It can be difficult to know how to start when we’re just getting started with studying the Bible. Should we just pick it up and start reading? Is there a plan to follow? Are there any tools that can help?
For those just starting out with studying the Bible, the TEXT Method is a memorable and accessible entry point.
What is the TEXT Method?
Developed by Michael and Hayley DiMarco, the TEXT Method is a Bible study approach built on four steps:
- Talk to God in prayer before you read.
- Encounter God and humanity in Scripture as you reflect on two simple questions: what does this passage say about God, and what does it say about humanity?
- eXamine your heart, considering what needs to be confessed, added, taken away, or maintained as a follower of Jesus.
- Talk to God and others, thanking God for what he has shown you in Scripture, and sharing what he’s shown you with someone else.
The TEXT Method in Practice
As you can tell from the four steps above, using the TEXT Bible Study method is easy to do. But sometimes it’s helpful to see it in practice. So grab your Bible, turn to Genesis 1:26–28, and let’s try it as we see how Scripture reveals God as the Creator of all.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26–28, NET)
Talk to God
Ask God to soften your heart and open your mind to reveal who he is and who you are with and without him.
Encounter God and humanity
Make two columns with “God” over the left and “Humanity” over the right. Read the passage and write down all the attributes of each that you find in it. Once you’re done (or you get stuck), read this:
Have you ever been to a town with a statue of some famous person in the middle of it? This statue might look a lot like the person looked, but it isn’t him, of course. It’s not made of flesh but of steel or stone, and it’s not breathing; it’s solid and lifeless.
The idea of the statue is that it bears the image of the person or shows us something of what the person looked like. A statue made in the image of a person is meant to remind us of them, to help us never forget what they did in their lifetime, and to think about them every time we see the statue.
You’re not a statue, but you were made in the image of God. God created us in his image, both male and female. But does that mean that God looks like you? Not exactly. Just like a statue made in a man’s image has some features of that man, so you have some of the features of God.
For example, God is spirit, and though you have a body, you have spirit as well. Your soul makes up who you are, what you think, and how you feel. This spirit makes you different from the rest of creation, different from the animals, plants, and stars.
God is the source of all intelligence and creativity, and he made us like him when he made us able to think and reason. Because we are intelligent, we can build, farm, design, and improve. God is also relational, and so he made us to live in community and enjoy the company of others, just like the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live in community.
God didn’t make us to live lonely lives, never connecting to other human beings. He made us to live in relationship with others, to laugh, to cry, to care, to talk. That’s because all people, even non-believers, were made in God’s image. But to glorify God, we have to recognize his image in the lives of those around us. As we do, we will become more and more aware of his continual presence in the world around us.
God created humans in his image so that there would be billions of created lives all pointing back to the Creator, revealing the truth about who he is.
eXamine your heart
Do you see yourself as created in the image of your Father? When you look at the people around you, do you see all the amazing things they do, think, and create? Do you see the amazing power, creativity, and love of God?
Talk to others
Conversations about people’s differences can be lively and combative. Try something different by talking with others and building community through commonality, appreciating God’s creativity in the differences.
Uncover the message between God, humanity, and you
The devotional above is adapted from The TEXT, a new Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Made with students, young adults, and new believers in mind, The TEXT Bible introduces a memorable and effective Bible study method you’ve just experienced and dozens of easy-to-understand features to help younger and newer believers develop a habit of lifelong Bible study.