Read a summary of chapter 7 or go directly to any of the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Challenge
  3. Meditating on the Word
  4. Overview of Journaling
  5. The Journals of Jim Elliot
  6. Creating a Word Journal
  7. Leaving a Legacy
  8. Sample Journal Entries
  9. Bibliography

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Creating a Word Journal

Journaling is an excellent way to get in touch with what God wants to teach us personally from His Word.

When we sit before the Word of God, we come with an expectancy that God has something to say to us. We pray beforehand asking, "Lord, what do You have for me from Your Word today?" There is the expectancy that the Holy Spirit will reveal to our spirits some truth the Word has for us personally, beyond simply gaining information or insight. This process of personal revelation (theologically referred to as "illumination") through the Word is facilitated by journaling, for the reader purposes to write down that which the Spirit is speaking to the heart through the Word. (For more information about how to hear God speaking through His Word see the page so titled on the web site.).

(Some Bible scholars and teachers object to this approach to Bible reading. They contend that it is improper for the reader to ask the question, "What does this mean to me?" when reading Scripture. They argue that to interpret Scriptures correctly, we must instead ask the question, "What was the author's intent in writing this?" and we must take into consideration to whom the author was writing before making an interpretation. This objection is a valid one if the discussion involves proper methods of interpretation of Scripture. But interpreting Scripture is quite different from personally applying Scripture. The Bible was written for us; for each and every believer who comes face-to-face with the Word of God. Exodus 12:26 states, "And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' you shall say...." [See also Exod. 13:8, Deut. 4:9; 6:20.] That someone might make an inappropriate application is possible, but because there is a risk does not mean that no attempt at personal application should be made at all!)

Sometimes God speaks to us concerning personal issues we are dealing with, or emotional struggles that overwhelm us. Other times, the Lord provides a specific answer to a problem we are dealing with. Or, the Word may open our minds to something we're failing to do as a Christian, or as a parent, or as a son or daughter. One of the benefits of journaling is that it slows the reading process down, allowing time for meditation and reflection, recording what God is telling our hearts through His Word.

Journaling does not have to be pages and pages of stream of consciousness, although for some, that may become a wonderful source of inspiration or creativity. Most people, however, have tight schedules and can afford to write only a brief paragraph or two. Even one sentence is worthwhile if it reflects what the Word has inscribed on the heart.

The key to good journaling from the Word is to record what God's Word is saying to your heart.

The point in journaling, however, is write something down. That way, more thought will be given to a key word in the chapter or a particularly meaningful verse. The secret to journaling is to find the verse or phrase that has particular meaning to you at the moment, and write about what it means to you.

By doing this, the Word of God becomes personally meaningful and applicable and the reader comes away with the rightful impression, "God spoke to me today."

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path."
—Psalm 119:105

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