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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


In Bible study we always need to move from the whole, to the parts, and then back to the whole.  Roughly that means that we do an overview of a book, then study the parts, and finally put them back together in a summary of what we have studied.  Prof used to say that the analysis was the easy part.  The hard part was synthesizing what you learn into a simple communicable form.  Einstein similarly said that, “…genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
Sometimes though, in longer books, it is useful, helpful to do summaries of sections of a book.  This morning for instance we summarized the first six chapters of Daniel.  The first six are narrative of the experiences of Daniel and his friends during Judah’s captivity in Babylon.  One can find a lot to apply in those first six chapters.  So we thought it good to hit pause and summarize what we learned.

I have done that with Romans 8 – 11 during a study of the book of Romans.  I have done it with single chapters in 1 John.  The point is that you capture and synthesize what you have learned.  I find that writing out those findings in a way that is easy to communicate forces me to think through the implications of what I have studied more deeply.

Some of the bullet points of our summary of Daniel this morning:
  • God is in control of who is in leadership whether Godly or not.
  • God holds all leaders whether Godly or godless to account.
  • One has to be prepared to obey God in difficult situations before one is actually in them.
  • Character does not need to self-promote.  It will be recognized.
  • Prayer is key to the successful navigation of difficult times.
There are some obvious applications for us in 2015 in that short list and there is more in Daniel from which we can learn.

Dive in.  If you have questions about how, ask.


  1. I also find summaries both helpful and more difficult than analysis. Summaries of parts of the book being studied -- is new for me. Thanks, Mike.