Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Digging Deep: Homiletic Method

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The method I've been using to study the Bible this year is a homiletic method. I like it because it allows me to emphasize both the content of Scripture and its applications for my life as I study. Basically, this method remains very focused on the text itself {which is best, because that's where the truth is}, but it's not quite as detailed as an inductive Bible study where you are circling, underlining, and defining almost every word. At the end of the homiletic method, you make a summary of the main point of the passage and apply its principles to your own life, but you only do this after you have studied the text line by line, so you aren't likely to take Scripture out of context to suit your own desires.

The method is based on the word "homily" which basically means "sermon." The process is similar to what pastors do if you go to a church that preaches through the Bible book by book. The pastor will study the text closely, usually focusing on ten or so verses at a time, and then come up with a few key points and some application questions to help the congregation prod their hearts and change their lives to keep in line with what Scripture says.

Basically, the homiletic method is not quite as detailed or time-consuming as an Inductive Bible Study, which can be helpful if you are just easing into deep study for the first time {or if you have a baby in the house and have limited amounts of time to study the Word}, but it's far more text-based than doing a topical study or a devotion, which means you are allowing God's powerful Word to work in you and teach you, and you are less likely to interpret the Bible incorrectly since you are studying it verse by verse. The homiletic method has been perfect for me in this season of life, and I hope it helps many of you dig deep into the Word as well.

Read the rest of the Digging Deep series here...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Snippets


I love these flats and these ones too, but I've never worn the d'Orsay style before. If you have - do they stay on your feet? I'm curious... :)

On baby bumps...


New-to-me shop with apartment-sized sofas. Perfect for smaller living rooms...

Loving this shop full of beautiful removable wallpaper as well...

A helpful article about how Christians should respond to the Ebola outbreak...

Thinking some power sheets might help me get through this next year of dissertation writing...

Digging Deep: Goose Bumps

II Corinthians 5:17
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Sometimes the Word of God gives me chills. Like straight up messes with my biological system and gives me goose bumps. The story of a Savior who loves us so much that He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins... it's so profoundly beautiful. Some days I just read Scripture, more out of duty than delight, and I go on with my day. But other times, I stop dead in my tracks while my nervous system reacts to the Word of God whether through smiles, shivers, or tears. Jesus. He loves me.

Today, for example, I was reading II Corinthians 5. If I had been paying attention, I would have known. If I had stopped and looked at the big number five at the top of the chapter, I would have known that the goose bumps were coming. II Corinthians 5 is one of those power chapters of the Bible where the Gospel of Christ is painted so clearly with such heart-humbling and mind-transforming words that it's almost as if you can feel the brush of the Holy Spirit all around you as you read it. Other chapters of the Bible are like this... Psalm 16, John 15-17, Romans 8, Ephesians 1, Philippians {pretty much all of it}, and Revelation 21. That's just my opinion of course. But I highly recommend those chapters for some biologically impacting, Gospel-infused reading.

Anyway, I was reading II Corinthians 5 and I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was about to read a power chapter, because it was simply the next passage in my Bible reading plan and it was Friday morning and that was that. But then the words began. Words that rock you to your core. The goose bumps appeared and the joyful, awe-filled shiver made its way down my spine.

"The love of Christ controls us..." {v.14}. What? I don't have to be controlled by my selfish sense of entitlement? My desire for control? My futile seeking of perfection? My anxiety over circumstances? My volatile feelings? I am not controlled by those things, you say? I am controlled by the love of Christ. The love of one who would die on a cross. The one who conquered death. That wrecks me.

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come..." {v.17}. I am a new creation. I have died to my sin. That pride and fear that used to keep me in bondage? That is gone. That old me is gone forever because Christ defeated it forever. I am a new creation. I am free to love fully and serve gladly. I have joy forevermore in Christ. I have no shame. I have righteousness in Jesus.

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself..." {v.18}. God wanted me. He pursued me with no conditions. He loved me before I ever loved Him. He chose me to be His child. When I was dead, He made me alive and when I was His enemy, He made me His friend. Because I have been reconciled to God through Christ, I can approach the Father any time and know that He greets me as His beloved.

This. This is the stuff of goose bumps and shivers of joy. These are the truths that overwhelm my soul with gladness. God's Word. I love it. And I pray it messes with your nervous system today too.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Digging Deep: Resources for You

Over the next week or two I'm going to show you a method I've been using to study the Bible deeply this past year. My method is a combination of a few different methods, including some of the ones listed below. I customized a study plan that works great for me, and I'm excited to share it with you in detail.

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Until then, here are a few other resources for studying the Bible deeply...

Precepts Inductive Bible Studies - These are the gold standard of Inductive Bible Studies. I was trained using this method in college, and I've never looked at the Bible the same way since. These studies will ask you to analyze the Bible more deeply than you ever have before by circling verbs, looking at tense and pronouns, and making all sorts of observations that seem minute but have great meaning. For example, it tells us repeatedly in the Bible that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father {Luke 22:69}, but do you know when  a believer dies He actually stands for them as their advocate to welcome them into heaven {Acts 7:56}?

Look at the Book - This is a new video series by John Piper where he takes you through an in-depth Bible study. Instead of watching him preach, you actually watch his hand mark up the text of a Bible passage and you hear him explain his observations of the text. He is currently going through Romans 8 and it is awesome.

Bible Study Fellowship International  - I've never done BSF, but I've heard it's a great resource if you want to study the Bible deeply in community. BSF Bible studies exist all over the world, and there are probably a few to choose from in your community. Most of the classes are 30 weeks long and will go through one book of the Bible.

Gospel in Life - Tim Keller has a number of studies available. You do have to pay for them, but they are very affordable. Most of them work well for groups but can also be done individually. Some of them are topical but most of them go through a book of the Bible. I've done "Living in a Pluralistic Society: Judges, Daniel, and Joseph" and it was great.

Read the rest of the Digging Deep series here...



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Digging Deep: And Digging Deeper

There are so many layers of rich truth in God's Word, reading it broadly is not enough. We must be willing to study Scripture deeply.

Backhoe Loader
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Anytime we are passionate about something, we are willing to learn deeply about that subject. For me, one of my passions has always been writing. Not only have I pursued quite a bit of formal education in this area, but I read informally in my spare time to learn more about writing, blogging, and publishing. For others their passion might be painting or photography or sewing. If this describes you, you've probably invested countless hours into learning your craft deeply... experimenting with your camera settings, reading tutorials, or watching instructional videos. If you are into computer programming, you have probably taken the time to learn computer languages such as Java or C++. Even small children show us that passion leads to deep learning. Just think of the preschooler you know who can recite 50 species of dinosaurs by name or can identify more heavy equipment vehicles than the average construction manager.

Passion leads to learning. So if we are truly passionate about the Lord, we should desire to know Him more. We should desire to learn about His character, to understand His promises, and to comprehend His commands. We should want His stories imprinted on our minds and His words to roll off our tongues. The only way to know God this well is by studying His Word deeply.

Read the rest of the Digging Deep series here...
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