As we seek to write down the answers to our questions, we learn.


tom romano writes:

“Put down words with the sole purpose of getting at thinking, at personal truth…  We write and suddenly “realize” or “notice” things.

When we write we are “making what we are learning our own, making meaning for ourselves. “There is nothing like the intense thinking that goes on when we use language deliberately in writing..." (Clearing the Way, 18-25)

Meaning-making happens within us almost by magic.


In our journals we have the opportunities to make meaning not only of our lives, but also of the Scriptures.  “The magic comes from considering possibilities, figuring out meaning from these possibilities, revising, refining, clarifying that meaning...Ask questions for which you don’t know the answer, questions that come from your response to what you read and your struggle to bring the truth into your life. These kinds of questions will bring you to seek the facts, the information that is given in the text, and it will lead you to consider the details, the specifics as you seek to understand the text more fully. You’ll find yourself peeking around the corner of the text.” (Carol Avery, And With a Light Touch, p. 255)  

The Bible comes alive as we make observations about what the text says which leads us to interpretations about what it means. But in the process of making judgments about what it means, we have more questions that send us back to the text for additional information. The new information helps us to draw conclusions about what the text means and we wrestle to determine what it means for our lives in modern American culture.  Louise Rosenblatt, an early reading response theorist, and Mortimer Alder, a Harvard professor, along with many other researchers and teachers, help us to understand the importance of these movements to our learning.

Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Life encourages people to keep a journal as they are reading. He writes: "One reason most books don't transform us is that we are so eager to read the next chapter, we don't pause and take the time to seriously consider what we have just read. We rush to the next truth without reflecting on what we have learned...Writing down your thoughts is the best way to clarify them." (10-11) He also encourages all of us to keep a journal of lessons learned so that we remember what the Lord has taught us. (222)

Tom Newkirk writes:

“Using writing in to think may be the major instrument for learning.” (Clearing the Way, 3, 1986)


Donald Murray writes:

Writing is “the most disciplined form of thinking.”