One of the most common excuses for people not reading the Bible is that they don’t feel like the Bible applies to them. However, as author and senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Robby Gallaty, explains in this video, the Bible continues to be relevant to us in our modern context. The HEAR journaling method, developed by Pastor Robby, is a tool to help people better read the Bible and hear what God has to say to them.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
One of the practices that has truly revolutionized my own personal Bible reading and studying time has been the HEAR journal method. And a lot of people ask me, like, “How did you create that?”
When I was flying back and forth from Chattanooga to New Orleans to finish my degree, I had an audience on a plane that was totally interested in anything I had to say and they couldn’t get away. So I conducted an informal survey over the course of those two and half years and I asked every person next to me the same two questions.
And here’s what the questions were. Number one is, why don’t people study the Bible? Now you have to understand, I have an eclectic group at this time. I have people who are in ministry and people who are not. I have Catholics and Presbyterians. I have new age practitioners. I have people of different faiths. And so, it was a big different sampling of people. And so I asked them, Why don’t people read the Bible?
But the second question is, why don’t you read the Bible? And so, you could imagine I got a lot of different answers from different people, but the number one answer they said to me over the course of time was, “The Bible simply doesn’t apply to me.”
That’s maybe what you’re thinking right now. Like how does a 2,000 year-old book have any bearing on my twenty-first century life?
So I decided to create the HEAR method in order to eliminate, in a sense, the excuses for hearing from God. The way it works is this: You’re gonna read less to digest more. I’ve created a Bible reading plan called the Foundational 260 or the F260. And we have that both in Old and New Testament and just the New Testament. But the way the plan works is you’re gonna read less to digest more. So you’re not reading to check boxes which we’re all good at. You’re gonna actually read – here’s a novel idea – to hear from God.
And so you HIGHLIGHT a Scripture. So let’s say you’re reading John 1. You would read, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Verse 14, “And became flesh and dwelt among us.” So you may highlight that verse. That’s the H.
The E would be EXPLANATION or EXPLAIN. So what you’re gonna do is explain the text. Now, don’t think you need a seminary degree for this. A simple study Bible will do. And you’re just explaining what the text meant back then. So you’re asking questions like, What did the Holy Spirit say here? Why is this happening here? Who’s the author? Who’s the audience that it’s happening to?
And then the crux of the whole method is the A. The A is the word APPLY. So highlight, explain, apply. Apply is asking the text, what does this look like in my life? How would this apply to my present day situation?
So let’s take John 1. And remember, this is not rocket science. The explanation part may say something like this: Jesus was the Word or is the Word. He was in the beginning with God. The Word was in the beginning therefore Jesus is God. Pretty simple, right?
The A, the application point would take the E and apply it. So you may say something like this, Since Jesus is the Word of God and the Word of God is God or the Word is God – watch this – every time I read the Word I spend time with Jesus.
The R takes what you’ve just read and puts it into practice today. So it’s the RESPONSE to the text. And I find a lot of journaling methods will stop at A. But the R is either a prayer or an action. So how can I take what I just read and put it into my life today? So you may say, “God, give me a burden for the Word of God.” Or more importantly you may say, “God, I’m gonna commit to read the Bible every day to get into the Word and so the Word gets into me.”
Now here’s the thing I want you to think about. Imagine if you tried this for a week. Not a year, but just a week. Do you think it would have impact on your life? Imagine trying this for a year. I just want to tell you from experience, this has been the difference that’s made all the difference in my life. No better way to start than now. Let me encourage you to do that.