Showing posts with label About the site. Show all posts
Showing posts with label About the site. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Why read the Bible?


The Big Idea: No matter what your belief, you should read the Bible. 

Why read the Bible? The skeptic needs a different reason than a Christian who has followed God for decades. No matter what, it is a worthwhile read. Here's why.

To the Skeptic

1. Best Seller: The Bible has been a non-fiction best seller for centuries. It was the first book printed in 1452 on the Guttenberg Press.

2. Influential: The Bible has influenced and inspired world leaders and many top literary minds in world history.

3. Moral Compass: The Bible gives moral and ethical guidance. It is basic. It is profound. It grounds us on what we know in our gut to be right.

4. Big Picture: The Bible gives big picture perspective. It introduces the higher power. It provides comfort and hope.


If You’re Just Beginning

The Bible is like a library with various literary styles like poetry/wisdom, stories, history, law, and apocalyptic writings. Some of the Bible is not exciting or inspirational. But it has purpose just like the tiny type in contracts. Be aware of this when you read it. Next week will be about how to begin reading.

1. The Encyclopedia. The Bible contains information on many different subjects. It contains history, Old Testament laws, and compendiums about wisdom.

2. The Cookbook. Some parts of the Bible read like a cookbook. Proverbs has recipes for young man to keep pure, and about business women contributing in both home and community. The New Testament has guidelines for marriage,etc.

3. The Storybook. The Bible has vivid stories of people who are not perfect. Some turned to God and it changed their life. Bible characters are not superheroes or villains. Ordinary people encountered God and made their choices.

4. The Spiritual Guide. The Bible is a spiritual book for the soul. It teaches how to get along with God and man. Our bad choices effect us and it shows how to choose a better way to live.


What Christians Believe

1. God's Word: We believe the Bible is the very word of God. The Holy Spirit has breathed the words through those who wrote the words down in different eras and places. It is surprisingly in sync as a unit.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16

2. Active: The Bible is living and active. Though it was penned long ago, it is dynamic, not static, and continues to be relevant no matter what the culture or era.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

3. Trustworthy: You can trust God's word to be true. God's promises throughout the Bible can be trusted as we rely on Him.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:1

4. Life Changing: God's Word teaches us how to be right with God. God wants to rescue us from the pit. Words like: rescue, save, restore, redeem, fulfill are about God's ability to change us from darkness to light when we trust Him.

Stand by me and set me free. Give me life again because of Your Word. Psalm 119:154 (TLV)

 I close with a quote from an Athiest Book Club discussion from Goodreads.

I happen to be an Athiest who has read the Bible from cover to cover more than once. Some may ask why I, a non-believer, would want to read the entire Bible. They should be asking why so many believers do not.


Open the Bible and explore it! 

Next week the topic will be on where to start reading.

Up Next: Where do I Start?
Previous Post: Watch the Bible


1. Have you read much in the Bible? If not, why not? OR if you read the Bible now, what was your excuse before you actually began.

2. Do you agree or disagree with my reasons for reading the Bible?

3. Are you willing to read something, even one verse, in the Bible each day this week? Try finding verses in the Psalms.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Scripture Interprets Scripture


The Big Idea: When the Bible is confusing, ask yourself how it links with the rest of God's Word which is one big storyline. God with us. 

On a bright summer day we were sitting on lawn chairs in the backyard under a big shady tree. She wanted to talk about many burning questions regarding how to understand the Bible.  "Why do some Bible verses seem to contradict each other," she mused. "How can you know the right way to read it? I love the Bible and I believe it is the Word of God. But sometimes it confuses me!"

We read the Bible for comfort, wisdom and guidance for how to live a Christian life. But a lot of casual readers, and even seasoned ones like my friend, run into passages scratching their head. I don't mean they are confused with every single verse. Admittedly there are indeed passages that are a little hard to understand. That is just being honest. Communication, especially between generations and cultures, always takes a bit of work. All of us know there are days when our spouse says something or our parents try to explain something and we look at them blankly, wondering what they mean.


An important principle is to have Scripture interpret Scripture. The Bible itself should be your primary source for understanding. God's Word, though written by many human authors from various backgrounds over about 1400 year's time has one main story to tell; that of God reaching out to know and be known by humans. There are a number of sub themes under that story but they are in sync with each other. In spite of so many authors and such a long period of time, it is remarkably cohesive from Genesis to Revelation. This is because the same Spirit of God moved each author in what message to write.

Inductive Bible study aims to get us digging in the Bible. The primary goal is to explore as much as we can primarily in the Scripture passage without going to other sources right away. If you do it properly you should probably read a passage many times in a study period. Each time look for something else. Underline. Diagram. Look for repetitive words and word relationships such as cause and effect, opposites, and so on. Look for location, movement and time periods. You will find yourself looking at a verse in a whole new way when you hunker down with a passage.

The more you get to know your Bible you will discover when reading that a verse or passage will trigger another passage saying something similar. Or you will want to dig more into the back story. For instance Jesus talks about Old Testament characters like Noah and Jonah. Who were they? Look up where the reference is that mentions them.


1. Start with Prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit that moved the authors of the Bible to write the Scriptures to guide you.

2. Check a cross reference. Many Bibles have notes in the center with correlating verses.

3. Check a concordance or electronically a word search for key words repeated. You may want to do a special study on a key word. Explore a person or place mentioned using these tools. See all the other places it is mentioned in the Bible.

 4. Read the verse or passage in a number of Bible translations. There are times, but not all that often, a word is used in the original language only once in the Bible with a meaning or background unclear. Understand God has not left the people of God missing a very important concept for thousands of years because of that word. Check on verses with similar themes and phrases. Interpret from the body of the whole. Interpret the obscure based on the known.

5. If you did not start your study looking at the context, do so now. Ask yourself who the author is, who he wrote to, how many chapters there are, the theme of the book, and what kind of genre the book is.

6. Look at the context and theme of the chapter before and after the passage you are concerned about.

7. Do not base a whole doctrine on one isolated verse or passage in the Bible without correspondence with the rest of it. Remember you want to know what God is saying to the people of God. This is about what God means and not about a new doctrine or mind-blowing idea you can come up with.

8.  Be cautious with allegories. Much of the Bible needs to be read at face value in sync with other Scripture. The whole Bible is not an allegory. It is a very practical book with stories of real people learning to trust God and inherit eternal life.

9. Do not interpret the Bible by your life experience. In a roomful of people, each one may have a different idea how to live out a passage, or a different way of expressing what it means, but you should never have multiple interpretations of a Bible passage. The Bible is not relative to experience. Rather our life experiences should be lived in light of the guidance of the Bible.

10. In light of Biblical themes that span the Old Testament and New Testament, always examine the Old Testament as foundational and the New Testament as the fulfilled understanding.

Keep hungry for the Bible. Let God's Word build into your life a heart to please Him.

Up Next: Biden's Bible

Previous Post: Instruction Manual Fiasco

Check out a more recent, concise post of mine on this topic. IBS 19 Scripture Interprets Scripture


1. Do I tend to feel lost when reading the Bible or frustrated with the meaning? Talk to God about your concerns. Expect Him to guide you. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

How I got this way

Passionate about Teaching the Bible

I'm an enthusiastic Bible teacher who loves to delve into the Bible and see it applied to life. How did this interest develop in me, a young girl from the Midwest? Here are touch points in my journey. (Lots of anachronisms)

· My youth (VBS, Bible Camps, Coffee House)

· Higher Education (University with IVCF, Internationals, Seminary, Manhattan)

· Nurse and Bible Educator in West Africa (Guinea, World Missions Consultant)

· Military Chaplain's Spouse (PWOC, OSC, travels)

· Last stop Learner and Educator in NE Ohio

My youth

I grew up in North Dakota/Minnesota. My parents loved Jesus. They wanted me and my siblings to grow to love Him too. But they did not try to force it on us. Rather they positioned us coming regularly to church, in Sunday School classes, going to Bible Camp in the summer, Youth Groups… any opportunity offered in church for children. I later learned they felt that kids need other people in their life in addition (not a substitute) to parents to answer their questions and model for them a good Christian life. It really worked well. Knowing I had done bad things even as a little child, I asked Jesus to be Savior at Vacation Bible School when I was six years old. I wanted tell people around the world about Jesus since I was nine.

In High School I got involved with a Friday Night Coffee House. We sang and ate together, but we also studied the Bible. That group, very influential in my young life, helped me develop an interest in devotional literature from historical notable Christians, such as Andrew Murray, C.S. Lewis, Amy Carmichael and the like.

Higher Education

I went to a branch of the University of Wisconsin where I was a nursing major. There I became involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. That organization introduced me to personal Bible Study, attending and leading small group Bible study and one on one mentoring. I was also involved in International Students Association and a couple other International clubs. I enjoyed my international friends so much. I had small Bible Study with a couple of Japanese students. The skills I learned there and my experiences with others prepared me for a lifetime.

I had felt a call to tell the world about Jesus even when I was in elementary school. I worked as a nurse in Manhattan, which was a great cross-cultural experience. I led Bible Studies for nurses in my apartment building through Nurses Christian Fellowship. Going to Alliance Theological Seminary near New York City was my next step to prepare for this venture. ATS gave me the Biblical studies foundation for Bible study. I had an introduction to Greek and learned to use tools for Bible study. God was at work equipping me to do what he created me to do.

Nurse and Bible Educator in West Africa

I went to West Africa as a nurse with the Christian and Missionary Alliance church. I would spend parts of the next ten years at a Bible Institute for the training of pastors and their wives. I learned French and a local language. I was assigned there as a school nurse, but I discovered I loved to teach and make the Word of God come alive. While there I taught in two areas to the freshman of future pastors... The Pentateuch, and the History of the Old Testament. This experience really honed my desire and skills to get at the timeless Biblical truths and apply it to current life. I worked with people in another culture so different from my own, explaining as an American woman the culture of the Biblical times. It was so critical to get at the most important truths God wanted to communicate and see it apply to my students' lives.

For about four years I worked as a District Missions Consultant in various Christian and Missionary Alliance districts. My role was to help churches embrace the call to the World to touch nations with the message of God's love. It was the message that all peoples would know our amazing God, who transcends culture, desires a personal connection with each human being.

Military Chaplain's Spouse

During that time I met my husband, a military chaplain, who had lost his wife. We had been at Alliance Theological Seminary at the same time, but did not know each other personally. We established a friendship of mutual interest, and the military moved him to a new location. After three years we became convinced God would have us serve Him together in the US military setting and got married.

As a military officer's wife, I became involved in Officer's Spouse's Club and in our chapel ministries, most notably Protestant Women of the Chapel. In both organizations on various occasions I led a Bible Study for those interested, often to people of quite diverse backgrounds.

Last stop

Now in retirement my husband and I find ourselves in a wonderful community in North East Ohio. We have postured ourselves as learners, teachers and mentors to those desiring to minister to others. We both teach classes and Bible studies in our church, and we both teach in adult education classes in the community on Biblical subjects.

We have both been trained by Precept Ministries as Precept upon Precept leaders and have in the past taught Precept Bible Studies. My husband, a world history and church history buff, has taught me to value how history impacts the way we live and think today. Wherever we have lived in our military assignments, we have traveled and taken in the local history of the area. While stationed in Germany we took days off for day trips to the most interesting of places, including places in Martin Luther's life, the Greek Islands, the Apostle Paul traversed so many times, and Rome where Peter and Paul were most likely killed for their faith. We recently went with a group from our church to Israel.

It all comes together now

All these experiences in my life have given me a love for studying God's Word, a desire to be true to the Biblical text, and a passion to communicate its truths well to those who want to learn. Our travels and experiences all over the world have given me a hunger to know more of the background of the Bible and its' culture. I have recently found great joy in finding Bible background Study Bibles and resources. I love hearing about how craftsman operated in Jesus' day, for that is what he was. I love learning cultural tidbits about the daily life in Jesus' day. I see so many parallels of the Middle Eastern ancient periods to my days in rural West Africa, seeing how men and women tilled the ground and fed and clothed their children.

Maybe now you understand why I get so excited about the Bible. Come along with me on this written ride. There is so much to take in! Thank you for joining me.


Up Next: Beginning with God
Previous Post:Bible Application



Has God given you a passion for something that is honoring to Him? What might it be? How might you do something this week that uses this gift for His glory

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Video: Be a Scripture Spy! Get into God's Word

Get into God's Word: Be a Scripture Spy!

Hebrews 4: 12 (NLT)
   For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Get into God's Word and it will really get into you! This verse reveals how powerful God's Word, the Bible, is for our everyday life. It is alive, piercing, and effects us deep into our private thoughts.

This video is a wonderful passage about the Word of God and a great introduction to being a Scripture Spy.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

An Introduction

Update on Aug 1, 2020. This entry tells how this blog page started and why. The concept has evolved since then and the name changed from Scripture Snapshot, as only the video blog, to Scripture Spy, most often a written blog. 

Welcome to my blog page! Due to the isolation for Covid 19, I decided to encourage the ladies in my Wednesday morning Bible study (Digging in the Bible) with encouragement during this time of isolation. I started a Facebook page of video blogs. Time to time you will find a written word.

Video Podcast: Scripture Snapshot

One verse in five minutes or less each posting, often on Wednesday. I've been leading a study on the book of Hebrews so that is my starting point.

Facebook: Scripture Snapshot

Diane holding camera

Blog: Digging in the Bible

The Bible sheds a lot of light to the issues of life and the inner workings of our soul. I have a teacher's heart that desires to give out meaty insights, clear information and tools for our everyday life.

Previous devotional blogs

Paths of Light Photography

I established a Facebook page Paths of Light Photography back in 2012, named after a favorite hymn I learned as a child, "Stepping in the Light." The refrain ends with, "Led in Paths of Light." In photography, it's all about the light! Isn't that true for our lives too, especially our spiritual walk with God.

Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” John 12:36 (NIV)

Facebook: Paths of Light Photography
An older photo travel blog

Scripture Spy

I love God's Word. Since I was a little girl I was taught to memorize verses, and I went to many Sunday School classes, youth seminars, and so on. In college, I got involved with Intervasity Christian Fellowshio and learned all about the induction method of Bible study. A couple years later in seminary as I learned all about Biblical background and theologial wrestling, it astounded me that inductive Bible study was not really a foundation there. But the tools I was gathering in Seminary were invaluable to me. I spent a ten year time span as a missionary in West Africa and taught some classes on the Bible at a pastoral training center. There I honed skills of applying the Bible culture to a culture completely different from my own. It was imperative that I could make God's Word relavant to that population.

Over the years, if you'd attend one of my classes or Bible studies, you would discover that I love digging deep into the Word of God, and place a high value of understanding Biblical culture in it's context. I am most delighted when I can shed new light on a verse that applies to the needs of our daily life. Because of this desire, I sought to find a good moniker for this webpage. Something that would be easy to remember, and describe the kind of Bible teacher that I am. "Paths of Light" had numerous other pages, often with a new age twist. "Digging in the Bible" is also used in several other places. "Scripture Detective." Hmmm. Also used by several others. So that is how the title "Scripture Spy" was born. This is who I am. I am an information junkie. I search, I dig, I put timelines together. I get the lay of Biblical lands in their time. I hope my findings will be of great insight and comfort for your own context!

I hope you will join me in the search through the scriptures!