If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Go to the source! Discover what the Bible says about …
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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In exploring a new country the tourist routes give an overview and a superficial understanding. Going to meet real people where they are, battling with poor understanding of language and culture gives a whole new understanding. In understanding the Bible there is a similar difference. The guided tours presented through teachers are helpful, but nothing compares to personal study. As we grapple with His word we begin to understand God, how to walk with Him, and the life He leads us into.
Mark 4:23 “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
In this verse Jesus questions his hearer’s motivations. Are they wanting entertainment or doing business with God? Do I have ears to hear? God waits till people are ready.
Meditation is not day-dreaming in front of a Bible or having a blank mind! It is prayerfully reflecting on a passage so we can understand it better, and apply its truths to our lives. It involves giving time, thinking over the words.
Search the Scriptures is a bit like map making: Make sense of the whole by looking at smaller parts. The search leads to an understanding of what the whole passage is about, it also helps us to capture details that are often missed with a superficial reading.
Mark 4: 24-25 24 Then he added, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given*—and you will receive even more.25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."
God reveals Himself to us slowly. As we apply what He has taught us, then He can move on to reveal the next step. It is a process.
To summarise -
If you come to Scripture Search just "to do it" or gain intellectual knowledge of the Bible you may miss God! It is good to pray at the beginning of Scripture Search. As you pray you are inviting Him to join in the journey of discovery.
Ask Him to meet you through the text; to show Himself so you can praise him. Invite Him to point out areas of your life that need changing. Determine in your heart to act on what He shows you.
I have found that when a Scripture Search is dry and boring, I have forgotten to pray like this, The whole process is turned around into a dynamic and living challenge.
The aim of outlining is to get a grasp of a whole passage by breaking it down to manageable chunks. It will help you see the flow of the passage. (Most do this at the beginning. Personally I do a rough version at the beginning and tie it together at the end.)
Take the sections from your outline and go through the following steps.
Observation lays the groundwork for the search. You are the detective entering the scene looking for clues. The quality of the deductions follow the quality of the observations. Without observation your search will be based on opinions rather than the facts.
Observation is all about discovering the unexpected, so you don’t know what you are looking for at the start. There are some techniques which will help uncover the unexpected.
Observation focuses on FACTS.
What is the context for the text? If you can, read the whole book of the Bible in which the passage occurs. If the book is very long, read chapter before and after.
What significance is there to any words or phrases that link to outside the text.
(So, Because, Therefore, ... ) These phrases bring to light the purpose of the text.
Write down distinct facts that are in the passage, these range from the obvious to the obscure. Take your time. Read it a number of times. You may have missed something that will alter your understanding of the text.
Explore metaphor and expressions - cross-reference these! Metaphors in the Bible can have wildly different meaning from what is assumed in a western context.
Throw questions at the text.
Who, Why, What., Where, When, ...
Is this really what I would expect?
If this was me what would I hove done'?
Cross referencing is when you go to other parts of the Bible to look for explanations of what you are searching. Many Bibles have linking verses in either a centre column, or at the bottom of the page providing such cross references. A concordance or on-line with www.biblegateway.com will enable you to search the whole Bible for the same word to see how it is used in other places.
Look for cross references to the concepts you have found. Are the ideas contrasted or repeated elsewhere in scripture. What light does another passage throw on this one.
Note words or passages that are not understood. If you are in a group, others in the group may have had the same issue, or found a solution.
Take the various observations and try to understand what they mean.
Without understanding the search is purely academic, a collection of facts.
E.G.: Luke 19:1 & 5 - Jesus considered a day with Zacheus, the person of the moment, more important than an extra day in Jerusalem with the religious leadership.
Why did God have this letter written for us to read?
What does it mean? - If you write it in your own words it could help you understand.
What is the heart of what is being written?
Knowledge Puffs Up, Love Builds up (1 Corinthians 11:1). If I don't take the time to let God’s words speak in my life and change me, I will only have knowledge.
Application will change my life.
Pray that God would reveal to you how this should apply to your life.
What implications are there from the passage you have understood to your life?
Application can take two angles.
General application for all -
Personal application for me -
STUDY THE BIBLE