I probably don’t need to tell you this but traditionally, the word “hack” has a negative connotation such as when a person who is supposed to be an expert at a particular service, but performs an inferior job. Another negative meaning would be when a person gains unauthorized access to data or manipulates information on your computer. But there is another facet of the word “hack” and this one is positive. A hack is when a tricky problem is solved by a clever solution or when a modification or change is made to something and it yields extraordinary results. Here are five simple hacks, and these are the clever solution type, to apply to your Selah Bible study.
hack #1 read different versions
Because part of the Selah method is reading the same passage of scripture five days in a row, I find it important to have variety! This is why I like to read several different versions of the same text. If you are like me, it is so easy to read over familiar words and fail to comprehend the wonder contained in the passage because of familiarity. Bible Study Tools has a fantastic parallel feature that easily allows you to read the passage in multiple versions and compare.
hack #2 listen to dramatized versions
Sometimes, just a little change can make a world of difference! Just as there are numerous good solid versions to read there is also a plethora of free dramatized versions for your listening pleasure. Bible Gateway is one of my favorite free online sources to listen to Bible passages while I am driving or working around the house and often gives me fresh insight into a familiar passage.
hack # 3 create a pattern
Because most of our studies are for 12 weeks, you will need to find a pattern that makes sense to you. Every day, you will read over the passage assigned for the week and fill in your discoveries in the Selah form. At first, some find this overwhelming, but by developing a pattern you will feel in control of the process and know what you will be doing each day of the study. The primary principle here is to do what makes sense to you. Here is an example of my schedule.
Day 1: After reading the passage, I will record my findings in the following areas: Words I Looked Up, People, Questions I Asked, Other Scripture.
Day 2: Again, I will read the passage but this time in a few different versions. Today I will fill out any additional inquiries I have into Words I Looked Up, continue to collect passages for Other Scripture, record my musings into Questions Asked, and start making and recording insights in Observations.
Day 3: Today I take a giant step back from the details of the text and start looking for what I learn about God and record them in His Revealed Character section. At this point I can start noticing the “big picture” of the text and record main themes or patterns that I see in this passage about God.
Day 4: On day four, I usually have an idea of the verse(s) I want to remember from this passage. I record it in Favorite Verse and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me and tell me why this verse stands out. Often times I ask the questions, “In light of what is going on in my life, how does this passage address this and how can I be obedient?” With the insight I gain, I can go on to the Application section and begin to prayerfully write down all the ways I can put the Truth of this passage into practice in my daily life.
Day 5: Today is Review Day and I love to read commentary on the passages but refrain from reading it before I have had time to digest the passage for myself. Some of my favorite authors are Warren W. Wiersbe and J.C. Ryle. Blue Letter Bible has a large collection of trusted commentaries.
hack # 4 use different colored pens for different days
After facilitating a small Selah group for two year, I have found that some of the participants liked to use different colored pens for different days or even different sections. The variation of color helped them to distinguish what they learned for a specific day or to quickly locate information they wanted to share based on the color they recorded it in.
hack # 5 every section doesn’t have to be filled out
It is only normal to feel like you need to fill in every-single-section every-single-time but let’s be real, sometimes you just won’t have as many discoveries to write down. There are times when the pages cannot contain all the amazing insights, information and observations I find! And then there are other times when the insights, information and observations aren’t in copious supply. That is why I want to put your heart at ease by giving you this last and final hack.
By applying these five incredibly simple Selah hacks to your time in the Word, you are making the clever modifications that will yield incredible results.