Word studies are one of the basic tools of Bible study. If you want to understand the author’s intended meaning, you need to understand the words he chose in his original language. If you only circle key English words, you may be circling the same English word but 3 different Greek words and missing some of author’s intent.
Appealing to the example of the Israelites in the wilderness, Paul warns that not everyone who saw the miracles entered the promised land. Being part of the tribe does not guarantee God’s favor.
In 1Corinthians 9, Paul uses his own situation as an example of how the Corinthians ought to think about exercising their freedom. As an apostle, Paul has the right to receive financial support, but declined to take any support from them. He wants the Corinthians to learn from his example and exercise their freedom the same way. In part 2 of his argument, Paul explains why he declined to take support.
After you’ve done your observation, word studies, outlining and answered the questions you generated, it’s time to start putting it all together. In this step, you want to collect, refine and organize all those details you observed into a coherent meaning. Observation primarily focuses on the questions: “what does it say and how do I know?” Interpretation focuses on the questions: “what does it mean and how do I know?”
In 1Corinthians 9, Paul uses his own situation as an example of how the Corinthians ought to think about exercising their freedom. As an apostle, Paul has the right to receive financial support, but declined to take any support from them. He wants the Corinthians to learn from his example and exercise their freedom the same way. In part 1 of his argument, Paul defends his right to accept support.
Over lunch recently a friend confessed: “I know an essential step of any Bible study is observation. But what am I suppose to observe?” So glad you asked! Sometimes we take this step for granted when talking about how to study the Bible, but observation is a skill we learn and practice like any other.
In 1Corinthians 8, Paul argues that knowing the truth is not enough; we must use our knowledge in the context of loving our neighbors as ourselves and consider the implications of our actions.
The first step in Bible study is observation. The goal is to slow down your reading and generate a list of questions that must be answered to understand the passage. I tend to break observation into the following 4 steps which generally correspond to my first few readings through the passage.
Paul addresses a new question: Can we eat meat sacrificed to idols? His answer gives us deep insight into the relationship between knowledge and freedom, truth and love.
Wondering how to put all the tools and pieces of Bible study together so that you can tackle a specific passage of Scripture? Here’s the overall procedure.
Paul concludes his advice on marriage by addressing the engaged. As he explains his thinking, Paul gives us one of the most profound lessons we can learn in this life.
A good teacher tailors her presentation to her audience. The same is true of the four New Testament gospels. Each gospel writer had a different audience in mind and tailored his presentation of the story to his audience.
In 1Corinthians 7, Paul corrects the idea that married people should be celibate in order to be holy. In this section, he addresses believers married to unbelievers, and tells them it is best to honor their marriage vows.
Studying biblical prophecy is an often overwhelming task. Much of it is written in Hebrew poetry. The names and places are foreign, and the metaphors don’t always resonate with our modern ears. Yet we can usually understand the main point. If studying an Old Testament prophet overwhelms you, here are some tips to get you started.
The key to understanding Hebrew poetry and Wisdom Literature is knowing that the “rhyme” of ideas is more important than the sounds. This “rhyming” of ideas is called parallelism.
In Corinthians 7, Paul begins answering specific questions the Corinthians asked. After correcting their view that married people should be celibate, Paul addresses the widows and widowers, telling them both singleness and marriage are good gifts from God. Then he addresses those considering divorce as a way to please God.
Narratives are true stories. Over 40% of the Old Testament Scriptures are narratives. Generally, the purpose of a biblical narrative is to show the Lord at work in His creation. Every genre found in the Bible presents unique challenges for understanding. Narratives are no exception. With narratives we think in scenes, plot and character, rather than paragraphs and outlines.
The podcast is on break this week for some much need rest and relaxation. In the meantime, here are 16 things to do during the break.
Every genre found in the Bible presents unique challenges for understanding. Here are guidelines for studying epistles.
In Corinthians 7, Paul turns to answering specific question the Corinthians asked. The first question concerns the place of sexuality. Paul corrects their view that married people should be celibate.
When studying the Old Testament, dates can be a source of confusion, especially when they switch between the Jewish name and the Babylonian name in the same story. Here are my reference tables.
Paul argues that the pursuit of sexual purity is a necessary part of following Christ, because we belong to him in a profound way and God created sexuality with a specific meaning.
When starting new small groups, it’s helpful to establish expectations up front with a clear set of ground rules. Here’s a sample we’ve developed over 25 years of ministry.