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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Four Questions

There are four questions that we ask over and over in Bible study. Same four. Yes there are supplemental questions that we ask, but they all fall under the heading of one of the main four. Those questions are:
  • What does the Bible say? 
  • What does the Bible mean? 
  • What does the Bible say about this in other places in the Bible? 
  • What does the Bible say that I need to do? 
There are four questions we ask over and over in Bible Study
Problem is in a lot of cases we get these questions out of order. There is little chance of getting meaning correct if we do not take the time to see what is says. Yes, that is a bit obvious but we tend to come to Bible with some not so obvious preconceptions. 

One of those preconceptions is that there is some deep meaning or code that we have to unlock in order to understand the Book. That is the root of some of the (I am using great restraint in the choice of words here) stuff that has been written about the Bible in the past decade. During the time when the Bible was being affirmed by the churches, there were several groups of people who thought they had special knowledge and secret codes or views that unlocked the Bible. They were called gnostics, the word is derived from the Greek word for knowledge gnosis. That myth persists. The popular book and movie "The DaVinci Code" exploited this; even mentioning the gnostic gospels.

The Holy Spirit inspired men to write in for the most part in Hebrew and Greek. Those languages in the forms in which the Bible was written are dead. That means that they have not changed in the thousands of years since the Books were penned. Both Hebrew and Greek have vocabulary and grammar. Those languages follow rules. They are both translatable into other languages that have vocabulary and grammar, that in the case of English had been derived in part from Greek. So, all of us can read the Bible and be confident that we can see what is says.

Take time to see, observe. The Spirit used the grammar and vocabulary, deliberately. The more we take the time to look the more we will see. It is a lot like looking at a fine painting by one of the old masters. The more we look the more that we see. Do not rush through the first question to the second.


  1. I was raised on the Word and I know it to be the 'inspired' Divine Word as no matter how many times I have study or read either a chapter or portions of a chapter, I have found that if one approaches it prayerfully, there is always new insight.

    I believe the Word speaks to us considering our circumstances, our needs etc. each time we spend time in it.

    1. Interesting how the Word is new each time we open it. Why do you think that is?

  2. Great questions! Thanks for pointing to proper order, warning against preconceptions and encouragement to better and longer observe.