Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Studies

STEP IV: INTERPRET IT

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
The Forth Step of Inductive Bible Study is Asking, "What Does This Passage Mean?"

Inductive Bible Study helps us study with a plan: consecutive reading, book study, topical study, and verse-by-verse. When observing we first ask what it says, then and only then can we examine what it means. This is the crucial step we have to undertake before we apply it to our lives. There are no easy ways out, or shortcuts to understanding any great works of literature, especially God's Word!
The Forth Step of Inductive Bible Study is Asking the Big Question,
 
"What Does This Passage Mean?" 

  

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."  (Philippians 2:12-13)

 

When observing we first ask what it says, then and only then can we examine what it means. This is the crucial step we have to undertake before we apply it to our lives. There are no easy ways out, or shortcuts to understanding any great works of literature, especially God's Word!

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Inductive Bible Study helps us study with a plan: consecutive reading, book study, topical study, and verse-by-verse. (Luke 24:27, Acts 17:11)

 

·        Study with quiet confidence in God (Matt. 8:5-13; 14: 22-33; John 15:1-17; Eph. 3:20; James 4:3; Jude 24-25).

 

·        If we go to Scripture to only be comforted, we will find ourselves spiritually bankrupted.

 

·        When we go before God with only what we want, all we will hear in return is our echoed assumptions! (Isaiah 42:20)

 

·        Let God have His way with you!

 

·        We must know our weaknesses and limitations as creatures filled with sin!

 

·        Ask our Lord to open you before Him

 

·        We cannot apply what we do not know and understand!

 

·        These are three crucial areas or rules of "exegesis" that we have to know before we can interpret correctly:

 

·        We must be aware of our nature

 

·        We must be aware of the nature of Scripture and the Divine Authors intent.

 

·        The Bible was written by the words of people through their cultures, times and histories, all Divinely inspired

 

·        When we are aware of this "tension" between the Bibles language, history, literature, and our perceptions, then we can be careful interpreters. So that we are focused on Christ and His Word and not ourselves.

 

There are two main areas of "context": "what are the "historical" and what are the "literary"settings?" That is the content of what is going on in the text. What is going on preceding and after our text? The type(s) of literature, and the various cultural factors.

 

Ask, as Interview the Passage:

 

·        When you read, ask, "What does it mean?"

 

·        What is the point and train of thought?

 

·        Look for meanings of words and phrases in the context!

 

·        Look at different translations side by side

 

·        ANALYZE by gathering facts and all the information available to you.

 

Do not solely rely on commentaries and study Bibles, nothing beats study for yourself, because you will get addicted to them. Use the commentaries just to see what you may have missed; look up the meanings of key words, metaphors and what you do not understand!

 

·        Paraphrase the passage yourself.

·        What is supported?

·        What are the conclusions?

 

The BIG THING TO DO: Make an emotional identification into the text. Place yourself as a participant, being active in it as if it is your story, as if you are there.  

 

THINGS TO VIEW AND ASK AND TO APPLY:

 

·        Ask what is actually being said?

·        Look for stuff to carry out in your life.

·        Write down your questions and what you do not understand. This helps us grow!

·        What are the implications to be applied?

·        What is being taught to be transformed us?

·        What about the life, work, teaching, and presence of Jesus Christ?

·        How can I model His Character?

·        Make a commitment to the meaning.

 

Now make sure you accept what it says: This is God's Word!

 

·        The Bible does not teach anything we please.

·        The Bible cannot mean something else from what it does say.

·        The Bible cannot mean what it never meant!

 

"Knock, and the door will be open for you" - Matt 7:7

 

We learn by doing. So, do it!

 

 

Condensed from the book, "Into Thy Word" (see Resources)

 

© 1979, 1998, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org   

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