"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly." (2 Tim. 2:15-16)
Observation is taking a careful look of what is going on. And we have to know what is going on before we can act on a plan or action. Bible students must know the Word themselves before they can teach it.
· Effective observation takes time and practice. So be patient.
· Study with expectation.
· Know that Christ has a personal word for you (Matt. 4:4; Psalm 40:7-8; 119:25; 28, 50, 72, 89, 90, 105, 130; Prov. 6:20-23; Jer. 15:16, 23-29, to name a few...)
OBSERVING IS: Before the process of interpretation, asking, "What does it say?" You must do this before you ask what does it mean and how to apply it to your life!
· If you do the opposite as many do, you will not go deep enough and allow God's Word to transform you before you respond to that change!
· When we try to do something for God before we are changed is like trying to drive a car manual instead of the car itself.
FIRST: Give the Book the "Looks."
· Look for a stated purpose. Look for repeated phrases. Look for the point. Look who is involved? Look for the time of events, the sequence. Look for persons, places, events, and ideas. Look for logical Connectives, (Conjunction junction what's your function?) This is very important because it tells us of a transition or summary and application from a logic statement or line of reasoning.
· Look at the ADJECTIVES!
· Look for the grace of God! And make sure you practice His grace to others too! The grace that He has given to you freely and undeservingly!
· Once you know what to look for, a whole new world opens up to you!
· If you do not know what to "look" for, you will not find much!
· Notice other important words!
REMEMBER: VERY EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IS THE CONTEXT!
The context is what is going on around the passage you are studying. If you take and read one verse without carefully studying the previous and preceding text, you will miss a great deal and possibly misinterpret what is being said.
THINGS TO OBSERVE:
Verbs are crucial "Tense, voice, mood, person, & number." And check NOUNS in "Bible Dictionaries!" The context will give you the clues!
· Define the meaning of the important words you are studying, do not assume you know, check it out, by looking them up!
· Look at what is actually being said?
· Notice the setting.
· Compare passage/verse too similar verses i.e. "Scripture interprets scripture." Use a "Concordance" or a "Chain Reference Bible."
· Notice the implications
· Notice what is being taught
· Notice the promises of God
· Notice carefully the underlining principle(s)
· What about the life, work, teaching, presence of Jesus Christ?
· Look out for types of "literary style." That is history, philosophy, drama, poetry, wisdom, apocalyptic and law.
Ask these Essential Questions to aid your observations once you get a handle on the above principles. The goal is to interview the passage to be more challenged and to draw out more information:
· What is God telling me?
· What does the passage actually say, not what I want it to say?
· What did I learn about God or myself?
· What and how has anything I picked up can affect and build my character and spiritual growth?
Now interview the text and yourself:
· Is there any lesson I am to learn?
· Is there any command I am called to and need to obey?
· Is there any sin I need to avoid or forsake?
· Is there any example for me to follow?
· Is there any fault I have that I need to fix?
· Is there any failure that I can learn from?
· Is there any blessing I can enjoy?
· Is there any promise I can claim and keep?
Start with the simple questions and as you progress you will start to see more and ask more. Not every question will apply to every passage, perhaps only a couple will out of dozens. Remember, these are just tools; He is the means and reason why we study.
· Make sure you trust and obey what God is telling you!
Like looking at a diamond from only one angle is like looking at glass, you see nothing interesting or spectacular. But when you turn the diamond in the light, you see all the facets and depth, so it is with Scripture! Looking at various translations side by side is like looking at more facets, it brings out the "3-D" depth, and becomes clearer and easier to understand and then to teach!
Condensed from the book, "Into Thy Word" (see Resources)
© 1979, 1998, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org