7 Arrows for Bible Reading

Posted: October 27, 2013 in Bible Study
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Trevin Wax blogged about Matt Rogers whose church has developed a simple tool for Bible Reading & study:

7 Arrows for Bible Reading

arrows 1arrows 2arrows 3arrows 4arrows 5arrows 6arrows 7

It looks like a handy tool to put in the toolbox alongside the Swedish method to encourage people to see and practice the fact that you don’t need to be a Bible College grad or ordained minister to be able to read, understand and teach the Bible.

I would, however, suggest three modifications:

  1. ‘What does this passage demand of me?’ strikes me as the language of Law. While it is true that God’s word often gives clear commands, and these commands are not always easy to accept or obey, I would say that ‘demand’ is what the Law does as it prepares us for grace – it is the action of the law in revealing God’s perfect standard, our inability to meet it in sin, and the rightful condemnation we come under for this failure. It is ‘…the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.’ – demands which, ‘…he set aside, nailing it to the cross.’  (Colossians 2:14 ESV) Under grace, we obey not for the sake of keeping the rules, but because our hearts are free to respond to the Father in loving obedience. So I would prefer language which reflects that we are under grace, not Law, such as, ‘How does this passage call me to obey?’ or ‘How should my life look different in light of this passage?’
  2. I’m not sure how you might use an arrow to illustrate this but, as in the Swedish method, there needs to be space for questions. While we can have a confidence that God speaks to us as we read and hear His Word, the reality is that we will not always immediately understand everything we read. Let’s face it, sometimes we may only come into an understanding of some things in the scriptures after a long time (maybe years) of investigation, meditation, discussion and teaching. And there may be some things over which the jury remains out for our whole lives, about which we simply have to say ‘I don’t know.’ and accept our limited knowledge. We are not guaranteed to come up with a faultless understanding of every nuance of our passage after a 1-hour discussion. So it is a healthy thing to voice our questions about the text, and to accept that they may not all be answered in one sitting; to go away knowing we have not mastered this passage, and will need to revisit it time and time again over the course of our lives
  3. A helpful final step can encourage people and groups to be outward-focussed, by asking ‘Whom can I tell about what I’ve learned from this passage?’. We run the risk of being insular and inward focussed as Evangelicals in our Bible study – to think that we study the Bible primarily to grow in personal maturity and godliness. Yet we are intractably called to be proclaimers – to be the prophetic community that declares His praises. I don’t think generally we are very good at saying to someone, ‘I was discussing a part of the Bible recently with my friends, and this is what I learned…’ Be it Christian or non-Christian, family or friends, work or study colleagues, we need to get back into the habit of ‘gossiping the Gospel’ as a way of life, not just during our designated ‘evangelising times’. Adding this step might be a way to spur one another on to do this.

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