That’s why some may spit some smoove words to you, but may not actually have game.
But that’s a topic for another day. (Get it together, Kevin.)
The more I spend time with well-intentioned Christians, especially youth and young adults, the more I realize that while there is a confidence when answering “why” of Scripture (purpose) , there is a lack of clarity concerning the “how” of Scripture (method of study/interpretation).
So here’s a simple 3-step process I’ve been experimenting with for both my personal time with God, as well as my ministry to high-schoolers.
Before you check it out, however, there are 2 major keys of success that you must consider in order for this to work:
Be open-minded and be diligent.
To be open-minded is to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit teaching you from, and through, Scripture. I believe that the Spirit leads us to find both the Truth for our faith and truths for our daily living in Scripture (John 16:13). Be willing to humble yourself to the truth of the text and be taught by the Spirit, rather than teaching to it.
To be diligent is to exercise the discipline of investigation consistently and effectively. I believe God rewards those who diligently seek Him and those who do will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13)
OK. You’re ready. Here are the steps:
Step 1 – Observation
Prayerfully read the passage under consideration multiple times. Look for the following:
– The 5 Ws ( Who is writing? to Whom is he writing? When is he writing? Where is he writing from? Why is he writing? )
– Repeated words or phrases
– Genre ( type of writing)
– Themes (ideas in the passage)
– Anomalies (words that are “oddly” placed)
– Patterns in the passage (parallels, metaphors, similes)
– The subject and the object (who is talking to whom?)
After you gather enough information, ask as many questions as possible about the passage. Be sure to ask only observation questions at this point.
Because here’s the thing: An excellent question is always better than a mediocre answer.
As one of my friends once told me, “The Bible is a book of answers. We simply ask it questions.”
At this stage, avoid, as much as possible, from jumping into questions that pertain to your personal life. We will get to this at the reflection stage. Stay with the passage. The more detective work you do here, the better your reflection will be at the end.
Step 2 – Connection
You will have collected enough data at this point to make some connections.
Start making connections from A to B where A = point from the passage and B = other scriptural passages, personal life experiences, history, education, etc.
If you have access to tools such as Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and concordances, they will greatly aid you in making these crucial connections. The more connections you make, the better.
Step 3 – Reflection
The fruitfulness of this step depends on how much work you put into steps 1 and 2. Poor investigation will lead to mediocre connections which then would lead to powerless reflections.
At this stage, pick one instance in the passage where you saw Jesus/God.
Put yourself in that scene. Use your senses. What would you see, touch, feel, taste, hear, and smell?
Then ask some reflection questions to yourself regarding the truth about that passage:
What is Jesus telling me in this situation?
What is stopping me from doing what He’s asking me to do?
On a scale of 1-10, how much do I relate to the disciples in this passage?
The effectiveness of this step depends on the sincerity of your heart. Believe that God wants to speak to you.
Oftentimes it’s easy to forget that the Bible is, in fact, God’s love letter to His people. As such, any passage in Scripture, when carefully considered within its context, can reveal some powerful things during this time of reflection.
So there you have it. Observation. Connection. Reflection.
What would you add to these steps, if any? How can you make this better? Share your thoughts below! 🙂