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Monday, January 13, 2014

Skipping Steps

In the past several days I have been in a lively discussion on a passage in the New Testament, which one does not really matter - this has happened on more than one occasion…  During the discussion one of the participants asked a particularly good question about the passage.  Several people responded to the question with what they thought might be a good answer or insight into the topic.  Most of their answers were opinions that were based on their experience in life and not necessarily connected to what the passage was saying or for that matter any other passage in the Scripture.  That is not to say that what they shared was not helpful, but it really did not significantly move the understanding of the passage forward for the group, in some cases it was probably counterproductive.
What are some of the steps we can skip in our Bible study?  Thoughts at DTTB.
If you have been in very many Bible discussion groups you will have had similar experiences.  This happens more frequently in those groups where no one really prepares for the study.  People show up and react to the passage.

I have shared in other posts here that there are four steps in any Bible study:
  • Observation
  • Interpretation
  • Correlation
  • Application
In every case that I have experienced the type of conversation that I described the first step, Observation, was skipped or just touched on briefly.  The problem is that when we begin to discuss what we think without that being driven by what the text says, for the most part we will just be repeating what we already “know.”  Skipping or giving short shrift to observation means that we may not be looking past what we either expect to see or already know.  So that means we are not really reading or studying, we are just saying what we think we ought to about the passage.

If we take the time to really observe, there is literally no end to what we can see.  Prof gave in his introductory Bible study class an assignment to make 50 observations on Acts 1:8.  The second assignment was 50 more.  When I left the record was around 690 observations on that verse.  There is more to see.

The challenge is we get in a hurry.  We have to finish the study or the class.  The lack of time we spend in the scripture is a choice we make.

Slow down and observe.  Do not skip the step.  You will be amazed at what you find.

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