How to Study the Bible Session 6

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How to Study the Bible Session 6

Bible Study VI

This is the last section of our study on “observation” (What do I see?) A good Bible detective asks questions of the text (6 key questions). In answering these questions there are some clues to look for that will help answer your questions.

Look for things that are emphasized.
The “amount of space” is important. Genesis has 50 chapters. The first 11 chapters cover Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the tower of Babel. Chapters 12-50 are devoted to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

Many times, the “stated purpose” of the author is emphasized. John 20:30 reveals the purpose John wrote. Sometimes an author will put great emphasis on the “order of events.” The writer will build to a climax. Acts 2 is a great example.

Look for things that are repeated.
“Terms, phrases, and clauses” are repeated. Psalm 136 repeats “His love endures forever,” 26 times.

A “character” will repeat and reappear for the sake of emphasis. Barnabas reappears many times in the book of Acts. Luke sets Barnabas before us an example of encouragement.

“Incidents and circumstances” will be repeated for emphasis. In the book of Judges the writer begins each section with “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

There are many “parallels and patterns” used for emphasis in the Bible. Parallels between Israel and the church, the life of Joseph and the life the Lord, the kingship of Saul -vs- the kingship of David. Old Testament citations in the New Testament (When Jesus quoted Jonah – Matt. 12:39-41).

Look for things that are related.
In other words look for things that are connected. “Questions” are key tools of communication. Biblical writers ask key questions and then often give helpful answers. Romans 6:1 and 6:15 are great examples.

The “cause and effect” relationships are key relationships. Acts 8:1 should lead you to ask “What day?” Checking the context reveals the day Stephen was stoned. That led to intense persecution, which led to the disciples being scattered, which also led to the gospel being spread.

Look for things that are alike and unalike.
Look for “similes” (as or like). Psalm 42:1. Look for “metaphors.” John 15:1 is a great metaphor or comparison.

Look for the use of “but.”It signals a change of direction.

Look for things that are true to life.
What does the passage tell you about “reality?” As you are reading a passage of Scripture ask “What were his goals? What problems was he facing? How was she feeling? What was his response? What would my response be? We often miss out on the best lessons of God’s Word by failing to pick up on the experience of the people in it. In Genesis 22 how do you think Abraham was feeling when his son asked Hey Dad, we’ve got the wood, the fire, and the knife. Where’s the sacrifice? Why didn’t Moses get into the promised land? Numbers 20:1-13 reveals
Moses lost his temper and struck a rock twice. His bad temper cost him from going into the promised land. How do we respond to the consequences of our own sin?

The truth of God is in the Bible, but most people miss it primarily because they do not look for it. The fundamental question “What do I see?” is the first step in great Bible study. Observation is the first step to take in Bible study but it is a very critical step. We have learned that in order to become a better Bible student we have to learn how to read better and faster, and read as if we are reading a “love letter” We looked at 7 strategies that will help us become first rate readers of God’s Word. We learned that there are 6 key questions to ask of every text. We learned to look for key terms and words, main verbs, authorship, relationships, people and places, and main themes or concepts. We practiced these skills in a verse and a paragraph. Tonight, we learned to look for 6 key clues that help unlock a passage of Scripture.

Read Revelation 2-3. Read the entire section several times, perhaps in different translations. Identify the paragraphs and put a title or label on them. Remember a paragraph is a unit of thought or study.

Evaluate each paragraph using the 6 key questions and the 6 key clues to look for. State the main point of each section. Keep a record of your observations. Keep a list of unresolved problems and unanswered questions. Don’t cheat and use any commentaries!

Happy President’s Day to All of Our Bible Detectives