Amy Carroll » Ministry Development » First Things First

First Things First

When I first started speaking, this is what my process looked like:

  • Pray and ask God what to speak about
  • After hearing a topic, write a message
  • Add supporting scripture
  • Deliver

My heart was completely in the right place.  It was my greatest desire to deliver a message that brought glory to God, and I pray that He used those early talks.

It wasn’t until I moved to the Raleigh, NC area and started Bible Study Fellowship that I realized that I had been doing things backwards.  I had been recording my own words before really getting a grasp on God’s Word.

Now my process looks like this:

  • Pray about where to study in scripture
  • Study, study, study
  • Write the message based on what I’ve learned.
  • Deliver

One of the tools that has been the most useful for me in working to understand God’s Word is one that I learned at an Anne Graham Lotz revival years ago.  There are 3 simple-to-remember questions to answer.  Here is the format with some notes on how to fill in each column.

What does it say?

What does it mean? How do I apply this?
  • Write down facts.  This includes answers to the “w”s (who, what, when, where)
  • Write each fact in a brief summary sentence.  Remember, this is your short-hand, so use abbreviations, symbols or anything that you’ll remember later.
  • Put the number of the verse beside each fact.
  • Do not paraphrase.  Use significant words straight from scripture.
 S—Is there a sinto confess?P—Is there a promise to keep?

A—Is there an action to take?

C—Is there a command that I

need to heed?

E—Is there an example to

follow or not to follow?

What are the spiritual truths or principles in this verse?

  • How will I act on this lesson?
  • Write open ended questions—ones that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”
  • Take time to pray and listen.  Write a response to each question.





To learn much more about using this Bible study method, watch this video of Anne Lotz teaching through it.

You may have a Bible study method that you already love (share!  share!), and it doesn’t matter what method you use.  I want to urge you, though, to start with the study of God’s Word before you write your own.  It’s made all the difference in my messages.  I’d love to hear how it works for you.


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