The HEAR Bible study method is a comprehensive way to study the Bible and apply what you learn to your life. In this article, we are going to take a good look at this Bible Study method so that you can use it as you daily spend time with God.
With the HEAR Bible study method, first, you read the verses you are studying. As you do this, you will highlight the verses that stand out to you.
Then, you will explain the Bible verses (Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How) to best understand what’s going on.
Next, you discover how to apply it to your life. Finally, you respond. This may mean that you will pray to God, or it could mean that you take another call to action.
The HEAR Bible study method is a newer way to study the Bible, so if you struggle with making Bible reading and study a daily habit, this might be the right method for you!
We’ll go over details involved in this Bible study method, how to use it exactly, some tips and recommendations for your Bible study, an example, and much more!
Table of Contents
What is the HEAR Bible Study Method?
The HEAR Bible study method stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond. It was developed by Pastor Robby Gallaty to be a great Bible study method for those looking to learn the scriptures in a real way. He wanted the HEAR method for Bible study to be a practical way for people to learn the Bible, apply it to their lives, and hear what God is saying.
According to Pastor Gallaty, the H.E.A.R. Bible study method or “journaling method promotes reading the Bible with a life-transforming purpose. No longer will your focus be on checking off the boxes on your daily reading schedule; your purpose will instead be to read in order to understand and respond to God’s Word.”
As mentioned, HEAR is a basic acronym that stands for:
- H – Highlight
- E – Explain
- A – Apply
- R – Respond
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
How to Use the HEAR Bible Study Method
As mentioned, HEAR stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond. Let’s look at how you can use this Bible study method to grow in your faith.
Through each of these steps, remember that the key is to foster an environment where you can listen to what God is saying to you.
Listening is a crucial part of communication and is important to any relationship. Because we want to hear what God is saying to us, it’s a smart idea to pray for guidance before beginning a Bible study. Praying will help you to remember to read the Bible with purpose.
Write down the name of the book of the Bible and the passage that you read.
After reading the passage, determine which verses truly speak to you. Write those verses out in your journal or notebook. God will communicate with you through this text. Just listen carefully.
You may want to highlight in your Bible the verses that have meant something to you. If you have a color-coding system, you could highlight the passage the color you use for verses that apply to your life.
For example, I highlight anything GREEN in my Bible if it applies directly to my life, is instructional in nature, or speaks of salvation. Yes, there are a lot of green highlights in my Bible!
In this step, you will need to dig a little deeper. Consider using different translations for anything that is confusing.
Also, a study Bible can shed light on what verses mean. Use a Bible Dictionary or Bible Concordance for more clarity.
When I’m digging deep into the Word, I often circle keywords with a red pen and write out the definition in the margins of my journaling Bible.
I write out the who, what, where questions with an orange pen. Color-coding my Bible has helped me understand it better when I review it later.
Ask a few questions about the passage. The answers to these questions may help you see the big picture of what is happening in the Bible.
- What are the keywords of the passage?
- Record any repeated terms, phrases, or thoughts.
- What kind of transition words are used, and why are they used?
- Compare and contrast people, places, or things mentioned.
The point of this step is to explain what the verses mean. You can do this by answering these questions.
- Who wrote this, or who is this passage mentioning?
- Whom was this passage written for?
- What is the passage trying to say to you?
- Where was this passage written?
- Why was this passage included in the Bible?
- How does this passage fit in the chapter/book?
- When was this written, and what was life like then?
- How is God trying to speak to you through this passage?
Once you have a clear picture of the passage, rewrite the passage in your own words.
The most important part of this step is studying the Bible. Any amount of time you spend engaging in the Word of God is valuable, so don’t lose hope or faith in yourself if you have trouble understanding something. We’ve all been there!
Please note that a proper study Bible may have the answers to these questions or wide margins where you can do HEAR Bible journaling or take additional notes. Check out my recommendations for good study Bibles in the next section.
The application step is the heart of this Bible study method. This should be where you spend the most time, as everything you’ve done so far has led up to this big step. Determine how the passage personally has touched your life or how it can in the future.
Take a moment to challenge yourself to write a few sentences on how these verses have impacted you and your life, in general.
Now, look at how to apply the passage to your life. Ask a few more questions as you study the passage to determine how to best do this, remembering that the Bible gives God a special way to talk to us! We should listen!
- How did God speak to you in this passage?
- Why do you believe God led you to this passage?
- How can you relate to this passage, and how can it help you?
- How can you apply what you’ve learned to your life?
- Can you reword this passage to make more sense or to be applicable to your life in some way?
In the final step, you’ll respond to the passage you have read and studied. Understand that God doesn’t want us to sit back and passively let the truth land in our laps. He wants us to actively pursue our faith and belief in Him.
Your response to the passage you read could take many forms. The following are a few examples of ways you could respond to the passage you read and studied.
- Create a Call to Action (CTA) – something you will do because of the passage you read.
- Decide how you will be different because of what you studied – take a stand.
- Make a new spiritual goal – what you will do because of what you learned.
- Write out a prayer to the Lord in a prayer journal or say it aloud.
If you decide to pray, ask God to help you apply what you’ve learned to your life. Realize that prayer can greatly improve your life and is a powerful tool that will connect you to God.
If you are unsure what to say, check out my article, How to Pray for Beginners: A Complete Guide, which will show you how you can start praying today!
Remember that you can respond to the passage in more than one way! You can make a spiritual goal and say a prayer on behalf of what you learned and how you plan to apply it to your life!
Study Bible Recommendations
I would suggest using a study Bible when you do the HEAR Bible study method. Here are a few recommendations of Bibles with wide margins, easy-to-read translations, and/or are considered to be “journaling Bibles!”
These are some of my Bibles (the ones I use daily). I LOVE getting Bibles!
- NLT THRIVE Creative Journaling Devotional Bible (my writing Bible)
- CSB She Reads the Truth Bible (my devotional Bible)
- Tyndale NLT Inspire Bible (my journaling Bible)
- Seek Find: The Bible for All People (CEV) (my everyday Bible)
- The CSB Study Bible for Women (my study Bible)
Here are some more study Bibles that you can review (and let me know how they are!).
- NIV, Life Application Study Bible
- Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible
- NIV Starting Place Study Bible
- NIV Rainbow Study Bible
- The One Year Bible Expressions
An Example of the HEAR Bible Study Method
I will use NLT THRIVE Creative Journaling Devotional Bible for this Bible Study. I will also keep this brief, as with analysis, it could be a long article if I were to go into too much detail! We’ll save that for another day!
I read Daniel 6. There are a few verses that stand out to me.
“I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and He will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His rule will never end. He rescues and saves His people; He performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
That was from verses 26 and 27. Those are the key verses that meant something to me, but the whole passage is wonderful because it tells an amazing story.
You might write out the verses that have special meaning to you in a prayer journal or notebook so that you can have it to review at a later date. My free prayer journal is the Daily Prayer Journal or you can purchase my Prayer Journal Planner. Just work with what helps you the most!
What I learned was that Daniel was a capable, faithful, and trustworthy person who was arrested and thrown into the den of lions for worshipping the Lord rather than the king. Even though he was in the lions’ den, he remained faithful and was not harmed by the lions.
These verses show that God is always with us, so we shouldn’t lose faith. Instead, we need to follow Daniel’s example. He had faith in God and that faith brought him deliverance from the lions.
It also showed the power of God and how one example can change the lives of many (the king changed the rules and many people became believers because of this story). Daniel was an encouragement to the king and everyone who heard of this miraculous story!
These verses were comforting to me because Daniel, a true believer, was very faithful and saved because of his faith in God. We should pray continuously, even during times of turmoil and fear.
God is always with us!
My prayer is that we turn to You when trouble comes our way. Help us lead worthy lives and to always keep our faith strong! Show us the right ways to do this in our lives.
Give us strength like Daniel, who was strong even during his darkest hours. Help us to trust Your plan for our lives and to always remember that You are the healer and redeemer we need.
Bible Study Tips
1. Use a Bible reading plan.
Start any Bible reading plan. If you’d like to start reading Pastor Gallaty’s Bible reading plan, the F260 Bible Reading Plan: A Bible Reading Plan for Busy Believers, check out his website and download it (and other reading plans) for FREE.
2. Make Bible study a priority.
Make sure that Bible study is an important part of your life. If you cannot study the Bible every day, try to at least read some part of the Bible every single day. If you have a hectic schedule, it may be hard to get used to doing this, but get creative with how you do things to make Bible reading a priority.
It takes 21 days to form a habit, so stick with your Bible reading plan for at least 3 weeks. Once you’ve done that, it will be easy to incorporate Bible study into your life!
3. Read the passage aloud.
When speaking aloud, you think about the words more because it takes longer to process the information. Give it a try and see if it works for you!
If this appeals to you, you might consider praying aloud also. If that doesn’t work for you, find some way to incorporate prayer in your Bible study.
4. Memorize Bible verses.
Memorizing Scripture is critical because you can’t always have your Bible with you. For some great memorization techniques, check out my article on the Celebrate Recovery Serenity Prayer, another valuable resource you could memorize!
5. Have a Bible study with friends.
God didn’t intend for man to be alone in this world, which is why he created a companion for the first man (Eve). God wants us to have a community of Christian friends – people we can look to for Godly advice.
6. Wreck your Bible.
When I say, “wreck your Bible,” I do not mean for you to destroy it. Rather, it’s a phrase that means your Bible is very used. You might have a journaling Bible that you color in, highlight verses in, or write in the margins. You could add post-it notes or stickers!
Use the decorative style that helps you get the most out of your Bible study!
To learn more about how to “Wreck Your Bible” in the article that shows you How to Start a Prayer Journal.
Other Bible Study Acronyms
However you decide to study the Bible, make sure you put the time in because it’s a very important thing to do.
Here are a few more Bible study acronyms for when you are having or hosting a Bible study.
- A.P.P.L.E. means Attributes of God, Promises of God, Principles for Life, Lesson, and Example to Follow.
- F.E.A.S.T. means Focus, Engage, Assess, Spark, and Turn.
- G.R.O.W. means Greet, Read, Observe, and Write.
- I.D.E.A. means Identify, Direction, Encouragement, and Apply.
- P.O.W.E.R. means Prayer, Observe, Write, Envision, and Response.
- S.O.A.P. means Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.
- T.A.S.T.E. means Talk to God, Ask God to Speak, Scripture Reading, Take 2 Minutes to Listen, and Explore the Passage.
If one of these Bible study methods works for you, use it to reach your spiritual goals. If you’re unsure as to which one will work best for you, try multiple ones out to see if they are a good match for you!
Does one of these Bible study acronyms speak to you? If you would like me to write an article or create a Bible study printable based on one, let me know in the comment section or contact me via the contact form. By doing that, you will help me provide the best value possible for readers!
More HEAR Bible Study Free Resources
#1. A HEAR Bible Study Video
#2. A HEAR Bible Study Method Free Printable Worksheet
Frequently Asked Questions
What are different Bible study methods?
There are different methods of studying the Bible. I provided several acronyms you can check out, or you can do an inductive Bible study as an example. Determine your learning style to find out which Bible study method works best for you!
What is the SWORD method of Bible study?
SWORD may be one of the easiest Bible study methods; it’s very flexible! It asks: What do I learn about God or man? Who do I identify with and why? What sin should I avoid, promise to trust, command to obey, and example to follow?
What is the SOAP Bible study method?
The SOAP Bible study method is meant to help you with a Bible verse so that you can apply it to your life. It’s an easy way to read scripture, make observations, apply it to your life, and pray for guidance from God as you use the scriptures in life.
Where should a beginner start reading the Bible?
The book of John is a great place for new Christians to start reading. The Gospel of John teaches the basics of Christianity! Really, if you are new to the Bible, you can start anywhere in the New Testament to watch your faith grow!
How do you easily memorize scripture?
There are many easy ways to memorize scripture. If you have the motivation and drive to memorize a part of the Bible, believe in yourself. Pick a method to memorize scriptures (oral repetition, writing out scripture, or storytelling). Read about memorization techniques in the Serenity Prayer article.
If you’ve loved this article on the HEAR Bible study method, please leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, or ideas! Feedback is welcome!
If there are other Bible study acronyms that would help you as you study a passage of Scripture, please let me know, and I will try to feature it.
I hope you feel more connected to God and have grown in your faith. Just remember to keep the Word of God in your heart so that you have it whenever you need it.
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. – Psalm 119:18 (NLT)