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How to Raise Your Bible Study to a Different Level … Milk to Meat!


By stephen - Posted on 18 December 2009

Bible is food!Ever wanted to understand Bible verses beyond the superficial? Have you desired to understand the Word of God without having to rely on other people all the time?

Below, I’ve penned some suggestions for those of you who would like to ‘do’ some ‘meatier’ Bible studies, at your pace, but with depth and understanding.

Now that holidays are upon us (well, for some at least), it may be a good time to set apart some quality time to read, comprehend and live His Word. Read on ...

Hi there y’all! (I HAD to write that, sorry!). Glad you could join me!

Ok, you will need the following:

1. A Bible (but NOT a paraphrase e.g. ‘The Living Bible’; ‘The Message’). Stay with your ESV, NIV or NASV.

2. Paper, pen & ruler (or computer!).

3. Good commentaries (see our ‘Bible tools’ section on this website).

4. A reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide you.

5. Motivation.

6. You can study the Bible this way by yourself, with someone else or in a group.

OK, here we go!

STEP ONE.

Firstly, choose a passage (NOT too long! Below, I have chosen just 3 verses to work with).

EG Romans: 13:8-10. Copy the passage yourself; word for word (no cut & pasting!)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “you shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “you shall love your neighbour as yourself”. Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

STEP TWO.

Give it a ‘Title’:

EG “How Does Love Fulfil the Law?”

STEP THREE.

Now, we are ready to exegete the passage.

What?? Exegete? What does this mean Stephen?

Sorry, it simply means to draw out the TRUTH of the passage that is contained WITHIN the passage.

We are NOT going to read INTO the text what is not there. If we do that, we are eisegeting – we have our own ideas, presuppositions, biases etc that we ‘put into’ the meaning of a text.

This is common, but a big no-no!

STEP 4.

Next, and very importantly, we are going to put the passage into: Context.

This is so important because we are going to check out what has been written BEFORE our passage and what FOLLOWS.

You don’t like people to quote individual sentences taken from your whole conversations with other people – they can be twisted and manipulated by others so that you don’t look good (so to speak).

The Bible doesn’t look good either when it’s taken out of context; cults do it all the time and we do too sometimes.

EG: The immediate context is one of obedience to state authorities because they have been divinely instituted by God and are His servants to maintain order and execute justice (13:1-7). In verses 6 and 7, the Christian is told to ‘pay’ and to give ‘taxes’, ‘revenue’, ‘respect’ and ‘honour’. This ‘giving’ is now extended to his words, in 8-10, of the giving of love.

STEP 5.

Our next step is to: Take a closer look at the verses (individually BUT in context).

You may find it helpful to use different versions, certainly a selection of good commentaries (not just one). Bible dictionaries and Bible atlases can be a real bonus too.

OK, let’s look at Romans: 13:8-10

Verse 8. Paul is not saying that Christians cannot borrow; but that they should not let a debt remain outstanding i.e. they shouldn’t keep owing anyone anything without exception. We should keep loving one another – we must keep paying this debt to one another because we have fulfilled the law by loving our neighbour; i.e. done what the law requires. Basically, this is to love God and neighbour, the essence of the 10 Commandments (the law) which we will now look at.

Verse 9. Paul is primarily concerned with those commandments from the Decalogue which affect one’s relationship with another human (not just a believer). Adultery is sexual intercourse between married people and one who is not a legal wife or husband; to kill is to murder; to steal is to take what does not belong to one and to covet is to have an undue or unreasonable desire to possess. However the inclusion ‘and any other commandment’ is important because it refers to the other commandments of the Decalogue, that relate to our relationship to fellow man. To Paul, the Old Covenant with its legal requirements (including the Decalogue) is finished because God has internalized His law by His Spirit. It now finds expression in loving our fellow man as we love ourselves (Lev 19:18). We treat others in the way we would like to be treated.

Verse 10. True love hurts no-one from wrong motives. Again, the entire requirement of the law has been met in love.

STEP 6.

Having looked closely at the Bible verses, we now should determine what the passage is TEACHING. We call that: Theology (don’t be scared of this word, it’s a really great word because it means ‘the study of God’). Be brief but true to the passage.

From the passage I have determined that it is teaching the following:

i. God commands us to love those around us regardless of race, creed or colour. This love is complete and unconditional, beyond our abilities. Therefore it can never be attained in this life but must always be reached for.

ii. As the Old Covenant has been abolished by fulfilment by Jesus, we are no longer to love as regards to an external code of rules. We fulfil the law’s requirements by loving from our hearts. We are still under law, but it is the law of love.

Now we are almost ready to finish.

STEP 7.

It’s one thing to do the ‘theory’ but what about putting ‘shoe leather’ to the passage (if the passage requires it).

In other words, we need to ask ourselves the question:

“How can I (we) apply what we have learnt in day to day living – in the strength that the Holy Spirit supplies?”

Be careful here – nothing good ‘dwells within the flesh’. Don’t create an extra set of rules (law) for yourself.

OK, here is my attempt at:

Application (Step 6).

Christians have no excuse not to love, because the Holy Spirit enables us to love. If we wish to please our Father we will love all people, not just our fellow Christians. The effects of this would be extensive in a believer’s life. The world of unregenerate men and women need God’s love; and He often channels His love through us to others. We would be acting contrary to God’s law if we chose not to be willing vehicles of His love. Also, love is evidence of our new birth (all done by Him, not us) and an expression of our relationship with God (again, by grace).

We have no need to follow outward regulations because if we truly love we will not covet, or commit adultery etc. We will do to our fellow man what we would like done to us.

‘To love is to succeed.’
 

Enter LOOKOUT here:

Lookout.jpg

Christian Quotes

"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened."

Billy Graham

HSC Studies of Religion. ENTER HERE

HSC Studies of Religion

 

Compassion Child