We can gain that insight by using an aggressive three-step process of mental engagement for meditation. Its aggressive because it is targeted and intentional. But it is also simple. And the results are staggering.
The main advantage of this three-step approach is taking things an unusual step further by looking to engage the mind in connecting additional concepts together across the Scriptures and into life. This process lends itself to gaining insight by discovering the connectivity of the Bible instead of reading passages in isolation.
Step #1: Sorting Out the Text
Dr. Kevin Washburn teaches that to learn, it is necessary for our brains to “identify, label, and sort incoming data.” We must process what we’ve read, sorting it all out mentally to gain comprehension.
What does sorting out the text look like?
Sorting out the text is nothing more than quality Bible study. Need ideas for creative ways to process the text? Take a look at Demian Farnworth’s 10 creative steps for right-brained thinkers to study the Bible. Do everything from marking key words with colored pencils to making topical lists. Get a grasp of what the text says.
Step #2: Zero in on Key Concepts
Look for key concepts in what you read. A concept is a bottom-line key point of the text. It is a principle, not a description, summary, or theme. It is a clearly-stated truth that likely appears in more than one place in the Bible.
An example concept is in Philipians 2:1-10: God exalts the humble. A wrong way to state the concept would be to say, “Paul wrote that Jesus was humble.”
Step #3: Connect Concept With Other Concepts & Life
Of the three steps, this one is the most overlooked. Yet it is the most important one.
Remember, real learning happens when new information is connected with previously known information so that the two are blended, which enables the brain to learn and lock it all into long-term memory.
So connect the concepts you find in the text you read with other known concepts in other places in Scripture. Then blend the connected concepts. And then connect them to your life.
- Connect the concepts
For example, we can connect the concept in Philipians 2:1-10 to Daniel 4:28-37 where Nebuchadnezzar is only lifted up once he humbles himself in his heart.
- Blend the two connected concepts
Once we see the connection, the two concepts can blend. We can see that if we don’t have the attitude of Christ, God may use physical humiliation to bring about humility in our heart as He did with Nebuchadnezzar.
- Connect it all to your life
Now prayerfully consider specific relationships where you might be bringing hurt by acting more like Nebuchadnezzar than Christ. Apply the concept by intentionally connecting it specifically to your life. Where have you seen this concept proven true in your own life in the past? What would your life look like if you applied this concept going forward?
Try it out. See if the three-step process helps you engage your mind to discover insights.
Next Up: Modeling this 3-step process in-depth on a passage. [We’ll also eventually discuss the role of the Holy Spirit and focus on the heart]