Learning how to Study a Passage of Scripture - Sample Matthew
Teaching SS is a big endeavor and takes a lot of time if you do it with excellence. We must be diligent as we are held more accountable than our listeners or students. [James 3:1] I have spent a lot of time honing my skills in this area and still I feel I am "not there". But I thought I would start this week sharing some of the ideas that I have learned from my years behind this desk. This is "not written in stone" but it has helped me immeasurably in my studying to glean the riches from God's mine called His Word. I am going to attempt to share with you what I feel are the steps to developing the lesson as seen from all of my efforts and it is paying off in great dividends.
Before you begin any study, take time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine you as to the truth He wants
Take time to read the passage(s) through from beginning to end to find the flow and the time frame. Then print out on your computer the passage(s) to be studied. If you do not have a computer, find someone who has one and ask them to print one out for you. Print it out double spaced and wide margins so you can make notes as you study.
Observe the passage. It is here that you become like a people watcher. You look for the keys to understanding the setting, the people within that setting, the time frame and other ideas. This is like an adventure as you begin to unravel the scriptures and see the things God has richly given to us. The first thing is to go back to your grammar school and remind yourself what your teacher always taught you: “the 5W’s and an H”. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
Here is a sample page I did for the book of Matthew using a program called Creately. However you can do it by just either marking in your Bible or by downloading a section of scripture and marking it. By doing this yoiu can see visually what is going on in the passage. You can see the contrasts, the repeated words and concepts, the key verses and words. You can do this as well. Just download a copy of the scripture you are studying, double space it, print it out and then begin to do your markings. Some are simple like a triangle around the names of God or marking Jesus as red with a cross behind His name. When working on paper you can also insert your word study, looking up words on the http://net.bible.org site. As you study you begin to see time frames, the logic of the author, directions, people, geography etc. Try it and enjoy!
STEP ONE IN INDUCTIVE STUDY IS TO “OBSERVE” THE PASSAGE. Print out the passage you want to study with double spacing and large margins. Then mark the passage with colored pencils or a regular pencil to mark repeated words/phrases, find time words/places/ etc.
From just these two verses we learn as well as we gather some questions—on my own working copy I would have put these questions along the side of the scripture.
Matthew tells us about Time using words like: immediately/while/after/evening/
We learn about people: the disciples were “made” by Jesus to get into a boat and to ahead of him/
Questions that come to mind:
Why did Jesus “make” the disciples do that?
Jesus dispersed the crowd…why? Note the synonym phrase: “he sent the crowd away”
Where did Jesus go and when? What principle does this teach us? (Jesus teaches us order; He organized the people and the disciples before He took care of His own needs…that teaches us that He does that for us now as well) He went “up” the mountain . For what reason? To pray. What principle does that teach us? Even Jesus needed time to be alone with His Father in prayer.
Was anyone with Him?
How long was He there?