This is part three in our series called “Breaking Down Your Quiet Time.” This week we are breaking down the daily sections in the Give Me Jesus Journal to help you better understand how to journal the Word and study Scripture. The new Give Me Jesus quiet time journal releases September 16th in the Well-Watered Women Co. We hope this series is edifying and encourages you to open the Word each day! (Note: You can use this daily breakdown in any journal if you are unable to purchase a Give Me Jesus Journal! Our mission is to equip you to study the Word, and we hope this makes that possible.)
The Give Me Jesus Journal
My very first Give Me Jesus Journal was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. We had just moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania, and I’d just gone from working full time to becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. Each morning I stumbled downstairs to the maple kitchen table and pulled my journal out of the centerpiece basket where I kept my highlighters, Bible, and commentary. This was my first time reading through the entire Old and New Testaments! Most of those first journal notes were written with a baby on my left hip and a pen in my right hand.
Five years later, I’m still using my Give Me Jesus Journal, and I’m still reading through the whole Bible each year (over the course of two years, this time!). Though each section of the Give Me Jesus Journal is integral to my study experience, I’ll be sharing how I use the “Drink Deeply from the Well” section in my daily study.
How I Begin
I start by writing down what passage I’m studying for the day. This comes from my reading plan. In the past, I’ve used chronological reading plans. These take you through the whole Bible in the order it happened. This year, I’m using a whole-Bible reading plan that takes me through the whole Bible in two years, and Psalms/Proverbs four times. This means my current daily study will cover a passage in the Old Testament and a passage from Psalms or Proverbs.
On some occasions, I read elsewhere than what my plan has designated. Perhaps I want to do a deep dive into a topic near to my heart, or I need to study what God says about repentance. I’ll change my passage if I sense the Lord leading—but usually, I follow the plan.
Before taking any notes in this section, I first read through the passage a few times. This gives me a broad view of the topic that I’ll narrow down as I take notes.
As I read through the passage again, I start to note any people, places, or occasions that stand out to me:
- Who is talking?
- Who is this about?
- Who is affected?
- What is the core issue?
- What themes emerge?
- What events and locations are key?
- Where does this take place?
- When did this take place in the narrative?
- Why did they act this way?
- Why did God command this?
- Why would the author record this?
- How does this change my view of self, church, or God?
I take special notes of lists: Lists of names, character traits, or values. I’ll look for repeated words that point to themes; I’ll follow cross-references for tough verses, and pull out commentaries as needed. Each time I follow a “lead” in the passage, I write down a summary of what I’m learning in the Drink Deeply section.
Observing Before Applying
Because the next section of the Give Me Jesus Journal pages allows for processing and application, I don’t use “Drink Deeply” to process what I’m learning. It’s simply for writing my notes, not my response to the information. My takeaways will come next, and I save my written prayers for a different notebook. This leaves me plenty of room for notetaking, handy when studying multiple passages that require more space.
After I have taken the notes, I go back through and read my takeaways, highlighter in hand. I highlight the points that stand out most, any cross-references I don’t want to lose, and points to pray through during the day. I try to distill what I learned about God and what those truths do to my personal walk; I’ll need them in the Ask and Apply section!
I’ve now used so many Give Me Jesus Journals I’m not sure how many I have stowed away with my planners. Sometimes I go back through and read my notes. These are particularly relevant since I tend to read the same passages each year! Seeing such growth has been an encouragement to my walk. It also serves as an inspiration to continue digging deep into God’s Word even as my seasons change.
Your friend, Phylicia
Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with Josh and her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva. Find more of her work on her blog and on Instagram.