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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fresh Eyes

Mark is a book I have studied before.  I am in two studies in Mark now.  The last time through was six years ago.  So how would you proceed if you had done a study in a book six years ago and it came back up in one of your studies?  Dust off what you had done before?  Review that study?
Fresh Eyes
Prof continually beat into us that we needed to continually strive to read and study the Bible as if we had never read it before, with fresh eyes each time.  That is not easy to do.  Further, in an age when at work we are always looking for the most efficient way to do something, not looking at what we have done before seems at best inefficient.

But truth be told when re-engineering a process it is best to start with a blank sheet of paper.  Prof’s advice works at the office as well.

So for the past several days I have been working on an overview of Mark.  Tonight I finished going through the book paragraph by paragraph.  The next step is to divide it into sections with titles and then come up with a tentative title for the book.  Lastly picking the key verse and writing out an application, which I already have identified.

It may sound like work.  It is.  But it is the work that does what Paul says we need to do in Romans 12:2.  It transforms me, it renews my mind.

Truth is, I have seen connections already this time through that I overlooked six years ago.  No matter how many times I come to a book, it is always new.  That is why I need fresh eyes.


  1. Is your illustration to this post, Mike, a result of your overview of Mark?
    Trying to understand your approach... Do you initially divide the book into columns according to traditional chapters? (This should work for books with not many chapters). For example 16 columns per 16 chapters of Mark. Or using another principle?

    1. Yes. I do not always do the same thing in order to push myself to look at a book differently. Some of what I did here was a result of an experience in Nepal. I was struggling to explain how to find the main theme of a book and worked through 2 Peter with the group paragraph by paragraph showing how by looking at the relationships between the paragraphs the theme emerges.

      In an overview, I typically stay at chapter or more level. This time due in part to the length of Mark, I thought I would try looking at paragraphs. It was helpful. Looking at the relationships between the paragraphs has opened up another facet of observation.

      In Prof's 8 part on Synthetic Bible Study he discusses the relationships between paragraphs in Jonah. I typically do not get to that level of analysis until I am doing the section by section work. But in this case I was looking at the top level relationships.

      It is an ongoing experiment and a work in progress.