People often ask me why I do what I do.
I am a Registered Nurse.
I’m a Bible College and Seminary Graduate
I have advanced graduate and post-graduate degrees in Bible and Theology.
There are many other things I could be doing.
Why then teach the Bible in an Apostolic Church in ????????.
Why spend so much time on Facebook and Skype debating with Trinitarians and other religious groups?
Why write books on the Bible?
It’s because ladies and gentlemen–the Bible has changed my life–and it can change yours too!
In fact, with the ever-increasing evil present in our world, this book holds mankind’s only hope.
But there’s a problem of grave concern in the body of Christ and that is severe Biblical illiteracy!
Christians simply don’t know what is in this book and they certainly don’t know how to use it.
My goal is to help change that, to the best of my ability.
“People learn how to use the Bible mostly from their pastors and teachers in church – so preachers and teachers have a better opportunity than anyone else to teach good Biblical theology and model a hermeneutically sound use of the Bible.”
What is “hermeneutics,” you ask?
Hermeneutics is a $30.00 word that simply means how we interpret the Bible.
In these sessions we are learning how to do proper Hermeneutics; that is how to properly understand Scripture.
In our first session, we gained a general overview of how to do effective personal Bible study.
But basically, all we did was show you the car.
Today, we’re going to kick the tires and take a peek under the hood.
We learned that there are only three major steps in personal Bible study – Observe – Interpret – Apply.
Observation – Interpretation, and Application. Just three simple parts.
Today, and over the next three sessions, we’re going to get more intimately involved with each of these components, beginning with observation
Observation asks the question, “What do I see?”
We’re asking seven key questions:
- How? And lastly, and most importantly:
- Now what?
Who are the people involved?
Who are they interacting with?
What else do you know about them from other stories?
If you are studying and you encounter the Apostle Peter? What can you recall about him from other parts of the Bible?
What do you know about these people?
What are they saying?
What are they doing?
What’s happening in the passage?
Remember Bible study is a process – it’s a building process.
Understanding grows as you put the pieces together.
Is it a miracle?
What kind of Miracle?
Is it a story? Can you tell it?
If you can’t tell it, you don’t know it.
You need to go back and reread it – study it until it becomes a part of you.
I asked one of my seminary professors once, how many times they read a passage of Scripture before teaching or preaching it?
Their answer was – dozens!
What I took away from that is to read it as often as needed to make it second nature.
The bottom line is can you tell the story?!
Is the passage a command?
I’ve been reading the book of James did you know there are 58 sharp commands in that book – not suggestions – commands!
So ask yourself “what does he want me to do?”
Is it an explanation?
Is it an example?
What time is it? Early morning? Night time? What morning? What night?
Mark 1:35 King James Version (KJV)
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
What day was it? The day after the busiest day in our Lord’s recorded ministry.
(By the way – did you know that there are only 52 specific days in Jesus’ ministry recorded for us in Scripture).
But this particular day was so filled with miracles and ministry that it left our Lord completely drained to the point that his very first priority that morning was communion with his father.
Many of us would be tempted to sleep in.
Not only are we interested in the timing of a particular event but as well – what came before – and what after.
What produced it – what did it produce?
What’s the location? Where did the events take place?
This is where you’ll find a good map comes in handy.
You know– those maps in the back of your Bible?
Have you ever looked at them for more than a minute?
Most people never use them so they have no clue where particular events happened.
I have a funny but sad story – I was teaching a class one afternoon and a lady with a PhD stuck her hand up and asked me where in South America we can find the Dead Sea?
Where did Paul’s journeys take him?
There are three of them.
Where did he go and what did he do there.
Where all did Joseph travel in his journey?
Where did the Exodus take the Children of Israel?
What about the Promised Land? Where is it? How big is it? (About the size of the State of NJ)
Why did God include this particular passage or event in the Bible?
John tells is there are many signs not included in that book so we must ask ourselves why did he include the particular seven he did mention?
He tells us!
It’s because each of the signs was meant to produce faith –belief in the Son of God!
Why in Romans 13 does Paul suddenly introduce the topic of the Christian responsibility to government?
Do I have a responsibility to my Government?
Paul seems to think so!
Why is that there; in the greatest theological treatise in the New Testament?
Actually, it’s because theology impacts every area of life.
How were things done?
How did they travel?
- Now what?
We now know the who, what, when, where, why and how. So– now what?
What do we do with this information?
How does it affect my life?
How does it impact my behaviors,
Not only do I seek answers to the first six questions but I must discover the seventh by asking how does it apply to me?
Only then am I ready to move on to the next step.
Example of observation
Mark 4:35-41 King James Version (KJV)
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
OK, now, what can we observe in this passage? What do we see?
The first question involves context:
What precedes this passage and what follows?
Well if you go back in Mark Chapter 4, you’ll see the oft-repeated statement – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
He’s giving them a lesson on listening.
We find here a series of parables – he even takes the time to explain one so that they don’t miss what he is saying.
Then beginning at Mark 4:35 and continuing through Mark 5:43 we find a series of four miracles.
This is often referred to as the miracle section of the Gospel of Mark.
The first of these is the calling of the storm.
So, let’s look again at our passage:
Who is involved?
Well, we have Jesus and the disciples.
Jesus the world’s greatest teacher has just spent the day instructing these disciples.
At the end of the day, Jesus says, “Let’s go to the other side.”
Then what happens?
If Jesus falls asleep and a great storm comes up?
What does Jesus say?
Well, we’ve just seen that he said, “Let’s go over to the other side.”
Yet in the middle of the lake, the disciples are convinced they are drowning.
What do the disciples say? They ask: “Jesus, don’t you care!?”
Translation – “Will you at least help us bail?”
Remember, these are professional fishermen they had seen this kind of storm before.
In the natural, they had every right to be afraid.
What does Jesus say next?
Peace! Be still!
What happens? Immediately there is calm.
This is clearly a miracle of the first order.
Then Jesus asks the pertinent questions:
“How is it that you have no faith?”
“Why are you of all people, so fearful?”
See faith and fear do not mix! It’s like oil and water.
What did the disciples say next?
“Who is this that even the wind and the seas obey him?”
When does this take place?
What time of day is it? Well, the text tells us it’s at night.
Scary enough, a storm like that in the daytime– just imagine it happening at night it adds color and significance to the scene.
Where did this take place?
The Sea of Galilee –
It’s a large lake–8 miles wide, 13 miles long.
Its 690 feet below sea level.
If you don’t know where it is– look it up? That’s how we learn.
Next, ask yourself the question;
Why was this written?
Well, it was written for a number of reasons: the first of which is that it is teaching us that when Jesus Christ is in our boat – it can’t sink.
The disciples are involved in a teaching moment and in order to be taught, you must be teachable.
Here Jesus uses the most desperate of situations — life-threatening even to professionals — to teach trust in him.
He had said, “Let’s go to the other side.”
He didn’t say Let’s go halfway across and sink.
When you and I are teachable in life’s moments then, and only then– we will be able to take the giant steps the disciples are making.
See the big lesson here is trust – Jesus is teaching his disciples– and us –to trust in him.
It’s easy to talk about. But to do? Wow!
Do we trust him in all things?
How did Jesus do the things He did?
One view says that because He was God the Son, sometimes He acted like a man—other times He acted as God.
Does that work for you?
It doesn’t work for me. How come—because Philippians Chapter 4 tells us that He did not partake of His divine attributes.
In every way, He was 100% fully human.
When Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith—the implication is that they could have done exactly what He did with the storm.
Or else, His rebuke was uncalled for and out of place.
We must understand that– everything Jesus did—He did as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit.
This was a lesson in trust but it was also a lesson in acting on your faith.
And finally, the crucial question:
We put this passage into application in our own lives!
By trusting Jesus in the storms of life and stepping out and exercising our faith with the authority and power given us In Christ Jesus!