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Picture It Practice Tips

A suggested basic flow to the Picture It process could include the following steps:

  • Prepare: Prepare your heart to read God’s Word.
  • Read: Read the text slowly, taking time to understand what is happening in the story. Spend a few moments as soon as you’ve finished reading to recall what occurred in the passage.
  • Picture: Now, use your imagination to place yourself inside the story. Pretend that the author is speaking it to you, and try to imagine the tone of voice he might have used. See yourself as one of the main characters or as someone less important in the text. Specifically, you could:
    • Observe:
      • Look around. What is happening around you? Where are you? Think about the sensory experience during this time. What does the place feel, sound, look, smell like? Try to really imagine it.
      • Gain a sense of who these people are. Why are they here, what are they doing, and what does that tell you about them? Remember to ground your imaginings in the text, but feel free to explore it. This takes practice but becomes easier with time.
    • Dialogue with the characters: Ask yourself: What are those around me saying to each other and to me? What do I say to them? What is our discussion like?
    • Notice what is going on inside you: Ask yourself what you’re feeling as you interact with the text in this way. Are you happy? Joyful? Full of sorrow? Peaceful? Confused? Full of love? Scared?
  • Pray: Turn your experience into a prayer to God.
  • Practice: Commit to obey what you’ve learned.

When you’ve finished this practice, review what you’ve experienced. Journaling is a great way to record your feelings and help you remember what you learned.

General Guidelines

  • Many people find it helpful to begin this practice with stories about Jesus from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). You can do it with any biblical story, but the Gospels are a good place to start.
  • If you get distracted during this process, don’t be frustrated. Ask God for help to focus, then set your mind back on the text. It takes practice to become good at the Picture It method of Scripture engagement.
  • Remember to gain your facts from the text. Make sure that your imaginings line up with what the Bible actually says. Your imagination is a tool to help you experience God’s Word, and God’s Word must always be primary in this practice.
  • Enjoy yourself. The imagination is a rich, wonderful vehicle or tool for exploration. Feel free to get lost in the beauty and truth of the biblical stories.
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© Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014. This material was created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.