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200 word responses to both discussions 1 & 2 and reference Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cartwright J., Hulshof C. (2016). Everyday Bible Study. Nashville, TN. B&H AcademicÃ¢â‚¬Â.
1. Twenty-five years ago, I was what 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls “a new creation.” This rebirth spurred in me a desire to dive into the Word of God and to learn all that I could about His ways and plans for my life. I didn’t know where to begin and I am sure many of you are feeling the same way; excited about accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior and eager to learn more about our amazing God. I want to share with you what tools I use to dig deeper into God’s Word.
You need to understand that God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed to men His Word and they wrote it down to pass onto generations of believers. These men came from all walks of life, different geographical areas, most did not know each other, and some didn’t even speak the same language. It was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in man that created each book of the Bible. In their book Everyday Bible Study: Growing in the Christian Faith John Cartwright and Chris Hulshof state, “The Holy Spirit is the one tool every believer has,” so it’s our first tool to use when studying the Bible since we already have it! Each time we sit to study the Bible we should stop and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything sin in which we need to repent so we may fully receive His Word.
The next tool I found helpful as a new believer is to have multiple translations of the Bible available to me while I am studying. Just as God used many men to write the Bible, we need a variety of perspectives to get a better understanding of His Word. A formal, a functional, and a paraphrase bible will provide you a more rounded interpretation of scripture. (Cartwright, et.al 2016) These can be actual hard copy books or electronic versions downloaded on a mobile device. While studying I strongly suggest you read a specific passage in each of the translations as it will give you a better understanding of the passage.
The final tool I want to share with you is to ask key questions when reading. Asking who, what, where, when, why, and how as we did early in our education is critically important as it boosts our understanding of scripture and encourages us to dig deeper into the passage of scripture. 2 Peter 3:18 tells us, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
2. One thing that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to talk about are the various versions of the Bible. While they all tell the same story, they tell them with subtle differences in verbiage. Reading these different versions can bring some light to certain subjects because you may not understand something from letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s say the King James Version but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clearer in the New Living Translation. One may be confusing, and one may make sense. I feel itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re truly studying the Bible to read at least two different variations. The King James version is a word for word translation from all available scrolls and manuscripts. Since the English language has changed over time, this translation is very traditional. The New International Version, New Living Translation, plus others are a meaning for meaning translation. They translate into a more understandable version.
A good toolbox will include translations from across the spectrum of Bible translation types. This allows the student of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Word to see how a passage is rendered across these translations. It can clear up interpretation difficulties, clarify word meanings, and provide translation options for difficult passages. Some of the most basic and yet important observations in Bible study can be made by simply reading a passage in different translations.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Cartwright and Hulshof, p. 61)
Another way to further understand certain parts of the scripture are through commentaries. For instance, a devotional commentary will take a passage about a lesson that someone has learned in the Bible and apply it to everyday life for people like us. Commentaries focus more on reflection and how to apply it. Commentaries are great for Bible study and for sermons, but shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the place of the Bible, but compliment it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This reflection or application is often based on a key word, an element of historical context, or a biographical component found in the text. Thus, the commentary is not necessarily addressing the meaning and significance of the whole passage.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Cartwright and Hulshof, p. 67)
Proverbs 15:22 (New Living Translation) tells us, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.Ã¢â‚¬Â This verse tells me that looking for answers in more than one place is a smart idea. No, commentaries are not true words of God, they are written by men of God though. I feel that they have an important place in our studies.
Yet another way to enhance your Bible study is to stay away from distractions. First item to unclutter is your mind. When itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for Bible Study, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just that, time to study. Be in the right frame of mind to concentrate on whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in front of you. Clear everything else out of your mind. Secondly, turn off the technology! Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and television need to go. Again, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for Bible Study so put everything else to the side. Another distractor is your environment. Be in a place that is comfortable to you. Free of clutter is best, but you may thrive in that type of environment. Just try to study in a peaceful place free of everyday distractions. 1 Corinthians 7:35 (New Living Translation) tells us, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The more potential there is for distraction, the less potential there is for the purposeful reading and insightful observation that is necessary for good Bible study.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Cartwright and Hulshof, p. 79)
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