Last week, my post about the importance of studying the Bible was a surprise to me. When I first sat down, I had something different in mind for what my post was going to be about. But as the words poured from my fingertips, I could see the direction of the words changing. So I went with it. Little did my conscious know, a few short days later I would be attending another conference on Bible exposition where I would be reminded of some things I had heard before, and introduced to some new ideas and resources. Today’s post will be much more comprehensive as a result, I’m sure!
Conferences and workshops on Bible exposition are helpful in learning how to study God’s word. I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few over the years. While I haven’t yet had opportunities to use what I’ve learned in a teaching sense, the knowledge has been helpful to me in my own study of scripture. If you’ve ever thought about teaching the Bible, this post will help you get started. If that’s not on your radar, knowing what the Bible says is still imperative! Not only will it help you in your personal relationship with Jesus, but it will help you handle God’s word correctly, and that’s good for everyone! Amen to that, yeah?
I’d like to share a little bit about what I’ve learned in some of these conferences. Enough to get you started, or at least started with the thinking process. The more I learn about the Bible, the more beautiful it becomes to me and I want that for you, too! I want that for all of us. God is so pleased when we delight in Him, and we are able to delight in Him more as we get to know Him through His word!
The first thing we need to recognize is that the whole Bible connects, and it tells the greatest love story of all time. The Hero of the love story is Jesus. Every story, every passage we read in the Bible points to Him, who He is, and the work He did on the cross to reconcile us to Himself. Jesus is easy to see in Paul’s letters where he explains the gospel. But where is Jesus in the story of the concubine getting raped, abused, cut up into pieces and sent to the 12 tribes of Israel in Judges? As amazing as it is, he is there too! Both stories teach us more about Jesus and His character, and we must do the hard work of figuring out how.
The Bible is a book.. have you ever thought of that? It is a work of literary genius and includes many different genre’s. Go to the library, and what do you see? Genre’s of books in every kind; children’s books, reference books, text books, fiction, non-fiction, romance, sci-fi, etc. You would not sit down and read a text book in the same way that you read a fiction sci-fi book. It wouldn’t make any sense. A textbook was not meant to be read like a sci-fi. The Bible is the same. The Bible consists of ten different genre’s:
Old Testament Narratives
Old Testament Law
Each genre should be read differently and each shows us a unique and beautiful facet of God and how He relates to us. In order to grasp scripture we must understand what genre we are reading. This will help us know how to read it.
Now it’s time for the challenging part- interpretation! The fancy Bible word for this is Hermeneutics, and it consists of 4 parts.
Context- deals with the Who, What, Where, When and Why the book or passage was written as well as what the culture was like at the time.
Observation- the Who, What, Where, When and Why questions about what the words are saying. Who are the people involved in this passage? what do they say? what is happening? where is it happening? what day/time is it? what comes before and after? why is this included?
Meaning- Meaning in this context does not mean figuring out what the passage means to us. It is understanding what the meaning of the words meant to the original readers. If we don’t figure this out, we won’t know what the words initially intended to communicate, or why they were written.
Application- How does this story, this passage apply to me today? This is where the Bible can come alive to you and/or your audience and minister to specific needs.
As you can see, we’ve only scratched the surface of Bible study. There is SO much more to talk about, but I hope this gives you a jumping off point. Attached below are some links to some helpful resources including links to the conferences I’ve attended, some online resources and books to get you started. My post today was a culmination of many of these resources, and I’m so grateful to have access to so many great things. I have also added a RESOURCES page to my site, where I will (future tense.. it’s blank as of this writing) list a bunch of different materials I have found helpful.
Dallas Theological Seminary- FREE courses you can take!
Jen Wilkin- FREE Bible study audio teachings and materials
How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth (recommended by Verity Fellowship)
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin