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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Common Sense

In a Sunday school class a few years back I opened a book, not the Bible, in front of the class to a page somewhere in the middle and read a sentence about halfway down the right page.  I then asked the class what the sentence meant.
Understanding the Bible is not hard it just takes common sense...
After a stunned silence the consensus was that there was no way they could answer the question?  So I asked them what data they needed to enable them to answer.  They quickly came up with a list something like this:
  • What book is that?
  • Who wrote it?
  • What is it about?
  • When was it written?
  • What is the purpose of the book?
  • Where does this sentence fit into the flow of the book?
  • What is the context of the sentence?

I have been in a lot of Bible studies and Sunday school classes that approach the Bible the way I presented the other book.  So the questions becomes if I need to know those things about any other book in order to grasp what the author is saying in a book other than the Bible, why is the Bible any different?  How can I understand or apply what is written in a verse of the Bible if I do not know the answers to the questions which the class identified as crucial to understanding?

Bible Study is not some mysterious deal.  It is simply applying what you already know how to do, that is find out what something means in a book, to the Bible.  Just like other books you read or study, you may encounter words or concepts which are new to you.  What do you do then?  You look up the definitions of terms with which you are not familiar.  You look for a short description of the concepts of which you are not familiar.  It is not hard.  Just common sense.

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