If you want to grow your faith, then you need to learn to dig. You need to learn how to feed on the Word of God for yourself. You need to eat the meat and find answers for yourself. In the weeks to follow, I’m going to attempt to show you how to get into the Word, to dig, and to eat meat. There will be faith-work. How committed will you be?
Those of us who have been reading the Bible for years often make assumptions about Scripture because we’ve “heard the stories” since we were small. Over the next weeks, I ask that every time you open the Word of God that you look at it as if it is your FIRST TIME. Don’t assume you know what is coming next. Remember this is God’s love letter to you, His precious child.
Let’s talk a little about reading the Bible. When someone quotes a Scripture be sure to read the whole paragraph that contains the verse quoted. Do you know what a “paragraph” is? How do you know what a “paragraph” is? Sometimes paragraphs are separated by a space, and paragraphs begin with indention. Look at Psalms 42:1. Where does the paragraph end? Mine ends after verse 4. Look at James 1:2. Where does that paragraph end? In my NIV, it goes through verse 8.
Sometimes in order to get the context or whole picture, you must read the WHOLE chapter, and sometimes the WHOLE book. If there is a particular passage you want to study for the week, read the chapters before, the chapter of, and the chapters that follow on the very first day. The next day, read the chapter. The next day focus on the verses of interest.
Every time you read write down what you observe.
- WHO: Who is in each verse? Who is writing the text? Who is speaking? To whom is the text written?
- WHERE: Where is the setting? Where are they going? Where have they been?
- WHEN: When was the text written in history? What time of year was it? What time of day was it? What happened before? What happened after?
- WHAT: What is occurring? What words do I not understand? What terms do I need information on?
WRITE DOWN ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE
These may mean nothing to you now, but we will get there, but first you must become aware.
Before you begin this exercise, please take time to pray and spend time with your heavenly Father asking Him for wisdom and guidance.
Get your journal, pen and highlighter. Open your Bible to Mark 9:2-10. Read it through one time as if it is your first time to read it.
Read it a second time through – this time write down in your journal what you observe in each verse (the who, the what, the when, the where). Write down any questions you have. Write down any terms you don’t know the history or root of.
Read it a third time in a different translation. Check out www.mystudybible.com or www.biblegateway.com.
Come back tomorrow to see my notes and to get your homework for the week.