I had a blast on my birthday...

I turned 30 yesterday, and got to celebrate it by gathering together as God's community, honoring Him, enjoying each other, and growing in His purposes. I was truly blessed! Thank you to all of you who are a part of my life, and this community!

We spent the evening talking about Scripture, asking some of the following questions:

What is the Bible?
Where did it come from?
Is it something we can trust?
What is it's purpose?
How are we supposed to interact with it?

I had several people express interest and gratitude for the handout that we looked at, so here is the material that was on it:

Basic Questions:
What is the plain meaning of the text?
What is the significance of that?
How does that apply to my life, or that of my community?

Word Study:
Look up every use of a specific word in a letter, or the entire Bible

Look up the meanings of people’s names, or place names.
Find out the history of certain places or people mentioned in a passage. Look them up in other passages or sections of the Bible.

Become a Character:
Ask some basic questions about the character’s role in the story:
Who am I?
What am I feeling?
What are my motivations?
What am I doing?
What am I thinking?
What am I learning?
What mistakes am I making?
Take this approach to each character or group of characters in the story.

Take a large chunk of scripture (for example: an epistle, or the life of Joseph in Genesis) and make an outline of it, listing major points, subpoints, and details

Put a passage into your own words.

Memorizing Scripture:
Commit a passage of scripture to memory

Lectio Divina:
Lectio-read the passage several times
Meditatio-meditate upon the passage, a phrase, or even a single word
Oratio-respond to God in prayer
Contemplatio-listen to what God wants to say to you

Where do I start?

Get a good modern translation of the Bible
(I use NIV and The Message primarily)

Start with the New Testament:
Mark is the shortest letter that tells Jesus’ story
Luke and Acts were written as sequels, telling the story of Jesus and the early Church
The Psalms are ancient songs/poems

Study Bibles

NIV Application Commentary Series
Everyone Commentary Series
NT Wright
How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth
Stuart and Fee

What am I trying to accomplish?
1) Familiarity with the grand story told by the Bible as a whole
2) Study of the details and how they fit into that entire grand story
3) Meditation upon the words inspired by God;
allowing the Spirit of God to reveal from the words of Scripture who God is, what He is like, and what He is inviting us to participate in.

How often, and how long, should I read?
Find a regular place in your daily routine where you can be uninterrupted.
Read as little or as much as necessary to interact with the Holy Spirit!


Paul Maurice Martin said...

"What is the Bible?
Where did it come from?
Is it something we can trust?
What is it's purpose?
How are we supposed to interact with it?"

Good questions. One thing that helped me both appreciate it more and better understand what sort of document it is, was learning a bit about how it came to be written and assume the final form that's familiar to us today.

Steve S. said...

I must agree, learning the history of how the Scriptures came to take the shape that we have them today is vital...

There are so many popular myths surrounding the origins of the Bible; but understanding the history can give us a much deeper appreciation for the reliability of the Bible that we read today.

I am amazed at how many people I meet who actually quote works of fiction and/or admitted hoaxes as authorities on the origin of the New Testament...

Its a good thing there's more to the story!