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Grab a NEW 2024 guided Journal

Some of us don’t need any more screen time. That’s why we offer a guided journal that will walk you through the JTJ readings in an interactive, helpful, and engaging way to help you get the most out of your time in the Word.

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Each episode is designed to help you dive deeper into the text in 10 minutes or less. Perfect for your morning commute or walk to school! New episodes post daily Monday – Friday.

Download the free 2024 JTJ reading plan

Stick it in your Bible, hang it in your locker, or put it on your desk – it’s yours!

Need Help Studying the Bible?

We’d highly recommend you grab the guided journal for either adults or kids, but if you don’t have one on hand, here are some steps to get you started!

STEP 1

OBSERVATION

Observation simply answers the question, “What do I notice?” or “What do I see?.” It requires considering who is speaking, what people are involved, where they are, what they are doing, what words are being used, etc.

Put simply, it’s the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the passage.

When you start observing the text, begin by looking for things that are emphasized, contrasted, listed, exaggerated, repeated, similar, different, or related. Have a pen out and don’t hesitate to mark up the page. Find out what is literally occurring in the set of verses – try not to just look at one and ignore the rest.

PRO TIP: For every observation, try to cite a specific verse that supports the observation. (If you can't cite a verse, it probably isn't an observation)

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Go Deeper

STEP 2

INTERPRETATION

While observation is the process of determining what’s there. Interpretation is the process of determining what the passage of scripture is saying, or, in other words, what it means. It requires us to build a bridge between today's time and when it was written. What was true then? What is always true? And what is true now?

When interpreting a passage, it’s helpful to begin by investigating the context.

  • Literary context: What’s around the passage? What book is it in? And what do I know about that book?
  • Narrative context: Where does it fall on the Bible timeline?
  • Historical context: What’s happening in history at this time?
  • Cultural context: What customs, practices, actions, and attitudes were common at this time?

PRO TIP: Sometimes, you’ll need to consult other resources to be able to understand the context! More on that in the dive deeper section below.

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STEP 3

APPLICATION

“So what?” “What difference does it make?” or “How does this have anything to do with my life?” As you apply the truths of God’s Word, ask questions like:

  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a sin to repent from?
  • Is there a promise to cling to?
  • Is there an example to follow? Or one to avoid?
  • Is there someone I should share this truth with?
  • What could I do today to put this principle into action?

Go Deeper

STEP 4

PRAYER

Simply talk to God! The point of studying the Bible isn’t just to learn facts or check a box – it’s to come to better know the God of the Bible, to fall more in love with him!

When we pray we can ask God to help us understand what we’re reading, confess any sin our time in the Word has exposed, or ask for His help in following through with our application of the text!

Need More Help?

WANT TO GO DEEPER?

BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES

Many of us struggle to interpret the text. How do we know if we’re interpreting something correctly? Want to get better at interpreting Scripture? We recommend:

  • 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible (Robert L. Plummer)
  • Join The Journey Podcast Bonus Episodes (Released December 2022)

COMMENTARIES

Almost all commentaries attempt to explain the passage in terms of some system of theology. In other words, the commentary is an explanation of how the Bible fits together and what it means. Some commentaries outline each book, others look at themes, and some even do word studies based on the original languages. Here are two of our recommended commentaries to aid you in your study:

  • The New Bible Commentary (G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer)
  • Baker Commentary on the Bible: Based on the NIV (edited by Walter A. Elwell)

When using a commentary, it’s important to always read God’s Word for yourself first, prayerfully study it on your own, and then consult the commentary! If we aren’t careful, we can easily make the mistake of studying what someone else has to say about God’s Word rather than exploring what God might be trying to teach us through His Word.

STUDY BIBLES

Commentaries can be expensive, and they can be a hassle to carry around! A great middle ground resource is a good study Bible. Study Bibles provide commentary, cross-references, and helpful articles. Sometimes they even include maps and diagrams! We recommend:

  • The ESV Study Bible
  • The NIV Study Bible
  • The CSB Study Bible

ONLINE RESOURCES

Trying to find an answer? We’ve got you covered!

Having trouble finding a specific verse?
Search for it at www.biblegateway.com.

Want to search the Bible topically?
Check out www.bible.org.

Looking for a free commentary?
Try www.netbible.org or Sonic Light.

Want to do a deep dive on an individual word?
Try www.studylight.org or www.blueletterbible.org.

Got a really specific question?
Check out www.gotquestions.org or Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

WANT TO DO JOIN THE JOURNEY AS A FAMILY?

Read Together

Join The Journey Jr. is a daily Bible reading plan for kids that invites them to dive into the adventure of reading the Bible as they read alongside their parents! With shorter daily reading assignments, the plan is designed to help kids start forming the daily habit of spending time in God’s Word and help parents guide them on that journey.

We recommend this reading plan and journal for kids in grades 3-5; however, we’ve found that kids above and below that age range have enjoyed it!

Listen Together

Got toddlers running around the house? Or kids who don't love reading? You can have the text read aloud here on the website, and we have a podcast for Join The Journey Jr. too!

The Journey Jr. Podcast features weekly retellings of our favorite Bible stories and conversation guides. Tune in on Friday afternoons in the carpool line, while out running errands, or around the breakfast table before school!

Study Together

The Join The Journey daily Bible reading plan uses the English Standard Version. Journey Jr. uses the New Living Translation.

Additionally, the Journey Jr. daily Bible reading plan has kids in mind! The passages have been selected in light of the maturity of these young readers, and the journal helps encourage kids to run to Mom and Dad or a Trusted Christian Friend for spiritual leadership.