Wednesday, July 21, 2021

IBS-6 The Power of Observation: seeing words

 The Big Idea: Carefully examining the words in the Word of God is beneficial.

Seeing Words

In the detective show, "Psyche," often the episode opens with Shawn as a boy. His cop father, Henry, challenges him to close his eyes and remember all he saw. He presses him to see more than the obvious.

"Scripture Spy " is so called to challenge our Scriptural observation. To dig into the truth in context. To discover the meaning of the Bible, not adapt a good sounding verse to support a viewpoint. 

 Ten Ways Observation Helps

Many professionals (teachers, doctors, scientists, cops, etc.) value observation. This is how it helps me get into the Word: 

1. It slows me down. Slow down = notice more details.  

2. I'm more precise. Sometimes accuracy is very important (i.e. amount of powerful medication). Accurately handling God's Word is vital. Don't be sloppy in discerning meaning.

3. I avoid proof-texting. Christians proof-text by taking one verse or phrase to support an idea possibly unrelated to what the passage means. This is a terrible way to learn about God and Biblical truth. Examine the context!

4. I understand better. As clues are sought for the how, the why, and the significance, I reach the central meaning. I understand better. Some verses I won't understand till I see God face to face, but I should carefully examine God's word while earth bound!

5. I solve mysteries. Jesus told the crowds parables. Occasionally He explained them in greater depth to the disciples. God's Word is designed to draw us in and make us hungry for more. Key word studies and cross references shed new light on difficult passages.

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.      Mark 4:10

6. I have more to pass on. Digging into the Bible gives me layers of fresh insight. It's exciting to share these with others.

7. Another frame of reference. By observation I can see the world through another's eyes. TV detective Monk would frame his hands to focus on what someone saw. I can watch God and His work through a Biblical author or character's eyes.

8. Essential for my spiritual growth. Pediatricians agree part of normal development is observing and noticing details. It starts with peek-a-boo. Children then learn to discern shapes, colors, and sounds. Likewise, learning to discern the Biblical text is a valuable life-skill for spiritual growth.

9. Prevention. Observation by the police can prevent crime or deter problems. Routine medical tests can prevent bigger health issues. To study the entire Bible, not just my favorite passages, may reveal ungodly patterns never before addressed that should be examined. 

10. Importance of assessment, feedback and goals. Research scientists use observation for assessment, feedback and goal setting. As I study the Bible carefully the Holy Spirit helps me examine my attitudes and actions. A life verse gives direction. Let God's Word guide you toward a more abundant life in Christ.

For instructions how to make your own worksheet of any Bible passage click here


This is the sixth in a series called Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

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1. Have you ever wished you had paid more attention to the details? When? Why?

2. Do you have a career that depends on good observation? If not, who do you hope pays close attention in your life (for example, your doctor, the person who does your taxes, etc)?

3. What might help you pay more attention to a Bible passage? Memorizing a verse? Using colored markers? Reading it out loud?


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