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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whew

I just finished part of the assignment that I gave to my Tuesday morning group.  We are doing a new Bible study skill each week; we are five weeks in.  This week we are on verse analysis which I shared in the blog entry “Unknown,” back in November.  One part of the study, the 6th step, is to outline or diagram the sentence.  Some of the sentences in the Bible are a bit complicated.  The assignment for this week was 2 Peter 3:14 – 16.  In the NASB it is one sentence, which follows the Greek text.  In some of the other versions the committees broke the text into three sentences.  I just finished diagramming the sentence; it took me about three hours to work through this part of the study.  I have two books that give instructions on diagramming, and I did about five Google searches to figure out how to handle one part of the sentence.
Doing things that slow you down helps you observe more in passages you know well.
Why in the world inflict this level of brain damage on myself?  I have already been asked that by one of the guys in the group.  Essentially, I just spent three hours meditating on one sentence in 2 Peter.  I had to think through how each word was related to the whole.  I saw relationships in what Peter said that I had not seen before, and I have this passage memorized.  I have studied this book at least 20 times.  Familiarity breeds complacency.  Doing this exercise in this way forced me to look at the passage in a new way.  It slowed me way down and kept me from assuming I knew what the passage said.

Do I do this every time?  No.  Do I expect the men in the Tuesday group to do what I did?  Nope (If you are in the group and reading this that does not let you off the hook ;-)).  If they did would they benefit?  Yep.  It was a whole lot like work.  It was a real struggle for me to complete this; I wanted to bail.  I fought that desire.  As believers we have a lot of resources on which we can draw; so a lot of us will not do the work.  We let others do it for us.  They get the benefit.  The next time I work on a sentence this complicated I will have this one under my belt.  It will go quicker, but I will still see things that I would otherwise miss.

I have to go do the rest of the study now…

2 comments:

  1. You could have quoted from Proverbs 2 - the pursuit of hidden treasure. That's hard, exhausting, sweaty work.

    Why are Jesus' followers sometimes called "laborers?" I suspect it's because following Christ in every way is not to be viewed as easy, culturally acceptable social goodness. The followers of God in Biblical times understood the use of a sword, and also the training that went into being able to use it acceptably in close contact battle. If the sword is to be an essential part of our equipment (Eph.6, Heb.4). We are to be finally evaluated by this Word. How will I know the questions on the final exam if I neglect the textbook now?

    Back to Proverbs 2; one of my enduring images from my early days of watching Roy Rodgers, the Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, etc on B&W TV is the ubiquitous prospector. Everything he owned was on his back or burro, and he spent his time in the desert hunting for hidden treasure. He was always tired, dirty, dust-covered and thirsty. And when he finally (apparently not very often) really found something worthwhile, someone would kill him to get it! Never seemed to fail.

    I'm afraid my desire for God and His Word (they are inextricably related) doesn't come close...

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