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Understanding the Bible

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways

 

 

Part 1: The Foundations of Evangelism

 


Learning how to study the Bible in the right way is a very important skill.  Many people have been deceived into thinking they cannot read and understand the Bible for themselves.  For this reason, they become overly dependent on preachers, and can be lead astray easily.  Others believe they are studying the Bible as they should, but they end up misinterpreting scriptures because they are not using good methods.  This course is designed to help believers to develop the skill of studying the Bible in a right and helpful way.

 

1. Different ways to read the Bible

A. Reading through

In this method, you read through a book from beginning to end, without stopping to do much in depth study.  It is good for us to read the entire Bible through in this way, even if it takes 2-3 years to do so.  Many people make it a goal to read the Bible through in one year.

 

B. Topical

In this method, you use a concordance or other tool to help you find many different scriptures on a certain topic.  Sometimes in these courses you will be given lists of scriptures on various topics, which you can also use.  You then read each of those to get an overview of what the Bible teaches on that topic.  In using this method, you will want to use the principles for Bible Study in this course, so that you are sure to get the right meaning for those verses, and understand them correctly.

 

C. In-depth study

This is when you read a passage and study it in depth in order to more fully understand it.  It is very important for all believers, and especially ministers, to develop this skill.  You should always do this with the passages you are going to preach on.  We will focus attention in this course on learning how to do this well.

 

2. Study and Revelation

A. Revelation

Revelation is simply when the Holy Spirit helps you to see or understand something that you did not see before.  It means to reveal or show what is there.  The Holy Spirit can give revelation in different ways.  One of the main ways He does this is through Bible study.

 

B. Why study?

You are going to see in this course that real study takes effort.  It requires spending both time and energy.  Some people would rather not make such an effort.  They believe they can get the real meaning of the Bible without studying, simply by "revelation."  However, this is not good.  God generally does not do things for us so that we do not have to work.  In fact, He seems to like it when we have to struggle some in our spiritual walk.  It helps us to grow.  Revelation does not replace study.  True revelation more often comes through study.  This is why Paul tells Timothy to "Study to show thyself approved…"  (2 Tim 2:15).

 

3. Abiding in God's Word

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.   – John 8:31-32

 

A. Read God's Word daily

Treat is as your daily spiritual food.  God's Word causes us to grow and mature – it transforms us – Jn 17:17.

 

B. Meditate on His Word daily (Ps 1:2; Deut 6:4-9; Ps 119:97)

This is focused thinking on a passage of scripture.  Choose a passage to meditate on throughout the day as you go about your business.

 

C. Memorize scriptures – Col 3:16

This helps us to resist temptation (Lk 4:1-13), make wise decisions, reduce stress, give good advice, build confidence, and share your faith with others.

 

D. Study God's Word

Take the time to truly understand and apply a passage of scripture.  We are going to talk more about how to do this in this course.  Write down the things you learn, and how they apply to your own life.  Keep a record of the things God is speaking to you.

 

 

E. Make God's Word the authority in your life

Do not make decisions based on what others do (culture), or how you feel (emotions), or how things have always been done (tradition), or what you think is best (reason) – only God's Word will guide you right every time.  Choose to trust the Bible.

 

 

Three Steps to Bible Study

 

There are different ways to study the Bible in a good way.  This course is going to concentrate on a method of three steps, which can help you to study any passage in the Bible.

 

1. Read the Passage -- Observe

This step cannot be passed over quickly, and there are several things that should be included.  The goal of this step is to very carefully observe everything the passage says.  Do not assume you know it well just because you are familiar with it.

 

A. Read the passage over several times slowly.

Try to think about what every phrase and sentence means.  Do not run through any part quickly.

 

B. Context

Context means the things that surround a passage.  Never study a verse without knowing the context, because doing so can cause you to get the wrong meaning.  When the Bible was written, the writers did not write it in verses as we have it today.  Those were added later as a way of helping to organize the text.  Context can include different things:

 

1. The sections before and after the passage you are studying

 

Assignment:

Look at the following as examples – what is the context?

- 1 Tim 5:22 – what does laying on of hands mean in this passage?

Phil 4:13 – what are the 'all things' that Paul can do?

 

2. The entire chapter and book

 

Assignment:

Look at the following as examples – what is the context?

-        Job 22:28 – Who is speaking, and what does God say about this person (Job 42:7)?

. . Anything you decide will be done,

. . . and light will shine on your ways.

 

-       Ecc 9:1-6 – Is this true about eternity?  How do you know?

 

3. Sometimes it helps to know the situation (why the book was written), cultural things, and other information. 

 

Small Groups:

Divide into small groups.  Read each passage silently.  After reading one passage, have one person tell the others what it says in your own words.  Do not quote it exactly as the Bible says it.  Do the same for all the other passages also, with different people taking turns telling the others.

 

Do not talk about what the point is or what you learned or what you think about it.  Simply state what you read, and no more.  The purpose of this exercise is to help the you to be sure to do this step before moving on to the next ones.

 

As an example, first consider together as a class 1 Sam 24:1-7.

 

a. Numbers 20:1-13

b. 1 Samuel 21:10-15

c. Nehemiah 1:1-11

d. Ezekiel 17:1-18

e. Hosea 6:1-10

f. Matthew 5:38-48

g. Colossians 1:9-14

h. 1 John 3:11-24

 

Now look back to the above passages, and comment on the context in each one, and how this effects your understanding.

 

 

 

2. Find the Main Point – Interpret

A. Answer the question, "what is the main point of this passage?"

Try to determine the broad, general point behind the passage.  What was the Holy Spirit inspiring the writer to write?  Why did he say it in that way?  What did he not say that you might expect that he would have?

 

B. Sometimes you can discover several points within one passage.  However often there is one main, general point being communicated.  It can be good to see different lessons, but do not miss the big purpose in the text.

 

C. This meaning is general or universal.  In other words, it is the same for anyone who reads the passage.  Do not make it personal to your life yet.  This step must come first.

 

D. Sometimes the main point must be found through reading an entire story of several chapters (such as the story of Joseph in Gen 37-50).  Sometimes you must first read the entire book, like with Ecclesiastes and Job.

 

E. This step must come after good observation (Step 1).

If you begin trying to get the meaning the first time you read through the passage quickly, you will miss important details that may be the key to right understanding.

 

F. As an example, determine the main point of 1 Sam 24:1-7.

The main point in this passage is that God's promises must not be grasped in ungodly ways.  Saul stood in the way of David receiving God's promise, and David had the opportunity to get rid of Saul and grab the promise of being king.  However, David refused to do this, and decided rather to wait on the Lord and allow Him to fulfill His Word.

 

After finding the main point, you may list several other sub-points that can be found.  Remember to not allow these sub-points to distract you from the main point. 

 

 

Assignment:

Determine the main point in the above list of scriptures that you read earlier.  Write these down on your own paper.  Remember, the main point is based on the observation.  Keep this, as we will be using it again later.  After finding the main point, you may again look for minor points.

 

 

3. Make the meaning personal to you – Apply

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.   -- James 1:22-24

 

A. All your study is worthless unless you apply it to your own life – Matt 7:24-27; Jn 13:17

 

B. Ask the question, "What is the Lord speaking to me today?"

1. to me – do not apply the lesson to another person's life before first looking at your own.

 

2. today – do not be satisfied with what the Lord used the passage to speak to you two years ago.  What is He saying now?

 

3. Apply the passage personally before looking ahead to ministering to others

Many times as ministers we read the Bible looking for messages to preach to others.  However, it is very important to first allow the Lord to speak to you about your own life.  Do not try to feed others while you yourself are starving.  Once you have applied the scripture to yourself, you will be able to minister it to others more powerfully.

 

C. Interpreting the meaning of the text was general, but this is specific.  Examine both the text and your own life, and put the two together.

 

D. Be sure to do this only after you have spent time on the first two steps.

Application must be based on meaning, and meaning must be based on understanding.  If you fail to understand the main points of the passage, you will not be able to apply it to your life properly.

 

E. External and Internal application

The application of God's Word is definitely external because it will cause you to change your behavior. It will guide you in right decisions and in the actions of your life. But, too often, the application of God's Word is seen only in the external. The external activity of God's Word cannot fully take place until it has been applied internally in our hearts.  See Matt 5:21-30; 23:25-28.

 

F. Consider the following possibilities (there may be more – this is just a sample):

1. What is the Lord telling you to do?

2. What sin is the Spirit revealing in your life?

3. What inward attitude is being challenged?

4. How does this passage change the way I believe?

5. Am I being called upon to think differently in some way?

6. Is the Lord encouraging you in some way?

7. Is there a promise God is giving you?

8. Are you being warned about something?

9. Are you being challenged with a way to love God or people better?

 

G. As an example, the teacher can share how 1 Sam 24:1-7 applies to him at this time, and may allow students to also share.

 

Assignment:

Look at the list of scriptures we have been using.  Go back again and see the main point that you wrote down for each one.  Now find at least one way each scripture applies to you today. Remember be sure the application is based on the main point!

 

 

 

More Bible Study Guidelines

 

1. Some Limits to Application

There are some portions of scripture which are limited in the way you apply them.  Even when you have correctly found the meaning and main points, you cannot apply them in the same way the original people reading it could.

 

A. Sometimes context limits application

For example, there are many promises that have conditions.  You cannot apply the promise without meeting the condition – Prov 3:5-6; Jn 15:7; Lk 6:38; Rom 8:28; 1 Jn 3:22

 

B. Sometimes the passage applies directly to a particular person at a particular time, like the following:

1. Being sent to preach the Gospel

A teacher once quoted Matt 10:9-10 and taught that all missionaries and evangelists should go out without any money or resources for their travel. However, if he had read Luke 22:35-36, he would have discovered that another passage limited the application of the Matthew passage.

 

2. "A little wine"

In 1 Tim 5:23, Paul instructs Timothy to take a little wine rather than water for his sick stomach.

 

C. Culture can limit the application

1. One of the difficulties in applying the Word of God today is that we live in a different culture and time than that of the Bible.  There are some things in the Bible that were intended for people of a particular culture.  Culture includes the way a people live and view life; their traditions, language and customs.  It includes the way they relate to one another, how they express themselves, etc.

 

2. When a passage of scripture seems to be directed at a certain culture, then we can try to find a principle behind the instruction.  For example, several times Paul tells people to greet each other 'with a holy kiss' (Rom 16:16, 1 Cor 16:20,…).  This was a culturally accepted way of greeting people at that time.  We can simply see this as a way of saying to show love and be friendly towards one another.

 

3. In Gal 2:11-16, we see that Peter had been willing to adapt to a different cultural situation in Antioch before some of his own people came there.  Once they arrived, he was no longer flexible as before, and as a result Paul rebuked him in front of all.

 

Assignment:

Consider the following passages that may concern other cultures.  What do you see as a principle that can be learned from these texts?  Write your answers on your own paper.

a. 1 Cor 11:3-16

b. 1 Cor 14:34-35

c. Rom 14:1-23 (see also 1 Cor 8:1-13)

 

4. How can you tell if a passage is for you directly, or if it is based on culture?

a. Is the command repeated in other parts of the Bible in the context of a different culture?  If so, it is probably a universal command (one that applies to all).

 

b. Is there a situation today that is similar?  If so, you probably should apply it directly.  For example, in 1 Cor 6:1-11, Paul tells the believers not to take other believers to court.  Similar situations could arise today, and the instruction of Paul would directly apply to us.

 

c. Does another portion of the Bible give instruction that contradicts the passage?  If so, it is probably not to be universally applied.  For example, in Judges 13, God instructed Samson not to cut his hair. Should you, after studying Judges 13, apply this command literally? In 1 Cor 11, God instructed men to cut their hair. Did God change His mind? No, rather different circumstances and cultures received different commands.

 

d. Rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

 

2. The Bible records what actually did happen, not what should have happened..

Sometimes there is the temptation to put the heroes of the faith very high and believe they could do no wrong. The Old Testament stories show plainly that not everything that happened should have happened.  You must decide whether those actions were right (should Joseph have told his brothers about his dream?) and whether that direction should take place every time.

 

3. Some things to be cautious of

A. Looking for "hidden meanings."

Do not think that every detail in a story must stand for something else on a 'spiritual' level.  For example, the real meaning of the story of David and Goliath is not based on a spiritual interpretation of the five stones.  Nor is the story of Elijah at the brook dependent on finding a deeper meaning behind the raven, the bread, water, etc.

 

B. Universalizing:  Just because the Bible records that something happened, it does not mean that we are expected to do things exactly the same way.

One woman, after studying the book of Ruth, determined that God would give her the right man, but she had the responsibility of asking that man to marry her, just as Ruth had done with Boaz. Obviously, the story of Ruth is not meant to teach women how to get a husband.

 

Assignment:

What principle can you find in the following scripture:  Matt 19:16-23?   Does Jesus command everyone to sell all they have?

 

C. Glossing:  Glossing occurs when someone, having read a story many times, begins to read it again without really catching its meaning or importance.

 

4. Problem passages  (1 Cor 11:10, 1 Cor 15:29)

A. Readers knew what was being referred to; we do not

 

B. Be content with what we can know -- anything more is just guessing

 

C. What is the point of the passage?  Do not get caught up in details that you do not understand.  The point can be clear, even if all the details are not.

 

Different Types of Writing in the Bible

 

The Bible is made up of 66 different books.  Among these many books, there are different kinds of writing.  We cannot study all of them in the same way.  There are some things we should know about each type of writing, which will help to interpret them correctly.

 

1. History

A history simply tells what happened.  These are actual events that occurred at some point in the past.  In each of them, look to see what you learn about God – His character, how He relates to us, etc.  Examples of histories are the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and others in the Old Testament, and the book of Acts in the New.

 

2. Law

This is the list of laws of the Old Testament people of Israel.  They describe how God's people were to live in order to show their loyalty and love to Him.

 

A. Different kinds of laws

1. Moral laws

These laws (like the Ten Commandments) give commands for the morality of the Israelite people. They are broad and deal with moral decisions and actions.

 

2. Civil laws

These laws regulated the daily life of Israel. God had to organize a band of 2-3 million slaves into a well-functioning nation. The civil laws were designed to bring order and justice to their everyday life.  Every nation has their own civil laws, which tell how people have to live as citizens of that country.

 

3. Ceremonial laws

A major part of the law was God's instruction on worship and sacrifice. These were the ceremonial laws. God not only instructed them to worship, but He went into great detail on how they should worship and sacrifice.

 

B. Principles for interpreting the law

1. View the law as God's fully inspired Word for you, not as a direct command to you.

 

2. Discover the principle behind the law

 

3. Law points to Jesus

 

4. Law shows God's high standards.  We cannot meet them, so we come to Jesus (Rom 3:20)

 

5. View the law as a generous gift to Israel, bringing much blessing when obeyed. Do not view it as a group of random, unnecessary laws limiting people's freedom.

 

6. See God's justice, love, and high standards revealed in His law. Do not forget to see that God's mercy is equal to the severity of the standards.

 

7. If a principle is repeated in the New Testament, then consider it a command for you.

 

3. Poetry

The poetry of the Old Testament is unique in that much of it was written as musical poems and hymns to God. The book of Psalms is an illustration of this. The poetry of the Hebrew language is written in a form which communicates to the emotional side of humankind. The goal of Hebrew poetry was to express the condition of the believer's heart to God.

 

A. Psalms provide expression to God

You live out your faith through real life experiences. These experiences result in experiences of joy, sorrow, peace, fear, anxiety, and other emotions. The Psalms reflect these same emotions and provide the words when you cannot find them yourself.

 

B. Psalms help you consider His ways.

The Book of Psalms shows the uniqueness of the heart of God toward man. The psalms lead you into meditation about His ways in loving man (Ps 8).

 

C. Psalms guide in your worship of Him.

 

D. Psalms help you relate honestly to God.  (Ps 13, 22, 137)

 

E. Psalms demonstrate the importance of reflection and meditation. (Ps 1)

 


4. Wisdom

Wisdom literature is a style of Old Testament writing that focuses on the discipline of applying truth to life in light of experience.

 

A. Job

Job's theology: God is in complete control; thus, everything is a direct result of His doing. If life goes well, that means you are spiritual and have been following God. If life does not go well, there must be something wrong with you. Job's friends constantly plead with him to repent, for they assume his horrible circumstances are a result of his sin. Job himself is confused; he knows he has not sinned, yet his life is not going well. His experience contradicts his theology. Remember: wisdom literature focuses on learning through experience.

 

1. Read the entire story.

Do not focus on one or two aspects of the story, but read it in its entirety. Recognize the flow of the story and the characters involved.

 

2. Understand the theology of that time.

Understanding the background of Job and his friends is helpful in understanding the long discussion between them (chapters 4-37).  Remember that Job's friends are rebuked because of their false beliefs about God -- so do not quote them to strengthen your own position.

 

3. We cannot understand all that happens to us.

God often does not tell us why things happen.  Job never knew about the scene in heaven.  Job teaches that God Himself is enough.  (42:5-6)

 

4. Job was rebuked for his 'why me?' attitude.  (38-41)

 

B. Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes is unique in the Bible because it shows the view from the other side. It is written from the perspective of one who does not know God.  In the end, the writer comes around to the real point.  The author of Ecclesiastes gives a list of all the ways he attempted to find meaning in life (chapters 1-11). These experiences taught him that everything was meaningless. It is not until the end of the book that he explains where true meaning is found.  Look at 1:12-14; 9:1-3

 

C. Proverbs

A proverb is a brief, particular thought of truth. It is a principle which can be used to live a responsible, successful life.

 

1. Proverbs is a practical book.

Proverbs was written to give practical lessons for daily living. Its focus is to deal with living life, not developing a proper doctrine.

 

2. Each proverb point to the truth, but do not give the whole truth.

Every language has proverbs that were written to be easily remembered. These give simple lessons for living. The Hebrew nation was no different. God inspired the writers of Proverbs to write the proverbs so that His people could easily remember them. For example, Prov 15:19 tells how a lazy person is blocked by thorns. This does not mean that all lazy people will always have problems and obstacles.  You can usually find exceptions to the truth pointed to.

 

a. Pr 6:27-29 – you will eventually pay for adultery

 

b. Pr 16:3 -- not a guarantee to always succeed in every single thing you do.  But, if you live committed to God, you will succeed according to His perspective.

 

3. Proverbs tells the truth in different ways.

Sometimes the writers use exaggeration. Prov 15:25 says that the Lord tears down a proud man's house. Does this mean that every proud man will see his home literally torn down? Of course not. The author is using a symbol to describe the eventual ruin that pride will have on an individual.

 

 

4. Wrongly used, Proverbs might justify a materialistic lifestyle. Rightly used, Proverbs will provide practical advice for daily living.

Prov 16:3 might convey the idea that you can be successful no matter what you do. Prov 16:4 provides a greater understanding of that verse. Proverbs must be read with an attitude of humility and submission to God's will.

 

5. Prophecy

The Old Testament prophets were not fortune tellers. They did not gaze into the future and foretell all the events. The role of the prophets was to be spokesmen who represented God before man. There are some things which are common in the prophetic writings:

 

A. Proclamation of God's covenant

The prophets would proclaim God's covenant as a reminder to the Israelites of His expectations and promises. They would call the Israelites back to covenant living.

 

Example:  Read Hosea 1:6-11.  What elements of the covenant can you see referred to in these verses?

 

 

 

B. Rebuke of specific sins

Next, the prophets would rebuke the sins of the Israelites that had lead them away from covenant living. These sins might be listed specifically, such as moral and social sins in their daily life, or they might be national policies which were leading the Israelites away from God as a nation.

 

Example: Read Hosea 4:1-19.  What specific sins are Israel guilty of?

 

 

 

 

C. Punishment because of sins

After listing the sins, the prophets would continue their message by declaring God's punishment on them for their sins. This might be a loss of God's favor, a certain disaster in the life of the individual sinner, or national misfortune because of their sin.

 

Example: Read Hosea 9:1-9.  What punishment does Hosea prophesy will come upon Israel?

 

 

 

D. A final note of hope.

The prophets, in bringing God's message, always ended with a note of hope. Their message was not just one of doom, but an attempt to get the Israelites back to a relationship with God. They would always speak of a hope that would come with repentance. Often they would declare that God's wrath could be avoided through repentance, and that He would spare them and restore them if they returned to the covenant.

 

Example: Read Hosea 14:1-7.  What hope does God give to His people?

 

 

 

 


6. Gospels

A. Jesus' teaching

1. Who is the audience (disciples, crowds, enemies)

 

2. Bring teachings into present time – when He uses examples from His time and place, think of what they might mean today.  For example, read Mat 5:41.  Jesus was using the illustration of a Roman soldier forcing an Israelite to walk with him for a mile and carry his belongings.  Today we do not have that exact same situation, but how does the principle apply to us?  What might be an illustration that we could use today to make the same point?

 

 

B. Jesus' deeds

*. What is the lesson in His actions?

Matt 9:9-13, John 13:2-17

 

C. Kingdom of God

1. Central theme in Jesus' ministry

 

2. Jesus' power demonstrated the Kingdom is at hand (Matt 12:28)

 

3. Jesus came to usher in the beginning of the end

a. Kingdom:  already, but not yet

b. Benefits and blessings come, but not fully

c. Already forgiven, not yet perfected

d. Live in the Spirit, live in the world (where Satan attacks)

e. Victory over death, still die

 

7. Parables

A. Be aware of the audience.

Jesus told parables to many different types of people. Knowing the audience can help in understanding the parable. Is Jesus speaking to His disciples? To religious leaders? To common people? To believers or unbelievers? Identifying Christ's audience will help you identify His purpose in telling them the parable and the response He is expecting.

 

Example: Luke 16:1 -- Jesus' audience, when telling the parable of the shrewd manager, is His own disciples. This is important to note since He is teaching them about their lack of wisdom and faithfulness in handling their finances.

 

B. Realize that Jesus is using things that were common in His day in Israel.

Parables reflect the culture of their time. To properly understand a parable, sometimes you need to think about the times in which Jesus lived.

 

Example: Luke 16:4-8 -- The parable of the shrewd manager focuses on how the manager relates to the people who owe the rich man money.  In that culture, managers received a commission on each customer. This manager is withdrawing his commission in hopes that, in the future, these customers will befriend him and offer him a job.

 

C. Discover if there was a problem or question that caused Jesus to tell the parable

Many parables given in Scripture are there because of some problem, question, or situation. To determine the meaning of the parable, it helps to know the reason it was told. Usually, this can be done by reading the verses  before the parable. You will often discover who Christ is talking to through His parable and what he is responding to.

 

Example: Luke 16:9 -- In Luke 15 and 16, Jesus is giving a lengthy teaching to His disciples about their ministry. He thought it important to include their handling of finances. In Luke 16:14, there were religious leaders standing nearby and listening. Perhaps Jesus was also giving this parable for their ears as well.

 

D. Discover the main truth illustrated by the parable.

Each parable has one main truth that it is teaching. There may be many lessons which can be learned, but they all will fall under a broader teaching from the parable. By reading and studying the parable and the above principles, you should be able to identify that main truth.

 

Example: Luke 16:10-12 -- The main truth in the parable of the shrewd manager is the trustworthiness of a believer in handling the material possessions that the rich man (God) has put in the believer's possessions.

 

E. Each detail does not stand for something else, except when Jesus Himself gives the meaning

 

8. Epistles (Letters)

A. Letters written from an apostle or elder to believers

 

B. These are often written to help individuals or the church with a particular problem.  Sometimes they teach us doctrine that we need to believe; sometimes they teach practical things about how we are to live.

 

9. Apocalypse

This is a type of writing that deals with end-time events.  It uses images and symbolism to communicate the message.

 

A. Humility needed

*. Many different theories -- do not be overly confident

 

B. The purpose is not to tell us when Jesus is coming back, or when certain other events will happen – Matt 24:36;  Acts 1:6-7

 

C. Basic themes

1. There will be persecution and suffering

 

2. Those who cause the above will be defeated and judged

 

3. The righteous will be victorious and have eternity in paradise

 

 

Examples of Studying Passages

 

Look at the following examples of Bible study together as a class.  See how each of the three steps have been followed.

 

1. David and Goliath: 1 Sam 17   (History)

A. What happened

1. Tell what happened in your own words

 

2. Context  (1 Sam 13:13-14, 15:26)

 

B. Main point:  God fought David's battles:  1 Sam 17:37, 45-47

1. David was himself (Saul's armor)

2. Others (army) relied on themselves, and so could not

 

C. How can this apply to me?

1. Enemy:  the devil

sin, discouragement, need, sickness, loneliness,...

 

2. Trust God -- He will fight my battles and give victory

a. does not say this, but illustration of what taught elsewhere

b. imagine scene, more than just "God will help"

 

3. Let God use me as I am

 

2. Philip in Samaria – Acts 8     (History)

A. What happened

1. Tell what happened in your own words

 

2. Context

a. So far only Jews saved

b. Philip is a deacon (6:5)

c. Persecution after Stephen's death

believers pushed out of Jerusalem, and they preached

d. Historical:  Samaritans and Jews enemies

 

B. Main point

1. Spread of Gospel

 

2. Cannot by gift of God with money

Spiritual power is not meant for personal gain -- make sure heart is right

 

C. Application

1. I need to make spreading the Gospel a priority in my life.  How?

 

2. I need to be a witness wherever I go.  How?

 

3. I need to have the right motives in ministry.

 

3. Ten Commandments:  Ex 20:1-17     (Law)

1. Observe:  No other Gods before Me  --  all others based on this

Principle:  God alone -- nothing above (ministry, career, friend...)

Apply:  Is there anything above God in my life?

 

2. Observe:  No idols

Principle:  Worship only God -- Allow God to be more than I comprehend

Apply:  Are there idols in my life?  What do I worship?

 

3. Observe:  Do not misuse the Name of God

Principle:  God's Name is sacred – be careful about speaking in His Name

Apply:  Do I respect God's Name?  Am I careful when I speak or act in His Name?

 

4. Observe:  Remember the Sabbath

Principle:  Honor God as Creator;  We were created to need rest;  This is a gift, not a legalistic code

Apply:  Do I set aside a day to rest and honor God?  How can I do so?

 

5. Observe:  Honor parents

Principle:  Honor God-given responsibility -- This must start at home  (authority from responsibility)

Apply:  What authority is in my life?  How can I honor it?

 

6. Observe:  Shall not murder

Principle:  Respect life of others;  value people

Apply:  Do I value all people as creations of God?

 

7. Observe:  No adultery

Principle:  respect for family

Put faithfulness above fulfillment

Respect for basic commitments of society    --  need to be trustworthy

Be satisfied with the wife / husband God has given you

Apply:  What is more important to me, being faithful or having pleasure and fulfillment?  Do I lust after things I cannot have?

 

8. Observe:  No stealing

Principle:  respect rights of others -- including their money & things

Apply:  Have I gotten things in dishonest or impure ways?  Do I have as much respect for the things that belong to others as for my own things?

 

9. Observe:  No false witness

Principle:  respect truth

Apply:  In what ways am I tempted to not be completely truthful?

 

10. Observe:  Do not covet

Principle:  be content

Do not think you need to be like someone or have what they have

Most internal -- only you and God may know

Do not long for things that belong to others

Apply:  Am I content with what I have?

 

4. Unity -- 1 Cor 3     (Epistle)

A. Observe

1. Context

a. Recipients:

1). Christians in Corinth -- a church planted by Paul (3:10)

2). Church was divided by loyalty to popular leaders

3). Some had told Paul of divisions (1:11)

b. Author:  Paul, founder of the church

c. Reasons for writing

1). Address problems reported to Paul in person

2). Answer issues raised in a letter to Paul (7:1)

3). Defend Paul's authority as apostle (9:3)

4). Instructions concerning a collection for the poor (16:1)

 

2. What it says:

The Corinthians are not truly spiritual people.  They are immature, as seen by their fighting amongst themselves.  They are jealous of one another.  The people who minister (Paul and Apollos) are not so important.  They are simply servants doing what their master commands.  They have different tasks, but are working for the same cause.  God is the one who actually causes the work to be effective.

 

Paul was the first to bring the Gospel to these people, and those who come after him to build up the church need to be careful.  The quality of their ministry will be seen in the end, and if it is good, they will be rewarded.  But, if it is bad, they will suffer for it, and will be barely saved.  If anyone destroys the church (apparently through division), they will be destroyed.  Do not claim to be wise according to the wisdom of the world, because such wisdom sees God's wisdom as foolishness.  So stop boasting about leaders!  That is insignificant.

 

B. Main Point – Unity in the church is very important

Unity is more important than being associated with individual leaders.  People should not primarily associate with Pastor gundi, but rather with God.  They should recognize that each minister is working for the same cause, and Jesus is the one to be associated with.  Ministers need to be careful how they do their work, because God's people are very precious, and leaders will be judged according to the quality of their work.  If they cause division, and thus destroy a church, they will be destroyed.

 

C. Apply:

I must take this as a solemn warning to me personally.  First of all, I must not try to get people to follow me.  I am God's servant, and my joy is to do what He calls me to.  If other ministries reap the benefits of my labor (in human terms), that is of no concern to me.  I need to be faithful to always do what Jesus calls me to do, and to recognize in humility that success comes from Him only.

 

Assignment:  Assign each student three passages from different types of writing to study.  You can use the ones listed here, or others.  Be sure to pass through the three steps each time.  Have some students share with the class what they learned.

 

Law:  Leviticus 27:30-33

 

Poetry:  Psalm 23, 51, 138, 46, 37

 

Wisdom:  Proverbs 31, 10:1-9; 11:1-4

 

Prophets:  Is 1:10-20; Amos 2:6-15; Jer 29:4-23

 

Gospels:  John 15:1-17, Mark 9:38-41, Matt 19:16-30, Mark 2:1-12, Lk 14:1-14

 

Parables:  Matt 20:1-16;  Lk 18:9-14;  Lk 15;11-32;  Matt 25:1-13;  Matt 21:33-41;  Matt 13:47-50

 

Epistles: 2 Cor 12:7-10, Rom 12, 2 Tim 4:1-8, Eph 5:22-6:4, Gal 2:6-23

 

Apocalypse:  Rev 2:1-7, 2:8-11, 2:12-17, 13:1-18, 20:11 -- 22:6

 

Test:  Scriptures to Interpret

Each student is to choose one of the following passages.  Study it by following the three steps.  As your grade for this course, you will present to the class what you have learned.  You are not preaching, but simply stating what you observed (what the passage says in your own words), the main point, and the application.  The main point must be based on what you observed, and your personal application must be based on the main point.  You will have five minutes to present.  If you go over time you will lose points.  Do not read the scripture in your presentation.  Tell us what it says in your own words.

 

1. Gen 22:1-19 (Abraham & Isaac)

2. Ge 45:1-8  (Joseph)

3. Deut 8:10-18 (do not forget God when you prosper)

4. Judges 6:11-16  (Gideon's call)

5. 1 Sam 16:6-13 (David's call)

6. Psalm 32

7. Jer 29:10-14

8. Dan 3:8-30 (Shadrach,..)

9. Hab 3:17-19

10. Matt 5:13-16 (salt and light)

11. Matt 7:7-8  (ask, seek, knock)

12. Matt 7:21-27 (not all who say, "Lord,..")
13. Mark 2:1-12 (healing and forgiving paralytic)

14. Mark 12:41-44 (widow's offering)

15. Luke 18:1-8 (parable of persistent widow)

16. Luke 18:9-14 (parable of pharisee and sinner)

17. Luke 22:24-27 (servant of all)

18. John 3:16-21

19. John 8:1-11 (woman caught in adultery)

20. John 10:1-10

21. John 15:1-8

22. John 17:20-23 (unity)

23. Acts 12:1-17 (Peter's escape)

24. 1 Cor 3:1-9 (division)

25. 1 Cor 10:1-10 (OT examples)

26. 1 Cor 13:1-3 (supremecy of love)

27. 2 Cor 4:1-7 (jars of clay)

28. Eph 6:1-4 (children)

29. Eph 6:5-9 (slaves and masters)

30. Eph 6:10-18 (armor)

31. 1 Thess 4:13-18 (2nd coming)

32. 2 Tim 4:1-8

33. Heb 11:32-40 (faith)

34. Heb 12:1-3

35. Jam 5:13-18 (prayer of faith)

36. Rev 2:1-7