March Scripture Writing Plan - The Book of James

March Scripture Writing Plan - The Book of James

March 2017 SWP Blog Graphic.png

Join us this month as we walk through the book of James. Be sure to subscribe to Whole to get access to our Members Resource Library where you can find free lock screens, Bible study worksheets, free eBook monthly, and more!

 

February Scripture Writing Plan - Doctrines of Grace

February Scripture Writing Plan - Doctrines of Grace

So excited for this new month! I just wish it was longer, because this month's plan is on my favorite thing! The doctrines of grace!

What are the doctrines of grace?

The doctrines (teachings) of grace, also known as, Calvinism is the term is named for the distinct theological stances taken by the reformer John Calvin (who actually did not use this term himself).

The most important thing to understand is that it is completely biblical! The Five Points of The Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism) are: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints.

Read this article by our friends over at Reasonable Theology, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defining the Doctrines of Grace, to learn more about our study focus this month.

Be sure to sign-up to get access to our resource library so you can get free goodies like the February lock screen, and this month we also added a Doctrines of Grace for Kids!

 

Already a subscriber? Access the resource Library here.

 

 

December Scripture Writing Plan - The Manger to the Cross

December Scripture Writing Plan - The Manger to the Cross

We walk in grace and forgiveness because of Christ’s journey from the manger to the cross to the Father’s right hand.

The advent of the Christmas season, I encourage you to take a walk around your neighborhood. As you breathe in the cool air and warm your hands in your pockets, notice the nativity scenes that may adorn your neighbors' doorsteps or front lawns. Slow down. Stop to consider the humble beginnings of our Lord. Imagine the power that entered the world in that little Person with ten little fingers and ten little toes.

An unfathomable event, the incarnation of Christ would result in granting us a powerful gift should we accept it: salvation. Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “Let us go to Calvary to learn how we may be forgiven. And then let us linger there to learn how to forgive.” One of the great provisions in our salvation, accomplished through the incarnate work of Christ at Calvary, is reconciliation. Reaching both vertically and horizontally, reconciliation in Christ removes the enmity that exists between God and humanity because of sin.

Both the manger and the Cross symbolize two grand attributes of God: mercy and justice. With mercy for humanity Christ entered the world, adopting human form. With justice He died on a cross to pay for our sins. How can God demand justice and at the same time extend mercy?

Therein lays a healthy theological tension: a holy God must demand justice, while at the same time as a merciful God, He must express infinite love. Perfectly holy, God alone qualified to satisfy His own justice, and He chose to appease Himself through Christ. Such an act of justice also became an act of mercy.

The Cross not only reminds us of the intersection of God's two great attributes-justice and mercy-it also serves as a fitting reminder that our reconciliation, initiated by God through the incarnation and intercession of Jesus Christ, should be reflected in the horizontal relationships of our lives to enhance the community of saints. The moral imperative for those of us who have received mercy is to grant mercy. One day General James Olglethorpe said to John Wesley, “I never forgive.” Wesley replied, “Then I hope, Sir, that you never sin.”

As you take those long walks with your family this Christmas season, savor the smells of evergreens and fires burning in the fireplace. Breathe deeply and remember the Savior's sacrifice as He spread open His arms and breathed His last to reconcile us to God. We walk in grace and forgiveness because of Christ's journey from the manger to the cross to the Father's right hand.

 
 

November Scripture Writing Plan - Perpetual Gratitude

November Scripture Writing Plan - Perpetual Gratitude

 

Welcome to November's Scripture Writing Plan!

As we start this new month and move into the Thanksgiving Holiday, let's move towards a daily "perpetual gratitude" for the Lord! With thanksgiving, praise, wonder, awe, and gratitude, let's worship the One that has done so much for us! Although this should be daily throughout our lives, let's be specifically intentional about it this month!

 
 

HOW DOES THE SCRIPTURE WRITING PLAN WORK?

Great question! One of the reasons  our plans are Scripture only, and no devotionals, is because we want you to cultivate a hunger for God's Word, not mans. Study Bibles and commentaries are a great resource, but only after you understand the passage for yourself. We want to become students of the Word. Jen Wilkin puts it perfectly:

"The Bible is not a book about self-discovery: it is a book about God-discovery. The Bible is God’s declared intent to make Himself known to us. In learning about the character of God in scripture we will experience self-discovery, but it must not the focus of our study. The focus must be God Himself.

This focus changes the way we study. We look first for what a passage can teach us about the character of God, allowing self-discovery to be the byproduct of God-discovery. This is a much better approach because there can be no true knowledge of self apart from knowledge of God. So when I read the account of Jonah, I see first that God is just and faithful to His Word: He is faithful to proclaim his message to Nineveh no matter what. I see second that I, by contrast (and much like Jonah), am unjust to my fellow man and unfaithful to God’s Word. Thus knowledge of God leads to true knowledge of self, which leads to repentance and transformation. This is what Paul meant when he wrote that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

Women are good at loving God with their hearts. We are good at engaging our emotions in our pursuit of God. But the God who commands us to love with the totality of our heart, soul, and strength also commands us to love Him with all of our minds. Because He only commands what He also enables his children to do, it must be possible for us to love Him well with our minds or He would not command it. I know you will bring your emotions to your study of God’s word, and that is good and right. But it is your mind that I want to engage. God intends for you to be a good student, renewing your mind and thus transforming your heart."

  • Read the Scripture/s for the day. If there is only one Scripture for the day, I ALWAYS recommend you read that entire chapter for context and to help exegete the Scripture correctly.
  • If it was a full chapter of reading, then pick one or two verses to write out. This will help with Scripture memorization also. 
  • Don't stop there. Now it is time to put your theology cap on. From those verses that you wrote out, pick a few words and search their Hebrew/Greek meanings. Look up words you do not know in the the 1828 Websters dictionary

Again, Jen Wilkin explains it perfectly, and we want to follow this method:

"Imagine yourself receiving a letter in the mail. The envelope is hand-written, but you don’t glance at the return address. Instead you tear open the envelope, flip to the second page, read two paragraphs near the bottom, and set the letter aside. Knowing that if someone bothered to send it to you, you should act on its contents in some way, you spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to respond to what the section you just read had to say. What are the odds you will be successful?

No one would read a letter this way. But this is precisely the way many of us read our Bibles. We skip past reading the “envelope” – who wrote this? To whom is it written? When was it written? Where was it written? – and then try to determine the purpose of its contents from a portion of the whole. What if we took time to read the envelope? What if, after determining the context for its writing, we started at the beginning and read to the end? Wouldn’t that make infinitely more sense?

In our study we will take this approach to Scripture. We will begin by placing our text in its historical and cultural context. We will “read the envelope”. Then we will read through the entire text multiple times, so that we can better determine what it wants to say to us. We will read repetitively so that we might move through three critical stages of understanding: comprehension, interpretation and application.

Stage 1: Comprehension
Remember the reading comprehension section on the SAT? Remember those long reading passages followed by questions to test your knowledge of what you had just read? The objective was to force you to read for detail. We are going to apply the same method to our study of God’s Word. When we read for comprehension we ask ourselves “What does it say?” This is hard work. A person who comprehends the account of the six days of creation can tell you specifically what happened on each day. This is the first step toward being able to interpret and apply the story of creation to our lives.

Stage 2: Interpretation
While comprehension asks “What does it say?” interpretation asks “What does it mean?” Once we have read a passage enough times to know what it says we are ready to look into its meaning. A person who interprets the creation story can tell you why God created in a particular order or way. They are able to imply things from the text beyond what it says.

Stage 3: Application
After doing the work to understand what the text says and what the text means, we are finally ready to ask “How should it change me?” Here is where we draw on our God-centered perspective to ask three supporting questions:

  • What does this passage teach me about God?
  • How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self?
  • What should I do in response?

A person who applies the creation story can tell us that because God creates in an orderly fashion, we too should live well-ordered lives. Knowledge of God gleaned through comprehension of the text and interpretation of its meaning can now be applied to my life in a way that challenges me to be different."

Jen's above breakdown on how to study Scripture forever changed how I approach God's Word, and because of that I have grown so much in my walk, and have an appetite for His Living Word daily. I want this for you all.

So let's begin. . . Have you subscribed to Whole Magazine? It's FREE, and as a subscribed member you get access to our Member's Resource Library where you can download amazing goodies, like Phone lock screens, extra SWP printable worksheets, newly released books brought to you by our ministry partners at Crossway Publishing, and more!



 

October Scripture Writing Plan - The Book of John

October Scripture Writing Plan - The Book of John

October is now upon us, which means that it is time to roll out a new Scripture Writing Plan.

Never would I have imagined in November of 2015 that I would have been creating these SWPs almost a year later. It truly has been a blessing, and I am so thankful for God's grace every month as I prepare these resources for you all.

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

This is the very truth that drives me every month to continue creating resource that will keep you in God's Word, growing in the knowledge of Christ and walking in obedience every day. 

Phone lock screen available ONLY in the Resource Library

Phone lock screen available ONLY in the Resource Library

Free SWP study worksheets available ONLY in the Resource Library

Free SWP study worksheets available ONLY in the Resource Library

 

How does the Scripture Writing Plan work?

Great question! One of the reasons  our plans are Scripture only, and no devotionals, is because we want you to cultivate a hunger for God's Word, not mans. Study Bibles and commentaries are a great resource, but only after you understand the passage for yourself. We want to become students of the Word. Jen Wilkin puts it perfectly:

"The Bible is not a book about self-discovery: it is a book about God-discovery. The Bible is God’s declared intent to make Himself known to us. In learning about the character of God in scripture we will experience self-discovery, but it must not the focus of our study. The focus must be God Himself.

This focus changes the way we study. We look first for what a passage can teach us about the character of God, allowing self-discovery to be the byproduct of God-discovery. This is a much better approach because there can be no true knowledge of self apart from knowledge of God. So when I read the account of Jonah, I see first that God is just and faithful to His Word: He is faithful to proclaim his message to Nineveh no matter what. I see second that I, by contrast (and much like Jonah), am unjust to my fellow man and unfaithful to God’s Word. Thus knowledge of God leads to true knowledge of self, which leads to repentance and transformation. This is what Paul meant when he wrote that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

Women are good at loving God with their hearts. We are good at engaging our emotions in our pursuit of God. But the God who commands us to love with the totality of our heart, soul, and strength also commands us to love Him with all of our minds. Because He only commands what He also enables his children to do, it must be possible for us to love Him well with our minds or He would not command it. I know you will bring your emotions to your study of God’s word, and that is good and right. But it is your mind that I want to engage. God intends for you to be a good student, renewing your mind and thus transforming your heart."

  • Read the Scripture/s for the day. If there is only one Scripture for the day, I ALWAYS recommend you read that entire chapter for context and to help exegete the Scripture correctly.
  • If it was a full chapter of reading, then pick one or two verses to write out. This will help with Scripture memorization also. 
  • Don't stop there. Now it is time to put your theology cap on. From those verses that you wrote out, pick a few words and search their Hebrew/Greek meanings. Look up words you do not know in the the 1828 Websters dictionary

Again, Jen Wilkin explains it perfectly, and we want to follow this method:

"Imagine yourself receiving a letter in the mail. The envelope is hand-written, but you don’t glance at the return address. Instead you tear open the envelope, flip to the second page, read two paragraphs near the bottom, and set the letter aside. Knowing that if someone bothered to send it to you, you should act on its contents in some way, you spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to respond to what the section you just read had to say. What are the odds you will be successful?

No one would read a letter this way. But this is precisely the way many of us read our Bibles. We skip past reading the “envelope” – who wrote this? To whom is it written? When was it written? Where was it written? – and then try to determine the purpose of its contents from a portion of the whole. What if we took time to read the envelope? What if, after determining the context for its writing, we started at the beginning and read to the end? Wouldn’t that make infinitely more sense?

In our study we will take this approach to Scripture. We will begin by placing our text in its historical and cultural context. We will “read the envelope”. Then we will read through the entire text multiple times, so that we can better determine what it wants to say to us. We will read repetitively so that we might move through three critical stages of understanding: comprehension, interpretation and application.

Stage 1: Comprehension
Remember the reading comprehension section on the SAT? Remember those long reading passages followed by questions to test your knowledge of what you had just read? The objective was to force you to read for detail. We are going to apply the same method to our study of God’s Word. When we read for comprehension we ask ourselves “What does it say?” This is hard work. A person who comprehends the account of the six days of creation can tell you specifically what happened on each day. This is the first step toward being able to interpret and apply the story of creation to our lives.

Stage 2: Interpretation
While comprehension asks “What does it say?” interpretation asks “What does it mean?” Once we have read a passage enough times to know what it says we are ready to look into its meaning. A person who interprets the creation story can tell you why God created in a particular order or way. They are able to imply things from the text beyond what it says.

Stage 3: Application
After doing the work to understand what the text says and what the text means, we are finally ready to ask “How should it change me?” Here is where we draw on our God-centered perspective to ask three supporting questions:

  • What does this passage teach me about God?
  • How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self?
  • What should I do in response?

A person who applies the creation story can tell us that because God creates in an orderly fashion, we too should live well-ordered lives. Knowledge of God gleaned through comprehension of the text and interpretation of its meaning can now be applied to my life in a way that challenges me to be different."

Jen's above breakdown on how to study Scripture forever changed how I approach God's Word, and because of that I have grown so mych in my walk, and have an appetite for His Living Word daily. I want this for you all.

So let's begin. . . Have you subscribed to Whole Magazine? It's FREE, and as a subscribed member you get access to our Member's Resource Library where you can download amazing goodies, like Phone lock screens, extra SWP printable worksheets, newly released books brought to you by our ministry partners at Crossway Publishing, and more!

 

Are you a subscribed member? Sign up already!

September Scripture Writing Plan - The Attributes of God

September Scripture Writing Plan - The Attributes of God

The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.
— A.W. Pink

Can you believe Fall is just around the corner? Where did this year go? Well, as the new month approaches we all know what that means...new Scripture writing plan!

Ladies, I have been so blessed by our SWP Community. Watching the group grow and seeing how God's Word is impacting your daily walk is beautiful. 

When I created the first SWP last November, never in a million years would I have imagined that it would grow to what it is now. A group of almost 1000 women reading God's Word every day!

Soli deo Gloria!

The SWP for September is probably going to be one of my favorites for a few reasons. One being that I love September, because it is the month of my favorite season...FALL.

Second, our them this month is The Attributes of God. For the next 30 days we will spend them getting to know our Creator, God of the Universe. I recently read (for the third time) a book by Arthur W. Pink titled, The Attributes of God, and it truly changed my life and how I look at God. I love this quote from the book:

Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments. “Then shall we know, if we follow on [in the path of obedience] to know the LORD” (Hosea 6:3). “If any man will do His will, he shall know” (John 7:17). “The people that do know their God shall be strong” (Dan 11:32).

Ladies, this month is going to be wonderful as we dive back into God's Word and discover of who He is. 

The third reason I am excited for this month's SWP, is because this month we officially launch our Member's (ONLY) Resource Library! What is this place, you ask? Well it is a password protected section on our website that only our subscribed members can enter and access a library of free goodies. And this month (drum roll please) when we release the SWP you will get: the monthly SWP printable, a lock screen for your phone, and a printable worksheet with prompts to go deeper into your studies. Did I mention that to gain access to the library it is FREE?

Okay, so now you are asking how can you become a subscribing member? If you are already subscribed then you are all good! If you aren't, no problem! Subscribe via the form below and you will be set. After we confirm your subscription you will get a THANK YOU email from us with your password to access the Member's Resource Library right here. We are also including a FREE DOWNLOAD of A.W. Pink's book The Attributes of God.

Let's continue to stay excited about God's Living Word!

July Scripture Writing Plan - The Sovereignty of God

July Scripture Writing Plan - The Sovereignty of God

The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God's rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to the counsel of His own will (see Eph. 1:11). His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted (see Isa. 46:11); nothing takes Him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign de jure (in principle), but sovereign de facto (in practice). [Theopedia.com]

This month we will study Scripture that teaches us of God's Sovereignty. We hope you will join us this month!

July SWP- The Sovereignty of God [Download printable here]

July SWP- The Sovereignty of God [Download printable here]

July SWP - The Sovereignty of God - Short modified version [Download printable here]

July SWP - The Sovereignty of God - Short modified version [Download printable here]

 

"What do we mean by [the sovereignty of God]? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible."

— A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, chapter 1.

May Scripture Writing Plan - Abiding in Christ

May Scripture Writing Plan - Abiding in Christ

Thank you for all of the great feedback we have been getting on our Scripture Writing Plans (SWP) since we started in December of 2015.

We are almost complete with Romans in 30 Days SWP and it has been wonderful digging into the Book of Romans with you guys.

I recently had someone ask me why we don't make our plans with devotionals. Well, my answer is this. Seeing as we already have daily devotionals with challenge questions I didn't see the reason to. The main reason was that there are enough websites and blogs out there that have Bible studies that include devotionals. Often times, however, it can make it difficult to interpret Scripture correctly when we are reading a devotional based off of someone's feelings or personal interpretation. The plans are created to do one thing. To get you reading God's Word and allow God to reveal His truth to you through His Word and not the words of man.

This month the topic is Abiding in Christ and I want to leave you with this great explanation by John MacArthur about what "abiding" in Christ truly looks like.

Jesus defined "Abiding in Christ" when He likened Himself to a grapevine and believers to its branches: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me" (John 15:4). That picture illustrates the vital union existing between Christians and Jesus Christ.

The word "abide" basically means "to remain." Every Christian remains inseparably linked to Christ in all areas of life. We depend on Him for grace and power to obey. We look obediently to His Word for instruction on how to live. We offer Him our deepest adoration and praise and we submit ourselves to His authority over our lives. In short, Christians gratefully know Jesus Christ is the source and sustainer of their lives.

Abiding in Christ evidences genuine salvation. The Apostle John alluded to that when he referred to defected professors who "went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19).

People with genuine faith will remain--they won't defect; they won't deny Christ or abandon His truth. Jesus reiterated the importance of abiding as a sign of real faith when He said, "If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine" (John 8:31).

This month we also introduce a modified version of the SWP for the women-on-the-go! Below are the plans for May and a printable version for you. Be sure to let us know that you are joining us by using the hashtag #wholemagazine on social media.

 

If you want to join hundreds over other women in our monthly studies, join our Scripture Writing Group on Facebook for accountability.