Encouraging God’s People to Study the Bible Better!
Welcome to the May edition of the Bible-Student-Online.org e-zine, The Encourager.
We've got some great tips this month. Find out how to flesh out a verse or passage in this month's feature article showcasing our tip of the month. Also don't forget to try some of our Bible study starter ideas.
...without further ado...
Here are some of the useful little tidbits we’re offering for this spring to get your Bible study moving...
1. Tip of the Month – Supercharge your Bible study time with these great ideas.
2. Starters of the Month – Can’t find anything to study? Look here for “starter” ideas.
3. Study of the Month – We’ve posed a question that we would like you to answer by making a thorough study of the Bible. Feel free to use resources. But the applications need to be your own.
4. What’s New? – We have several projects going (and are we busy!) Find out the "new news" here at Bible-Student-Online.org!
Alright…let’s get to it!
Bible Study Tip of the Month
Bible Study Starter: Fleshing Out a Passage
William J. Brown
Have you ever wondered how Bible teachers and pastors flesh out the verse or passage they've chosen for that week's sermon? What gives them the ability to rush to the heart of the matter and apply the passage so well?
Bible teachers utilize many different methodologies when doing this. So there isn't any kind of pat answer to this question. However there are a few consistent rules that these folks employ.
Let's look at one today that may aid us in getting our Bible study time off the ground. Let me just give a short word of warning to this method...
This plan isn't for the faint-hearted or squeamish. This method will give those who really want to dig deeper a head-start on those who only read a passage, gleaning only what's on the surface. This tip is for those who want more than to just dig up a few trinkets. It's for those who want to mine the Word of God.
I actually employ this method when preparing my sermons from week to week. It's just a quick and simple step in the right direction regarding Bible study.
For this exercise you'll need paper, pencil (not pen!), a computer and printer (helpful but not necessary) and, or course, your Bible.
As I mentioned, this method isn't hard and fast. You can take these principles and apply them as you like. We're all different. So you might want to adjust the process according to what works for you. Just keep that in mind as you read.
I take the passage I'm studying (normally no more than a verse of two for my sermon) and print it out in as large a font as I can and still keep it on one piece of paper. I accomplish this by copying and pasting from my Bible program onto a word processor. If you don't have a Bible program, the internet has many free Bible websites that allow you to copy Bible passages.
If you aren't computer savvy, simply hand-print the passage onto one blank piece of paper. Make sure the words and lines have enough spaces between them to allow for notes. I normally double-space the lines on my word processor.
Now comes the fun part!
I take the passage and divide it up into logical parts. Most passages normally break up into smaller sections. Find those sections and bracket them. I use these brackets as my main points in a message.
Next I underline all the verbs twice, making sure to include all helping verbs as well. (Note: Helping verbs are those little words that precede action verbs. Example: "Help" becomes "will help." "Sin" becomes "has sinned", and so on.) Helping verbs will help you later when you determine tenses.
I also circle the important nouns in a sentence. Pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, they) normally get underlined. I do the same with names as well. If you think something is important, circle it. You're probably right if it sticks out that much in your mind.
I now start connecting ideas, using lines with arrows at each end, showing the connection between the two ideas. I normally note above the line why I feel this connection is important.
I go back through and label all the verbs and nouns I've already designated as important. For verbs I try to determine the tense. This isn't always as apparent as our English translations lead us to believe. So check some kind of resource that will give you the tense of the original word.
With pronouns I try to determine who is speaking, is being spoken of or is being spoken to. If I'm not sure I consult a commentary or two. I write the name of the person in question above the corresponding pronoun. This will clarify who the speaker is and to whom he speaks.
At times I ask questions by writing them in the margin, connecting them with a line and arrow. If you have room simply write the question above the word or phrase in question.
Finally I take all the information I've gathered, study it through, and then come up with an overall point of the passage. I use this as my application.
Below is an example of one of my "fleshing out" pages. It should give you some ideas as to how to utilize this method...
As I said before, you don't have to follow the letter of the law with any method. You may want to tailor this to meet your needs. You may not know all that much about grammar. In that case you won't do as much grammar study (although I still challenge you to at least check commentaries. Grammar can have a huge impact on the meaning of a text.)
Whatever you do, I hope this helps you enjoy your Bible study time a little bit more. Remember, methods are there to help you, not hinder you. Use them. Don't let them use you. This will make Bible study that much more enjoyable.
That's it for this month. I hope this was a help. We'll have more next month.
Keep up the good work. And...
Keep the faith!
Bible Study Starters of the Month
Here are a couple ideas to jump-start your brain for your personal Bible study…
1. The Bible speaks of angels in different instances, serving in various capacities. What do angels do? What is their nature? Do they have names? How many kinds of angels are there?
2. How does Matthew 1:23 relate to Isaiah 7:14?
Bible Study Project of the Month
Put on your thinking caps this month...
Follow the life of Joseph in Genesis 30 through Exodus 1:6. Determine what kind of man he was. Was he spiritual or fleshly? Did he struggle in some areas? If so name the areas.
Create a map to follow Joseph's movements from Israel into Egypt. Chart his accomplishments and his failures.
In all of this, analyze Joseph's life to determine what made him so successful.
And of course...
Contact us through our “Contact Page”, and tell us what you found. We're interested to hear what your studies turn up!
We've had a wonderful response to this e-zine. Thanks to all who have sent in their encouraging words to us. Your kindness will not go unrewarded.
And don't forget to check out our Spiritual Warfare study. We've just completed the last installment of that study, so check it out, and tell us what you think.
As always, thanks a lot for all your prayers. We love you all. And we hope God continues to bless you.
That about wraps it up for this month. We hope you enjoyed this e-zine provided by Bible-Student-Online.org.