December 09, 2006
Bible Study Book Sneak Peek
It’s (almost) finished! I just returned from a week holed away in a bunkhouse finally finishing “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Bible Study.” I don’t know what made me think this would be an easier book to write than it turned out to be. Maybe that means it will bless a lot of moms. I sure hope so. For this week’s journal entry, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek with three of the Bible study methods. There is a lot more interaction in the book but I’ll tell you more about it as the release date approaches. Until then…
Tools for Digging
Write it Down and Walk it Out
Kinesthetic learners are a lot of fun! My son, Tucker, like many people with ADHD, is a kinesthetic or tactile learner. This means he learns best by physically doing things. As his homeschool teacher, I’ve had to discover a variety of touchy/feely ways for creating hands-on learning experiences for this fun-loving boy of mine.
Often, kinesthetic learners are good at sports and process information best while moving rather than sitting around and thinking about it. (That would drive them absolutely bonkers and everyone else around them because they would probably be fidgeting the whole time they are attempting to sit still.)
If you are a tactile leaner then I bet you enjoy “getting your hands dirty” by jumping in and tackling a problem before reading the instructions or listening to advice. You might say you learn best by experience. You may have a shorter attention span and do better studying in short blocks of time. Sounds like you’re holding the perfect book in your hand for this learning style.
If, as an experiential learner, you want to “taste and see” that the Lord is good then have I got a great Bible study method for you. Like babies who have to put everything in their mouths to fully experience something, we are going to bite off a small chunk of scripture at a time and roll it around for awhile to give God’s Word plenty of time to be fully ingested.
The first thing I want you to do is grab some flashcards. Just having something to hold in your hands is usually comforting to the tactile learner. Now, choose a passage or verse and write it out in longhand on your flashcard. Typically, kinesthetic learners have messy handwriting but penmanship will not be graded so don’t sweat it. Typing is probably a better choice for you in everyday situations but you won’t receive the full benefit of this Bible study method unless you actually write the whole verse out. Either, cursive or printing will do.
Studies show that handwriting is not just a motor process; it is also a memory process. The same is true for walking. As an actress, I would often take my script and simply walk around the rehearsal hall reading my lines out loud. The combination of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic techniques shortened the time it took for me to memorize a new script each week. So…not only are you learning a new Bible study skill today but you may just end up hiding the Word in your heart as a bonus.
Do you have a favorite Bible translation? As a young believer, I grew up reading from The King James Version, with all of its “thees” and “thous.” I was happy to discover the easier to read and understand paraphrase, The Living Bible, as a teenager. Today, I enjoy reading from a handful of translations, but my current favorite is the English Standard Version.
You may believe that all Bibles are the same, but that isn’t exactly the case. Some translations, like the ESV, NKJV, and NASB, are referred to as “essentially literal” translations. The easiest definition would be a “word-for-word” translation from the original languages. Similarly, are the “thought-for-thought” translations, these include the NIV, TNLT, and the Amplified Bible. These are a few examples of “dynamic equivalent” translations. Then there are the versions that aren’t really translations at all. They would be much better referred to as “paraphrases.” You may be familiar with some of these wonderful titles, The Message, The Living Bible, The Good News Bible.
Personally, I believe there is merit in keeping on hand, and using, a variety of different kinds of Bibles. I once spent a whole year reading the same chunk of Scripture out of a different Bible every day for a week at a time. I enjoyed beginning with a paraphrase to grasp the big picture and making my way to the King James Version with my Strong’s Lexicon handy.
Today, we are going to discover the benefits of reading the same verse from a variety of translations. This being the first month of our walking this journey of Bible study discovery together, I will provide the different translations. I would encourage you to gather a handful of Bibles before next month, when you will use this technique on your own. That may be as simple as grabbing your child’s Bible, borrowing your friend’s extra study Bible, or visiting BibleGateway.com, or a similar Bible resource website.
This approach is as simple as reading the same verse or passage from a handful of translations and noticing how different words and concepts become richer from different perspectives.
Okay, let’s start with the basics. The Old Testament was originally written primarily in the Hebrew language because it is the history of the Children of Israel and that is the language they spoke. The New Testament was written primarily in the Koine Greek, or Greek-on-the-street, because it was the language of the day, very similar to what English is today. Getting His Word into the hands of everyday people would make the most sense for why God would choose common Greek as the Good News language. (There is also some Aramaic sprinkled throughout the Bible but that just confuses the issue so let’s agree to pretend we don’t know that.)
In the early 5th century the Bible was translated into Latin but it wasn’t until the 16th century, after the Protestant Reformation, that we began seeing the Bible translated into English. Okay, history lesson over. Let’s learn why this is important to us today.
As in any translation, whether from Hebrew to Greek, (The Septuagint or “LXX,”) or Greek to Latin, or Hebrew to English, something is always lost in the translation.
To complicate things even further, there are often multiple words in the original languages translated into only one English word. For instance, in the Psalms, David is always telling us to praise the Lord but there are a ton of different Hebrew words that are each and every one translated into our one English word “Praise.” It is actually quite sad because there is so much texture and color that becomes bland when we are limited to the confines of the English language, especially in this particular instance.
It is important that we know which Hebrew or Greek word the English word represents in order to determine its vibrant definition. Today we’re going to learn how to use Word study dictionaries, like Strong’s KJV, NAS Exhaustive, or NIV Concordances. These resources list the words used in the Bible with their Greek or Hebrew meaning and they are invaluable in helping us get back to the original heart of God when He first spoke the Word.
It is a lot easier than you would think to be able to do a little mini exegesis. Here are the simple pseudo-seminary steps. Read the passage and pick a key word to define, look that word up in one of the above mentioned concordances. Don’t forget these resources are also available online or in Bible software. Find the particular reference text you’re reading. There will be a Strong’s or GK number listed to the right of your verse. Go to the back of your concordance and you will find a dictionary. Go to that number and you will find the Hebrew or Greek word that was originally used and multiple definitions. Voila! (That’s French for “There you have it!”)
(Just a few pictures from our family Christmas photo shoot in California)
Posted by weblion at 08:31 PM