Effective Bible Study: A Four-Part Method

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Biblical literacy is more than just reading the Bible- it is also about reading the Bible for all it is worth! This workshop will unpack a simple and practical for-part method for group Bible study that will enliven, enrich and transform how you and your study group encounter the Bible. The Bible will never be the same!

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Effective Bible Study: A Four-Part Method

  1. 1. Reading Scripture: A Four-Part Approach<br />
  2. 2. Please provide<br />Name<br />Email address<br />
  3. 3. Reading Scripture: A Four-Part Approach<br />
  4. 4. lenses<br />windows<br />viewing points<br />
  5. 5. not the only four approaches . . .<br />Culture and social location/context<br />Liberation<br />Feminist criticism<br />Political<br />Deconstruction<br />Canonical criticism<br />
  6. 6.
  7. 7. 1 - We begin by reading the Bible text and reflecting on its meaning. We ask questions and identify items that are unclear. We bring our unique background and experience to the Bible, and the Bible meets us where we are.<br />5 - We return to where we started, but now we have explored and experienced the Bible text from four different dimensions. We are ready to move into the “for” dimension. We have opened Scripture and joined in conversation for a purpose. We consider the meaning of the text for faithful living. We wonder what God is calling us (individually and as communities of faith) to do. We consider how God’s Word is calling us to do God’s work in the world. <br />2 - We seek to understand the world of the Bible and locate the setting of the text. We explore who may have written the text and why. We seek to understand the particular social and cultural contexts that influenced the content and the message. We wonder who the original audience may have been. We think about how these things “translate” to our world today.<br />3- We pay close attention to how the text is written. We notice what kind of literature it is and how this type of literature may function or may be used. We look at the characters, the story line, and the themes. We compare and contrast these with our own understanding and experience of life. In this interchange, we discover meaning.<br />4 - We consider the Lutheran principles that help ground our interpretation of the Bible text. We ask questions that bring those principles and unique Lutheran theological insights into conversation with the text. We discover how our Lutheran insights can ground and focus our understanding and shape our faithful response to the text.<br />*Depending on the nature of the text, contributors may chose to follow the devotional reading of Scripture with either the historical or literary approach.<br />
  8. 8. Historical reading<br />We can use historical questions to open the Bible and betterunderstand the plain meaning of the text.<br />WHO? Who is the author of this book? Who are the Pharisees?<br />WHEN? When was the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed? When were the Gospels written?<br />WHERE? Where was Jesus born? Where was Mount Sinai?<br />WHY? Why did Paul write a letter to the Corinthians? Why was Jesus put to death?<br />WHAT? What is an ephod? What was the relationship between Jews and Samaritans?<br />
  9. 9. Historical reading<br />What insights from history would help us hear, read, study, understand, and interpret the plain meaning of this passage more accurately?<br />Do we know anything about who wrote the passage?<br />Do we know where this text was written or takes place and anything about that ancient part of the world?<br />Are there implied political and social realities that could shed light on this text?<br />
  10. 10. Historical reading<br />If you were writing the notes for a Study Bible for this passage, at which points would you put a note?<br />Example:<br />Acts 16:14 — A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira* and a dealer in purple cloth.**<br />* Thyatira – inland trade city, 50 kilometers east of the Aegean<br />** Purple cloth -- a very valuable material in the ancient, international trade route. <br />******************<br />Do you need an expert in the room to ask or answer historical questions?<br />
  11. 11. Literary reading<br />We can discover the Bible’s meaning by focusing on how it is written. The artistry, author’s purpose, and point of view convey meaning.<br />PLOT Why did Jonah run away from God?<br />CHARACTER What makes Ruth a woman of worth?<br />THEME What is the Book of Exodus about?<br />SETTING Where was Paul preaching in Athens?<br />VIEWPOINT What would it be like to be the older brother of the prodigal son? What was the servant who killed the calf for the celebration thinking?<br />GENRE How did Jesus use parables and why?<br />
  12. 12. Literary reading<br />Paying attention to the plot, characters, tone (ironic, rhetoric), genre (poetry, apocalyptic, parable) affects the way we read and interpret a text.<br />When does the action take place?<br />Where is it happening?<br />Who are the main characters?<br />What seems to be the author’s point of view?<br />
  13. 13. Literary reading<br />What is your favorite story in the Bible? Why?<br />What makes it a good story? <br />
  14. 14. Lutheran reading<br />Lutheran theological principles and insights help us read <br />and interpret the Bible.<br />LAW and GOSPEL How do we hear this passage as both showing us our sin <br />and offering us good news?<br />WHAT SHOWS FORTH CHRIST How does this text point us to Christ?<br />SCRIPTURE INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE What other passages from the Bible <br />help us understand the passages we are reading?<br />THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE TEXT How did the original audience likely <br />understand the meaning of this text? <br />PUBLIC INTERPRETATION Do others hear this text the way I do? How do the<br />readings and interpretations of others confirm and/or correct my reading?<br />
  15. 15. Lutheran reading<br />“How can Lutheran Insights Open Up the Bible?”<br /> by Mark Allan Powell<br /> in Opening the Book of Faith and Lutheran Study Bible<br />in How Lutherans Interpret the Bible<br />Select Learning DVD (7 sessions)<br />Where else can we go to find insights on applying Lutheran theology and interpretive principles to our reading and study of the Scriptures?<br />
  16. 16. Lutheran reading<br />“The Holy Scriptures require a humble reader who shows reverence and fear toward the Word of God, and constantly says, ‘Teach me, teach me, teach me!’ The Spirit resists the proud.” Martin Luther<br />Luther’s Works, vol. 54: Table Talk (Fortress Press, 1967)<br />
  17. 17. Devotional Reading<br />We can open the Bible individually and together by using various ancient and modern devotional methods.<br />LECTIODIVINA is an ancient approach to engaging Scripture that means “sacred reading.” The approach has four steps:<br /> - Lectio(Read and Listen)<br /> - Meditatio(Meditate and Reflect)<br />- Oratio (Pray)<br />- Contemplatio(Rest quietly in God’s presence)<br />T.R.I.P.is a newer devotional approach to reading Scripture developed by Mount Carmel Ministries. It is based on approaching the text with key questions:<br /> T = THANKS What in this text makes me thankful?<br /> R = REGRET What in this verse causes me regret?<br /> I = INTERCESSION What does this text lead me to pray for?<br /> P = PLAN OF ACTION What action does this text encourage me to take?<br />SWEDISH MARKING METHOD suggests a visual way of noting things in reading the Bible.<br />a candle for a new idea<br /> a double candle for a verse to memorize<br /> a verse that relates to personal experience<br />? for something that is not clear<br />
  18. 18. Devotional Reading<br /><ul><li>What word or phrase strikes you?
  19. 19. What images or stories come to mind?
  20. 20. What delights you?
  21. 21. What confuses or challenges you?
  22. 22. What is God calling us to be, do, tell?</li></ul> Marc Chagall, 1960<br />
  23. 23. Devotional Reading<br />What is your favorite verse of Scripture? Why?<br />…we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. <br />Romans 6:4<br />
  24. 24. Jonah 1:1-17<br />With one or two partners, read the text aloud slowly.<br />As you read, note items of interest and keep the four categories in mind.<br />Create at least one question in each category and write it on a sticky note.<br />Place your questions in the appropriate category on the newsprint provided.<br />AlbertusPictor, Jonah and the Whale (detail from ceiling)Härkeberga Church, Uppland, Sweden<br />
  25. 25. Reflecting on the assignment<br />Which type of questions did you find easiest to create?<br />Which were hardest? Why?<br />How might this vary depending on the text being studied?<br />What benefits do you see in exploring Bible texts in this way?<br />
  26. 26. Bible Studies Foundational Courses <br />Books of Faith Opening the Book of Faith<br />Together in Faith Rediscovering the Book of Faith<br />People of Faith Making Sense of Scripture<br />
  27. 27. Sept 1, 2010<br /> BIBLE INTRODUCTION<br />Participant Book<br />Leader Guide<br />Session DVD <br />featuring sand art of world renowned artist Joe Castillo<br />▪ 16 Sessions<br />▪ Designed for those new to Bible (and those wanting a big-picture overview)<br />▪ Flexible: Core Session and Small Group Discussion option<br />▪ Questions in participant book are mostly “devotional” category<br />▪ LSB connections<br />Search on “Greatest Story” at www.augsburgfortress.org<br />

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