Thursday, October 23, 2014

Digging Deep: Homiletic Method {Part III - Observations}

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Once you've chosen the Scripture you are going to study {perhaps a book of the Bible or a specific chapter}, your first step is to read that passage multiple times. Usually I read the passage once or twice all the way through on my own, then I read it again along with the footnotes in my ESV Study Bible. I often spread this process out over two mornings.

Once I've saturated my mind in the passage for a couple days, I begin the process of studying it verse by verse. This is where I start writing things down. I use a small spiral journal, my favorite pen, and get to work. 

The first step in the homiletic method {after reading} is to create your Content List. This is a list of the "passage facts" where you write out what each verse is saying in your own words. This is the observation part of your study. Remember, it's best to work in chunks of approximately ten verses of a time when going through this process. The goal is to rewrite each verse very concisely. Here is an example from John 16:5-15 on the Holy Spirit:

   5. Jesus is going back to God the Father.
   6. The disciples are sorrowful that Jesus is leaving them.
   7. It's actually good that Jesus is leaving, because he will send a Helper in his place.
   8. The Helper will convict the world of sin and righteousness.
   9. It's a sin not to believe in Christ.
   10. Righteousness has to do with the presence of Christ.
   11. The ruler of this world {Satan} has already been judged.
   12. Jesus has more to tell the disciples, but they are not ready to hear his words.
   13. In due time, the Spirit speak the words of Jesus to them and tell them truths about the future.
   14. The Spirit will glorify Christ and declare things on his behalf.
   15. All that belongs to the Father also belongs to the Son and the Spirit will make this known.

The next step is called Content Divided. At this stage, you will look at your list of passage facts and divide it into three main points. Write these points out in complete sentences.

   1. Jesus will send his helper, the Holy Spirit (v. 5-7).
   2. The Spirit will convict the world of right and wrong (v.8-11).
   3. The Spirit will speak truth on behalf of the Father and the Son (v.12-15).

The final step of the observation portion of the study is to write a Content Statement. This is where you summarize the full passage in a single sentence. The goal is to keep it to 15 words or less, but if you go over a little bit, that's okay.

   *The Spirit speaks truth to convict us of sin and righteousness for Christ's glory.

These are the three steps to the observation part of the homiletic method. If you have time, you can do them all in a single sitting, but I often spread each step out over three days. One reason I love this method is that it's clearly segmented, so it's easy to spread out over multiple days if I have limited time, but it's also feasible to go through ten verses in a single day if I am blessed with an extra long quiet time. Tomorrow we'll go over the final two steps which are the application part of this Bible study method.

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Digging Deep: Homiletic Method {Part II}

The first part of the homiletic method is to choose which portion of Scripture you are going to study. If this is your first time doing a deep study you might want to pick a shorter book of the New Testament such as one of Paul's letter's, I Peter, or I John and go through it chapter by chapter, verse by verse. For the past year, I've been going through what I call "power chapters" of the Bible - chapters I consider extra powerful in their explanations of the gospel or in their descriptions of Christ {ex: Romans 8, Ephesians 1, Isaiah 53, Ezekiel 36}.

It's recommended that you study each chapter in chunks of approximately ten verses. I try to stick to ten verses but sometimes it's easier to do shorter or longer sections, depending on the length of the chapter.

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I am going to start with an example from John 16, which is the passage I went through when I first learned this method. After we go through this ten verse section step by step, I'll then go through a chapter of the Bible I've gone through this year and show you how I've customized the method a bit.

Since I don't want this post to get too long, tomorrow I will be back with a verse by verse study of John 16:5-15. Get your Bibles ready!

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Digging Deep: Homiletic Method {Part I}

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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.
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