I’ve sort of started a new Bible study system, and it involves 12 questions. I will read a passage (generally a chapter of the Bible – at the moment Matthew). There are three aspects to the questions. The first is general questions about the passage and applying it to myself and personal circumstances. This I feel is something Khmer people do really well, whereas I (and perhaps other Westerners) leave it a bit more general and abstract. I’ve been in Bible studies here where they relate stories to very specific scenarios (‘Oh, when I go to the market I can apply this…’) or are asked directly about what situations in their lives they can apply it to. I’m still practicing this one.
The second and third sets are more focused on particular aspects that are going on in my life. I’m a missionary, so the second set is about missions. I’m taking on a leadership role, so the final set is about that. If you wanted to adapt this you could swap in your own categories (study, work, family, relationships, etc.).
These have been quite interesting. First thing I have learnt is actually how important the Old Testament is to the revelation of God and his plan for salvation. Like I said, this is from reading the gospels. The amount of times Old Testament scripture is used, alluded to or simply quoted by Jesus is actually staggering. While reading Matthew, I think every time I use these questions I am writing “God is revealed / God’s plan for salvation is revealed through the fulfilment of Old Testament scripture.” The leadership lesson I’ve learnt is the Jesus told people about the consequences of not doing what he said. He doesn’t sugarcoat it and he’s happy to point out people’s errors. Jesus’ messages are often clear and doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. (This is something that I will need to work on.) But he is simultaneously gentle with the weak and downtrodden.
- What does this passage reveal about God?
- What does it reveal about God’s plan for creation and humanity?
- What does it show about mankind?
- How does this passage relate to me (and personal circumstances in my life)?
- Where might I need to repent or change?
- What help might I need?
- How did God reveal himself?
- How does the passage reveal God’s plan for salvation?
- How does it relate to the nations?
- How is God’s authority portrayed?
- Who is being led and by whom?
- How is this leadership being done?
Questions for you
- How do you read the Bible?
- What tools do you use?