March 26th, we looked at the third Core Practice (or Spiritual Discipline) in the Believe Series—Bible Study. Let’s be honest, many Christians struggle reading God’s Word, let alone studying God’s Word.
On the 26th, we looked at the example of the Berean Jews in Acts 17:11-12. If you missed the sermon on Bible Study, check it out on the Church’s Facebook page, or on the website (centerchristianchurch.org) under the media tab, or call the church office for a DVD copy.
If you are open and eager to examine and study the Scriptures like the Berean Jews, sometimes we need to know how to get started. There are a number of ways we can study the Bible, but one of the most effective and simple approaches to reading and understanding the Bible involves three simple steps: Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Let’s briefly look at each of these steps.
Step 1 - Observation: This is where we look at a passage of Scripture and ask questions that help us observe the facts. Here is where we ask questions like: Who? What? Where? When? Who are the people in this passage? What is happening in this passage? Where is this story taking place? When in time (of day, of the year, in history) is it?
Step 2 - Interpretation: This is where we discover the meaning of the passage...main thought or idea. Keeping these four C’s in mind can help determine the main point(s): Context (verses before and after and chapters preceding and following), Cross-reference (let Scripture interpret Scripture), Culture (understand the writer’s cultural context), and Consultation (read sound/credible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc.).
Step 3 - Application: This is why we study the Bible. We want our lives to change. We want to be obedient to God’s Word and to grow more like Jesus. Application is seeking God for how He wants to apply His truth to our life and what change He wants to make. Application is then putting it into practice.
Each of these steps takes place when we are hungry for God’s truth and humbly accept our need for God’s truth. Lastly, each of these steps are through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach us, lead us and equip us as we grow in studying God’s Word so we can live according to His Word and His Will.