayer before you read and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
S - SCRIPTURE
Write down the Bible verse or verses that stood out to you. This helps you focus on each word individually and on the passage as a whole. It also helps you soak it in and meditate on it.
O - OBSERVATION
Examine the text and write down what you notice.
• What jumps out to you in the passage?
• From whom is it written? To whom is it written?
• What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
• What seems interesting or unusual?
• What comes before and after the text?
• Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?
These observations may start with the obvious (i.e., Jesus spent time with his disciples), but will gradually become deeper.
A - APPLICATION
Apply God’s Word to your life in a practical way. This is the part where you personalize your study of Scripture. As you read over the text, how does it apply to you? Is there a specific action you need to take or a confession you need to make?
If it’s an action, try to make it SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
P - PRAYER
Respond to God’s Word with your own words. Accumulating head knowledge about God is of little use; it’s heart transformation He’s after, and that’s only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the seed (the Scripture you just studied) falls on good soil in your heart so that it will take root and produce fruit. Praise God for His character revealed in the passage. Confess any sin that has come to light during this time of studying. Thank Him for His Word and His care. Also, ask the Holy Spirit to continue growing you into a disciple of Jesus.