Unfolding the Word of God

 

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unfolding the word of god by jason montgomery

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unfolding the word of god published by confessional press the publishing ministry of faith community baptist church 10628 lipan trail fort worth tx 76108 fcbchurch sbcglobal.net © jason c montgomery 2007 fcbchurch sbcglobal.net www.faithcommunitybaptistchurch.com scripture taken from the new american standard bible copyright 1960,1962 1963 1968 1971 1972 1973 1975 1977,1995 by the lockman foundation used by permission page -2-

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table of contents introduction 3 observation open my eyes that i may behold wonderful things from your law nab psalm 119:18 9 interpretation the unfolding of your words gives light it gives understanding to the simple nab psalm 119:130 15 application but prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves nab james 1:22 25 appendices 1 quick review 2 voices past and present 3 list of sources 33 page -3-

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inductive bible study method introduction true biblical preaching ought to be a life-changing endeavor the conscientious preacher does not merely seek to impart abstract doctrine or plain facts to his people he also pleads with them for heartfelt and earnest obedience so says john macarthur in the forward to the publication on preaching by michael fabarez entitled preaching that changes lives -3-

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truly macarthur s comments are on target furthermore they are applicable to the study of the bible out of which all true preaching arises and not simply to the act of preaching alone the individual who attempts to study the scripture in a way that is not connected with life will simply join himself to the pool of pharisaical exegetes of which we already have enough jesus condemned the pharisees for searching the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life it is these that testify about me jesus said and you are unwilling to come to me so that you may have life nab john 5:39-40 we need in the church today people who will come to jesus as a result of studying the word of god in other words as james states we need people who will prove themselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves nab jam 1:22 true god-honoring christ-centered holy spirit taught study of the word of god changes lives in the words of howard hendricks noted bible teacher from dallas theological seminary the bible was not written to satisfy your curiosity but to make you conform to christ s image not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the savior not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your life truth as set forth in the christian scriptures is a moral thing says a w tozer it is not addressed to the intellect only but to the will also it addresses itself to the total man and its obligations cannot be discharged by grasping it mentally truth engages the citadel of the human heart and is not satisfied until it has conquered everything there if this is true and we believe it is we should recommit ourselves or commit ourselves for the first time to the thorough study of -4-

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the word of god with the intention of seeing a change in the way we think and go about our business every day we are going to have to be like the man paul charged young timothy to be in 2tim 2:15 diligent to present yourself approved to god as a workman who does not need to be ashamed accurately handling the word of truth in these next few pages we are going to attempt to present you with a method of studying the scripture that will guide you to become diligent as the word requires and to draw from the scripture life-changing truth it is a method that in the words of howard hendricks involves taking certain steps in a certain order to guarantee a certain result not just any steps not just any order not just any result the three step process to which we are going to introduce you is commonly referred to as the inductive bible study method ibsm many methods over the years have been employed to varying degrees of success but none can compare with the inductive study method for example the get an idea then go to the bible for support method the preacher was preaching on the subject of why women s hair should remain up in a bun he used as his text matt 24:17 there we read in the kjv -5-

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let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house the disregard for context method only two people showed up for wednesday night prayer service and the pastor consoled the man and his wife with the words of the scripture nab matthew 18:20 for where two or three have gathered together in my name i am there in their midst the open and point method for gaining wisdom during times of discouragement the man first opened the bible to john 13:27 nab john 13:27 jesus said to him what you do do quickly then he read nab matthew 27:5 and he went away and hanged himself this was sadly followed by nab james 1:22 but prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves these methods and others like them simply will not do and though they sound silly if you listen closely to studies and sermons today they occur all too often the inductive bible -6-

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study method will help us avoid these and other errors remember the words of hendricks inductive study involves taking certain steps in a certain order to guarantee a certain result not just any steps not just any order not just any result what are those steps step 1 observation step 2 interpretation step 3 application what is involved in each of these steps here we will provide a brief overview in observation we are assuming the role of what has been described as a biblical detective like the inspector on the old tv show dragnet we simply want the facts just the facts here we are asking the question what does the bible say in interpretation we are digging deeper we have discovered what it says now we want to ask the question what does it mean here we will pull together all the material we have gained from our examination of the text and seek sound material we find from other sources outside the scriptures and pull these together to get at the meaning of the text in the final step of our process application we ask the question how does it work i know what it says and what it means i want to know now what to do because of it here is where the rubber meets the road we are getting to the end for which we began the process in the first place application is -7-

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where thoughts are altered the will is confronted and lives are changed howard hendricks makes the following insightful remark as to the relationship of the three steps in the inductive process the more time you spend in observation the less time you will have to spend in interpretation and the more accurate will be your results furthermore the less time you spend in observation the more time you will have to spend in interpretation and the less accurate will be your results -8-

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inductive bible study method observation open my eyes that i may behold wonderful things from your law nab psalm 119:18 with that in mind let s look at the process of observation how can i be a good biblical detective what do i need to do -9-

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step 1 pray pray pray the psalmist writes open my eyes that i may behold wonderful things from your law nab psalm 119:18 the psalmist knew that the understanding of the word of god was first and foremost a spiritual exercise he would not be able to understand the depths of the word of god apart from spiritual insight this is affirmed throughout the word of god remember the words of the apostle paul to the believers in corinth nab 1 corinthians 2:14 but a natural man does not accept the things of the spirit of god for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised the man without the spirit of god living within will fail to perceive the truth of the word dependance on god for insight into the scripture is fundamental to the study of the scripture see also 1john 2:20-21 27 step 2 read read read there is a danger in becoming familiar with the bible the things about which we are most familiar tend to be the things about which we become very casual the bible is an in-exhaustible store of rich treasure as we pray and read repeatedly wonderful things are disclosed from the word of god you will never reach the point of saturation when it comes to bible reading you can never -5-

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read enough you will never exhaust its contents the discipline of repeatedly reading the text is essential step 3 question question question many might be tempted to think that asking questions of the bible is a sign of irreverence nothing could be farther from the truth the bible can withstand any question you may put to it it is not afraid of your questions and you should not be afraid to ask them ask in reverence ask for understanding here is a series of simple questions you can ask of any text 5 w s and the h questions who who is speaking or being spoken to what what exactly is being said when when is the event taking place where where is the event occurring why why is the conversation/event happening how how is the conversation/event unfolding record your answers to these questions step 4 mark mark mark another trap people fall into is being afraid of marking in their bibles some feel like with asking the bible questions that marking in their bibles is a sign of irreverence for the word of god this is simply false -6-

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the bible is given for you to learn not put on the coffee table and never touch marking can be a great tool to aid in the learning of the contents of the scripture make your markings significant and memorable in other words don t just arbitrarily mark throughout the text the following suggestions have proven helpful mark all references to time use a clock face in the margin key/significant words or phrases indicate by colors lists make a list in the margin or within the text comparisons and contrasts like as but however mark with c/c in the margin terms of conclusion therefore so then finally for this reason mark with a box or something to set them off from the text -7-

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geographical and historical references these you can read about later in bible handbooks dictionaries and encyclopedias step 5 record record record keep a list of all thoughts or questions you come up with during your observation no thought or question is insignificant at this point in your study write them all down step 6 summarize summarize summarize at this point you need to put all your conclusions from your observation study into chart form this will help you pull your thoughts together in a central location from which you will begin to make your interpretive decisions later include here information gained from observing only the text regarding the author recipients purpose of writing date of writing key words and stated purposes of the book you can make your own chart on one sheet of 8½ x 11 paper remember the words of howard hendricks the more time you spend in observation the less time you will have to spend in interpretation and the more accurate will be your results furthermore the -29-

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