This is the second post looking at some of the detail of studying God’s Word edited by John B Job. The original post is here, and the first more detailed post is here. This chapter is written by Jean Rutherford who, early in the chapter writes: It is our minds, as well as spirit and will, which are needed in analysis of any Biblical passage. Lack of spiritual life leads to dry academic discussion; lack of mental discipline and hard thinking leads to ‘beautiful thoughts’ floating in a void and to an unbalanced view of God’s truth; lack of will makes the whole operation sterile, since the object of Bible study is to help us to discern God’s will and His purpose for us, and then to obey Him.
This is the first post looking at some of the detail of studying God’s Word edited by John B Job that I first mentioned a couple of posts ago. The chapter (written by Laurence Porter) by way of introduction, compares devotional Bible reading with Bible study and states the following: Studying the Bible is complementary with and not an alternative to devotional reading. Thorough Bible study can enrich and inform devotional reading.
A month-or-so ago I came across a book at a second hand bookshop called studying God’s Word edited by John B Job. It was published by IVP over 45 years ago1 and so the style is a little dated. Despite that, the content is helpful. It covers different ways or methods of, not surprisingly, studying God’s Word. Some of these methods include analysing a book of the Bible; analysing a passage or chapter; character and background studies; word studies and theme studies.
Don Carson credits his late father for saying “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text”. What that basically means is that if you don’t provide the context for a sentence or quote then you can interpret it or make it say whatever you want. A further way of looking at that is to say that words only make sense in sentences, and sentences only have meaning in paragraphs, etc.