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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How Do I Understand the Bible? - Observe and Question

Studying the Bible doesn't have to be big and scary.

Although the Bible is a BIG book, filled with lots of names and places that are unfamiliar, with some stretches that are not so interesting, it is also full of stories of valiant warriors, tender poets, miracles, and very fallible human beings. Many of the stories have rightfully been made into epic movies since they are stories of epic proportions.

The Bible is a wonderful blend of excitement, mystery, and truths that challenge our thinking and our reality. So how do we begin to understand what this big book says.

One way is to Read - Observe - Question. What does that look like?

Pray. Any time that we study the Bible, we want to invite the Holy Spirit aka the Spirit of Truth to help us understand what we are reading. (John 14:16,17, and 26)

Choose a Selection from the Bible to Read. The amount of time you want to spend and the depth of the study you want to undertake will largely determine the length of your selection. The length could vary between a few verses to an entire book. If you're looking for inspiration and encouragement, the Psalms would be a good place to begin. If you're looking for biblical teachings, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) or Epistles (Romans through Jude) would be good. If you're looking for the history of the world, the Jewish nation, or Christianity then Genesis, Exodus through Esther, or Acts would be helpful. Old Testament prophetic books are Isaiah through Malachi and in the New Testament Revelation is the primary prophetic book.

Read a Passage of the Bible. Read the passage you have chosen all the way through once without stopping. Pause.

Write down your initial response, observations, and questions.

Read it again slowly and thoughtfully.

Write: What else do you observe? What other questions arise? Do any answers surface?

Using your Bible Study Tools such as cross references, a study Bible, commentaries, and a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia search for answers to your questions. Bible Gateway is a website that offers several free resources as well as links to those for purchase.

Record your exploration, what you have learned, and your conclusions.

Apply. Ask yourself how this study has impacted your life and how it makes a difference in your day to day interactions with God and with other people.

If you try this type of study, I invite you to talk about your experience 
or what you have learned here in this online community. 

NOTE: I do not receive any type of reimbursement or benefits from any endorsements made in this post. 

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