How Do You Study or Teach The Bible?

I have become quite disenchanted with skip-around teaching. That's when a person is not anchored in a passage, and just cherry picks the 'fun' sounding passages and strings them together. Their meaning can be outrageously off. A Bible teacher should realize that there is already an abundance of narrative to teach through; those are reality saved for us for all ages, to teach the faith. But there are also doctrinal passages and letters where some real-life situations are needed to help. So it is not as though a teacher 'needs' to skip-around to make things interesting.

If a teacher honestly does not 'get' a passage (let's say the 'which is easier' miracle of Mk 2 and Mt 8), then he should not hop around like a sparrow to grab one phrase here and another there until time is up. He should get out the books and find out what the thing truly means and declare that to the students. If we don't do that we are seriously weakening the Bible, turning it into a collection of unrelated magical sayings until we connect them. That's not what it is.
 

bobinfaith

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I have become quite disenchanted with skip-around teaching. That's when a person is not anchored in a passage, and just cherry picks the 'fun' sounding passages and strings them together. Their meaning can be outrageously off. A Bible teacher should realize that there is already an abundance of narrative to teach through; those are reality saved for us for all ages, to teach the faith. But there are also doctrinal passages and letters where some real-life situations are needed to help. So it is not as though a teacher 'needs' to skip-around to make things interesting.

If a teacher honestly does not 'get' a passage (let's say the 'which is easier' miracle of Mk 2 and Mt 8), then he should not hop around like a sparrow to grab one phrase here and another there until time is up. He should get out the books and find out what the thing truly means and declare that to the students. If we don't do that we are seriously weakening the Bible, turning it into a collection of unrelated magical sayings until we connect them. That's not what it is.

Hello Decoder;

You make a good point.
We have to remember that many who are young teachers of the Word will use skip-around teaching. There has to be a starting ground and there will be "surface teaching" at first, lacking the hermeneutics, exegesis which takes development. I've actually attended Bible studies with young teachers and there would be moments of awkward pause. In time it's actually a joy when God takes them to a new level of teaching that benefits the disciple.

Back to your good point. If a young teacher is still at the level of "surface teaching" and isn't developing, then we need to be concerned with their study research and prepare time of the lesson that they're teaching. In this case they need additional training from seasoned Bible teachers or mentor pastors.

Of course if they have the heart to teach is commendable, but the heart needs to balance the perseverance of personally getting built up (trained in teaching) the Word.

God bless you, Decoder, and your whole family.
 
I really don't like skip-around teaching as well. It's more that the teacher is showing off how much THEY know but it's hard for learners to follow their whims when they go back and forth all over the Bible.
 

shineyourlight8

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Hermeneutics, which means the basic study of the Word. (I took the class my freshman year in college, so that might not be the best definition, but it does mean the study of the Word). We look at the surrounding text, the history of the text, keywords like "but", "and", we look at connection ideas, etc. etc.
 
Hermeneutics, which means the basic study of the Word. (I took the class my freshman year in college, so that might not be the best definition, but it does mean the study of the Word). We look at the surrounding text, the history of the text, keywords like "but", "and", we look at connection ideas, etc. etc.


That's right. The established Christian position is 'the historical-grammatical' method. That means you realize this is first of all a historical document written to a certain group about certain issues or needs. You try to find all of that as much as you can before you 'it means this now, today.'

The grammatical method means that it is normal grammar and syntax and can be diagrammed. It means that you always find the antecedent before you say what something means. So the lines are not just individual bumper stickers. You can't string 3 of them together from anywhere you feel like just because one word is in all three. You are dealing with a thing that has momentum because it meant certain things in the past, and this must be carried forward.

It helps to have examples. 'I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.' This is sometimes used to help a person in a difficult situation, and no one wishes a person to have a rough patch. However, it is in a setting in which some believers have a strict understanding about food that was part of a pagan festival. The strictness is so important that the group of believers, all for whom Christ died, is coming apart. Paul meant that he could eat such food, but also would not eat such food so that the group would cohere around Christ. He could eat it because idols mean nothing. But he knows that some believers attribute them 'power' and he does not want to annoy them. That's the historical method.

Let us take this on a 2nd level, the part about 'which strengthens me.' The grammatical method says you have to work out exactly what 'which' connects back to. In this case, you have 'doing all things,' and 'Christ.' A grammar search should show you whether the connector is 'which' or 'who.' It turns out it is personal: 'who'--so it is not about the things (the either-or practice of eating festival food). It is Christ who gives strength. 1, Christ would give strength to a believer who ate festival food because the pagan deity is a stick. In Rom 14, Paul called this person 'strong' because he knows Christ alone is god. 2, Christ would give strength to a believer not to eat that food because it is not worth upsetting believers who think there is a pagan connection, and violating their conscience.

Obviously, it is not a jingo that says that every episode in life is rosy, nor that there is a crass or superstitious 'power' to Christ's name that helps in trouble, like a 'patron saint' image. Nor that you should be financially careless and miraculously expect money to just come along.
 
I read somewhere that Paul would write the letters of the NT often using chiasm for clarity and emphasis.
He would write a statement or piece of advice and give an example and then repeat it again. And then do the same and then repeat the original statement to conclude so that people really got it.

When you just study individual verses, you lose all that.
 
I read somewhere that Paul would write the letters of the NT often using chiasm for clarity and emphasis.
He would write a statement or piece of advice and give an example and then repeat it again. And then do the same and then repeat the original statement to conclude so that people really got it.

When you just study individual verses, you lose all that.

Can you give an example? I think he tends to drift into other topics very easily.
 
Here's a short one as just an example but there are much longer ones in Pauls' letters...they are like a sandwich

Chiasms are usually arranged in the same top-to-bottom form as they appear in the text:

A No one can serve two masters;
B for either he will hate the one
C and love the other,
C′or he will be devoted to one
B′and despise the other.
A′You cannot serve God and wealth.
(Matt 6:24)
 
Here's a short one as just an example but there are much longer ones in Pauls' letters...they are like a sandwich

Chiasms are usually arranged in the same top-to-bottom form as they appear in the text:

A No one can serve two masters;
B for either he will hate the one
C and love the other,
C′or he will be devoted to one
B′and despise the other.
A′You cannot serve God and wealth.
(Matt 6:24)


Yes, there are several literary devices, some from Hebrew poetry, some from Greek.
 

bobinfaith

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I really don't like skip-around teaching as well. It's more that the teacher is showing off how much THEY know but it's hard for learners to follow their whims when they go back and forth all over the Bible.

I have to agree, Lanolin, and this is why when a teacher is still at the level of "surface teaching" or "skip-around" teaching and isn't developing. Then we need to be concerned with their study research and preparation time of the lesson that they're teaching. In this case they need additional training from seasoned Bible teachers or mentor pastors if they desire to remain in this role.

Ministry does not mean "cruising with a lackadaisical attitude." This is an area that has long been neglected and should be addressed to the teacher or learner.

God bless you, Lanolin.
 

bobinfaith

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Hermeneutics, which means the basic study of the Word. (I took the class my freshman year in college, so that might not be the best definition, but it does mean the study of the Word). We look at the surrounding text, the history of the text, keywords like "but", "and", we look at connection ideas, etc. etc.

Excellent, shineyourlight8;

The majority of our church family didn't take a college Bible or seminary class so the Bible teacher introduced a very basic teaching of Hermeneutics to the group and it didn't happen overnight.

But in time
it is a joy when one disciple, then another and another would begin to grasp the deeper study of the context and grammatical meaning of Scripture.

I like how you mentioned
"connection ideas."

God bless you, sister, and your family.

 
I don't think I've gone back to this basic question enough. In any basic Bible study, you would want to have a schematic outline of the whole thing to get started. That means the broadest statements of what is there, why they are there, etc.

Another skill that has been mentioned is to pay attention to style. There's narrative, lists, poetry, letters.

When you get to the New Testament you want to be aware of what you might call self-organization. There are now documents which are going to quote and even summarize those which are 1500 years earlier. You will even find summaries of history, for ex., Acts 13's sermon.

It's important, in light of the 40 days from the Resurrection to Pentecost, to realize that there needs to be saturation. Even if the disciples spent half their daytime in Jesus' study, that's some 300 hours in some basic OT passages which we know are the ones they quoted in their teaching (see my Bible study Acts 1-4). This was after they had spent 3 years with Jesus! It is best if this is worked out with someone who is saturated, and knows most of these things mentioned here in a balanced way.

I strongly advise avoiding certain tangential subjects for a while. There are topics like special works of the Spirit or even the 2nd coming which are not nearly as important as they seem at first, but they attract way too much attention--or waste it!

The thing about the Bible is that it is redemptive--it wants people to have the chance to believe. It is not nearly concerned about other topics as we are! It wants them to know that it is historical, that the Gospel event of Christ was part of this same historic flow, that His gift of justification is astounding, and that there are other benefits to faith in this life. But it is not a complete guide to many other subjects.
 

bobinfaith

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I don't think I've gone back to this basic question enough. In any basic Bible study, you would want to have a schematic outline of the whole thing to get started. That means the broadest statements of what is there, why they are there, etc. Another skill that has been mentioned is to pay attention to style. There's narrative, lists, poetry, letters. When you get to the New Testament you want to be aware of what you might call self-organization. There are now documents which are going to quote and even summarize those which are 1500 years earlier. You will even find summaries of history, for ex., Acts 13's sermon. It's important, in light of the 40 days from the Resurrection to Pentecost, to realize that there needs to be saturation. Even if the disciples spent half their daytime in Jesus' study, that's some 300 hours in some basic OT passages which we know are the ones they quoted in their teaching (see my Bible study Acts 1-4). This was after they had spent 3 years with Jesus! It is best if this is worked out with someone who is saturated, and knows most of these things mentioned here in a balanced way. I strongly advise avoiding certain tangential subjects for a while. There are topics like special works of the Spirit or even the 2nd coming which are not nearly as important as they seem at first, but they attract way too much attention--or waste it! The thing about the Bible is that it is redemptive--it wants people to have the chance to believe. It is not nearly concerned about other topics as we are! It wants them to know that it is historical, that the Gospel event of Christ was part of this same historic flow, that His gift of justification is astounding, and that there are other benefits to faith in this life. But it is not a complete guide to many other subjects.

Hello Decoder;

For those of us who did receive the training can understand your application of the "schematic outline" for teaching to get started. Many students in theological or ministry training need this grounding to get started if they are called to teach, preach and serve.

However, f
or the layperson, student, or minister who is just getting started, has a desire to serve God and has a zeal to learn practical, Bible-based ministry training, how would you develop that common ground between learner and disciple in getting your message through?

One thing I learned when approaching Christians who have a zeal to learn and serve, is to articulate slowly the necessary tools as a first step to getting started.


God bless you, brother.
 
Hello Decoder;

For those of us who did receive the training can understand your application of the "schematic outline" for teaching to get started. Many students in theological or ministry training need this grounding to get started if they are called to teach, preach and serve.

However, f
or the layperson, student, or minister who is just getting started, has a desire to serve God and has a zeal to learn practical, Bible-based ministry training, how would you develop that common ground between learner and disciple in getting your message through?

One thing I learned when approaching Christians who have a zeal to learn and serve, is to articulate slowly the necessary tools as a first step to getting started.


God bless you, brother.
Oh I was only giving a 'schematic' outline of what to do! I was hoping some of the readers would ask a question, and go from there.

As far as an outline of the Bible, this might work:
From Adam to Noah. The history of mankind is told from the day of creation to the arrival of sin and evil, which saturates the whole race. Genesis 1--5
From Noah to Abraham. The evil of humanity must be stopped and that takes both a world-wide deluge and a confusion of languages. Genesis 6-11
From Abraham to David. While the evil of humanity was stopped and confused, there was some mopping up to do. The initially-promised Seed was also to come through Israel, Abraham's children. This descendancy grew to its peak, but was also flawed. As announced in its covenant with God, this meant exile.
From David to Exile. The nation came apart in more ways than one. It was removed to captivity with only the thin thread of prophetic visions to keep the promised Seed hope intact.
From the Exile to Christ. The return to Judea was a mix of results. There were harsh occupations and independence champions, but the Daniel 2 sequence came about and Rome was dominating by the time Christ appeared. A kingdom in men's hearts would accomplish things that Rome could never do. The 'authority' given to the disciples was a message about Christ's accomplishments which spread to the whole world, with much expected opposition. A return of Christ was no longer seen as a first-generation reality once the destruction of Jerusalem took place. It would come later.
 
Sounds good
I read that for children they need to know the background story or at least a teaser of what happens in the Bible before you launch straight in. It's a huge book and daunting for anybody to read...over 1000 pages? It's even more than 1001 Arabian Nights.

To many of us, the Middle east is an exotic, far away land. You'll encounter camels, shekels, wells, shepherds, ancient temples, murderous Kings, talking snakes and donkeys, powerful angels, rocks that gush water, plagues, shipwrecks, miraculous events, epic wanderings, dysfunctional families, demons, cherubims, and more. A lot to take in.
 
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