We want to help you experience the joy and confidence that comes from feeding yourself from the Bible—and provide a way to study it that will keep you coming back to God for more.
If you currently use a Bible study guide that asks you questions and you fill in the blanks, we will show you an approach that is actually less work than what you are used to. Because when your focus is on answering other people's questions about the Bible, it is very hard to remember what you come up with. Unless you return to your answers regularly to review them it is very hard to get lasting benefit from your work.
When you interact directly with the Bible you have the best shot at hearing God speak to your needs. That's because the things you see for yourself are already in your grid and it is easier to see how they apply to you and easier to integrate into your life.
I wish you could see the eyes of people who, for the first time, have seen a helpful message directly from the Bible. They look like they are validated and their eyes are full of hope and amazement. This is what we want for you.
Denise and I have been happily studying the Bible for many years and have gone on to receive excellent seminary training, but when we were first starting out it took a lot of attempts before we finally learned how to study the Bible.
We attempted to learn how to study the Bible many times from several different people and books. But each one taught Bible study like they were teaching history, "Here are the 10 ways you can study the Bible. You could start with this and this or you could try that and that."
It felt like they were presenting a cafeteria of dry choices with little or no effective guidance. So our efforts would just result in frustration. But Bible study is not a content subject like history, it is a skill and is best taught as a skill. The focus must be on the activity. Each step must be within reach and rewarding. Everything ultimately comes down to feeding a person's motivation—are you having fun as you do this—because a skill must be repeated to be of any value. A skill is not something that can be memorized.
That is how Robert Traina (father of modern Inductive Bible study) taught it to Howard Hendricks (professor Dallas Theological Seminary), that is how we learned it from Hendricks, and that is how we'll teach it to you. This is not a regimen of dry academics or an list of endless rote drills, but an adventure of fresh ideas that you see directly in the Bible.
From the beginning, Denise and I assumed that all that was needed to have an effective Bible reading time was to learn the skill of Bible study. It only made sense that once you knew how to do something, you would do it regularly from then on.
To our surprise, knowing the skill was not enough. No matter how much you know, if you don't want to do it enough to wrap your schedule around it, it will never happen.
When a person first surrenders their life to the loving arms of Jesus who sacrificed everything for them, God gives them a supernatural love and motivation to grow in their relationship with Him. But for most of us, as time passes, life happens and we lose track of this motivation. Without a strong enough motivation, the pressures of life take over and Bible study skill alone is not enough to cause it to happen. More Bible reading times have been ruined because of weak motivation than because of any other single factor.
Denise's Christian psychology background has helped us reconnect and strengthen the love and motivation we had at first. As we reconnected we discovered a principle that it was just as important to strengthen your motivation as it was to strengthen your Bible study skill. Both are needed if you want to integrate Bible reading into your life successfully. Otherwise before long the "cart" will get before the "horse" and Bible reading will become a chore. Also, we found that our emotional perspective had a surprising effect on our ability to incorporate Biblical behavior into our lives.
That is why we decided, at the same time we provided advice and guidance with Bible study skills, we would also provide advice and guidance with managing your motivation.
FLCR Bible Study
We have taught the FLCR devotional Bible study method, in person and over the Internet, to thousands of people since we started in 2004.
Why do we teach a single method to everybody? Do we think everybody should use the same method to study the Bible? —No— Rather, we have found that people respond well to this method and it fully equips you for any type of Bible study. Then once you catch on, you have all the tools and confidence necessary to adapt to whatever meets your needs best.
The FLCR devotional Bible study method comes from the Inductive Bible study method. During the post World War II rise in self-help books, Robert Traina (then dean of Asbury Theological Seminary) wrote the first book to describe a "method" to study the Bible. The book was called Methodical Bible Study and the method became known as the Inductive Bible Study method. Before this, Bible study was considered part of the hermaneutics discipline of a theological curriculum. Traina simplified the steps and coined the terms Observation, Interpretation, Application, and a few others. He taught a skill-based course out of Asbury that generated a lot of excitement around the idea that everyone could understand the Bible. Howard Hendricks (then professor Dallas Theological Seminary) attended Traina's course and taught a similar course at Dallas Seminary that taught a generation of Bible teachers how to study the Bible using the Inductive Bible Study method.
Ann Graham Lotz (daughter of Billy Graham) uses a 5 step variation of the Inductive Bible Study method. In her writings the Observation step is called "List the Facts," the Interpretation step is "Learn from the Lessons," and the Application step is split into a question step "Listen to His Voice" and a response step "Live in Response." Denise and I have found that splitting the Application step into this kind of pivotal question and response is an improvement that helps more people grasp how a passage touches their life.
The FLCR devotional Bible study method is a simplification of the Inductive Bible Study method that adapts the improvements of Lotz to the needs of devotional Bible reading. We emphasize how to surface God's message to you within the amount of time you have.
As we started teaching people what God had taught us, we wanted to explain everything in an easily accessible format like the web. But some things take longer to explain and don't work well as gigantic web pages.
So we divided our efforts into two parts. We put everything you need to integrate Bible reading into your life into this web site for free. Then for people who would like to go deeper we put the more elaborate explanations in the form of Bible study help books and eBooks.
We have many ways you can go deeper. If you want to study passages with the FLCR method and want the security of having the answers (all 4 steps filled in), we have the FLCR Study Guides. Each book in this series guides you through 8 passages that help you understand a specific topic. You can download and print the FLCR panels here for your own study of the passages knowing that if you get stuck, you can always consult the answers. These guides are excellent for people who want to get right into studying but don't want to waste time wondering what to do.
If you want to gather up all of our thoughts about Bible study skill and motivation in one source, we have our main book, How to Read the Bible So God Speaks to You. Everything we say about how to study the Bible is in this book. You can go through it personally or you can use it as curriculum for a small group. There are 8 assignments, one in each of the 8 chapters. The assignments take you through a 4-Step study of the life of Abraham. There is also an Appendix that provides a number of things including a lists promise verses by topic, a list of Bible study tools, and a more detailed description of the journey God has taken Denise and me through.
WAVE Parallel Bible
Ever since I learned the original languages of the Bible (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic) at Dallas Theological Seminary, I have believed that I could provide simple access to these languages through a well-designed software program. WAVE Parallel Bible is the result of my work.
It is a free download for anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Our next release will include an iPad-specific version. We also have a version for PC and Mac that is playing catch up and is not ready for distribution yet. An Android version is in the plans.
I began working on this program right after I graduated from Dallas in 1980. It has taken many forms over the years as software environments have changed. But always I had in mind to provide a way for English Bible readers to access the benefits of the Original languages without having to invest the significant time required to learn them formally.
When I was first writing this software, I only thought about making it for advanced computer users and only for people that wanted to learn some Greek. Then when God led Denise and me to combine our ministries and help anyone read the Bible, my design goals changed. I still wanted to provide simple access to the Original languages, but now I also wanted to provide an engaging experience for English Bible readers and for those who didn't not like computers.
As I was rewriting the user interface to meet these goals, I showed what I had to Denise and asked her to try it. (Now understand, Denise is brilliant and sweet, but when it comes to computers she will only use them if she doesn't have to learn anything.) For that reason, she became my target audience. From then on I would show her my software and ask her to try it. She wouldn't know how to use it so I would remove more features and simplify the interface and try again. She still wouldn't know how to use it, so I would go back and repeat the process. Until one day it made sense to her! That is how Wave Study Bible arrived at its current look and feel. Now Wave Study Bible is the only Bible Denise and I use.
I am often asked if you have to use this software to learn how to study the Bible in our courses—no, not at all. Our Bible study instruction is focused on the skill of seeing God's message directly from the Bible and most people use a hardcopy Bible to take our courses. This software just gives you more to work with. As one of our users recently said, "I just love this program! It is quick, easy to use, and easy on the eyes."