Every week, The Word and Spirit Guide offers four questions that are designed to help you explore the message of the weekly Scripture passage. The most important things you can ask of any Scripture passage are summed up in these four questions:
- What am I hearing in this Scripture?
- What does this Scripture say about God?
- What does this Scripture say about me and the world?
- What is God asking me to do in response to this Scripture?
However, you might still want to go into greater detail in order to help you answer those four important questions. If you are interested in digging a little deeper into the text, then I invite you to use the questions below to guide your study. Remember that these questions are designed to help you hear God’s message to you and the world. They are not designed to overwhelm, but to enlighten. Do not feel as if you need to answer all – or even most – of these questions every week. Perhaps pick one or two that will help you explore the Scripture and its message more deeply.
Reading Scripture to Know: These questions represent a five-stage process toward discerning the meaning of a Scripture passage. They are designed to be taken in order, allowing you to inductively come to the meaning of the text. This represents the practice of exegesis – or bringing meaning out of the text. The opposite of this is eisegesis – which is reading what we want into the text. Eisegesis is the enemy of good, sound biblical study! This inductive method is based largely off of Dr. Robert Traina’s book, Methodical Bible Study.
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow: I like to think about reading Scripture as an opportunity to wrestle with God (Read Genesis 32 – Jacob knows what I mean!). We need to do more than just read Scripture to know facts and information; we need to find our place within Scripture and Scripture’s place within us. This means we need to hold onto it, examine it from all angles, or chew on it, so to speak. Another way to think of this is in terms of gardening. The Word gets planted in our souls, but it needs to be watered and nourished and even pruned. These questions allow all of that good work to be done within us.
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me: Remember that every time we come to Scripture, the Living Word meets us there. This results in Bible study becoming a conversation with God. As in any good conversation, you must listen as well as speak. In this way, reading Scripture will reveal things about you and open you to the movement of God within you. Reading and studying your Bible can become one of God’s works of transformative grace!
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passage teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…