Session 4: Am I ABLE to Hear God’s Voice?
How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture
Everyone can understand the Bible, you don’t have to be a scholar, pastor, or a “super Christian” to hear God’s voice. In this session, Chip outlines a simple method for Bible study that helps you learn and apply God’s Word.
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Welcome to session four of How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture. As I’ve talked with you in our time together, I asked myself some questions. One of the questions I asked myself, “Am I able to hear God’s voice?” Sometimes people are ready, sometimes they’re really willing, and sometimes they’re even positioned. You’re taking in God’s word. But here’s what I hear from people. “You know, Chip, I’m glad you can do that but when I read it, I just don’t get anything out of it. You know, I’ve got one of those reading plans and I read my three chapters and my two chapters, my four chapters, and it’s like I check the box and I read the chapters, but honestly I don’t think God is saying anything deep to me at all.”
What happens is people begin to think, “Well, this must be for special people like pastors or missionaries or you’re just super spiritual.” I have to tell you, that was my experience. I came up around a group that it was very important to hear God’s word and read God’s word and be in Bible study, and I was doing all that. But I gotta tell you, I would read in the morning at times and get nothing out of it. I played basketball shortly after college and we played all the countries in South America. It was really fun. We got to play Olympic teams and then at halftime, we shared Christ, and we’d meet missionaries.
I can’t even tell you now which country it was, but there was this really cool missionary and he was a Hispanic guy and he was really bravado. He goes, “Man, (speaking Spanish). God’s word is so important.” He goes, “Let me teach you a technique.” I have to tell you, he taught me a way to get into the Bible that really gave me the ability to hear from God. He called it the 2PROAPT method. That sounds weird because it is weird. It all stands for a letter, and I’m gonna give it to you. If you’ll just stay with me and do a little bit of this, it will open up God’s word. Each one of the two pro means two P’s, PPROAPT.
Let me give you an overview and then I’m gonna show you how it works. The first P is for pray. In other words, the first thing you do is ask God to open your mind and your heart. Even David prayed. He said, “Lord, open my eyes that I might see wonderful things from your word. The second letter is P, and it stands for preview. Whenever I’m reading devotionally, I just read it really fast. I just wanna get a concept of it. The third letter is R. That’s for read it. Now I’m gonna go back through. I’m gonna read it, but I’m gonna read it very slowly. This is a little thing, but it really helps. Read it out loud. I pray, I do a quick read, I read it out loud.
The fourth letter is O for observations. Now I’m really going through slowly. What’s different? What’s alike? Is there a word repeated? Is there a big contrast? The next letter is A for application. “God, what are you saying to me? What do you want me to do? What specifically out of this could I do?” Maybe I’m just inspired or maybe I should text someone, or maybe it’s talking about encouraging someone, or maybe it’s speaking to me about an issue in my life. Then the next letter is P, is pray. “Lord, there’s no way I can do this on my own. I need your help. God, help me. I’ve listened, I’ve read, I’ve previewed, I’ve made some observations. This is what I think I need to do now. Please help me.”
Then the T is for tell. “I’m gonna tell someone.” Often at my house, “Teresa, what did you read today?” Or we’re in the car or maybe it’s at dinnertime, or as I work with other people, “Where’s God speaking to you? Where’s He’s speaking to me?” We tell one another and there’s something about doing that. The process is 2PROAPT. Pray, preview, read, observe, apply, pray, and tell. Okay, that’s a lot of info. Are you ready? Let’s just try this. Let me just read a passage and give you an idea of what this looks like. I’m in Proverbs 2. You can go ahead and turn there.
I would pray, “God, open my eyes.” Then I’m going to just read it quickly. “My son, if you’ll receive my sayings and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding, for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding. If you seek for her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasure, then you’ll discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.” What I would do, I would read that very quickly and then the next time, I would read it very slowly out loud.
The next time, I’m gonna make some observations. “My son,” talks about receiving God’s word. Then “incline your hear.” I wanna listen to what God is saying. Then “discernment,” I need to cry out. It’s not just intake, Bible in, but it’s, “Help me, God,” crying out. Then notice the priority, intensity. “If you seek her as for silver, search for her as for hidden treasure, then you’ll discern the fear of the Lord, then you’ll discover the knowledge of God.” The reason I wanted to read this little passage is I wanted you to see there’s a lot of hard work involved.
I mean, God doesn’t allow the gems to stay on top of the ground, He expects you and He expects me to dig in, to cry out for help, to search, to say, “I want to know what you think. I want to master your word. I wanna hear your voice. I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m taking it in. Now I have the skill to do that.” At first it feels very pedantic, so don’t get uptight, but write those letters. We’re gonna give you a little exercise and help you get started, and then in our next time together, it’s a little awkward, but I’m gonna have my quiet time. I’m just gonna use this process and I’m gonna try and pretend that you’re not around, and I’ll just show you how I meet with God.
I’m not saying this is how you ought to do it, but what always helps me is just to have a model. This is how I connect with the Lord. This is how I hear His voice. I pray that’ll be helpful for you. Are you ready? Let’s keep pressing ahead.