Monday, October 18, 2010

Read the Bible Selectively: What?

When a certain man found a treasure in a field, he hid it and went and sold all that he owned. With joy, he sold it all and bought the field (Matthew 13:44). When you read the Bible selectively, you carry out a similar act. Understanding that there is a great treasure found within God’s Word, with joy you abandon everything to read and study His Word.

You set aside time. You commit to give God the best part of your day. You look for a place where you are not distracted. You turn off the television and the phone. You get alone with God and diligently search God’s Word because you know that within it are the words of life.

It will not be easy. The enemy will try to talk you out of reading and studying the Word. He will try to keep you busy by reminding you of your hectic schedule. Reading the Bible selectively will require sacrifice and thought, but the dividends are priceless. There are 6 questions that you need to ask while you are reading the Bible: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

Let’s look at the second question: WHAT?

What is happening in the text? What are the events and activities? Are there in a certain order? What happens to the characters in the story? What is the writer trying to emphasize? What is his argument?

What is missing in the text? For example, King Saul wars against the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15. Saul carries out the destruction of the Amalekites, he captures their king, plunders their spoil, and prepares to offer sacrifices to God.

However, when Samuel shows up, he puts his finger on one problem: “Saul did not obey the Lord.” But Saul had obeyed. He wiped out the Amalekites. Not all of them! He captured the king. He did not obey the Lord completely. What is the writer of 1 Samuel trying to teach us? Partial obedience is disobedience.

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