By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.T
I have received many inquiries of late from readers requesting articles on the subject of studying the Bible. I will oblige those requests in this month’s series of articles. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The workman spoken of here is one who is handling God’s Word. It takes diligent study of God’s Word in order to rightly and appropriately “divide it.” The Greek word for “rightly dividing” is “orthotomeo” which literally means “to cut a straight course,” or “lay out a road,” or “correctly interpret.” Even when God’s Word is taught, it must be presented clearly, truthfully and without errors. There are no contradictions when God’s Word is rightly presented. Regardless of where you are in your spiritual growth, God intends for you to study His Word. This month this series will introduce approaches and techniques that will be helpful as you study God’s Word.
First of all, any study of God’s Word must be interpreted correctly. Biblical interpretation (technically referred to as hermeneutics) is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible. An important aspect of biblical interpretation (or hermeneutics) is that one must consider the historical, grammatical and contextual aspects of a verse or passage:
- • Historical interpretation refers to understanding the culture, background, and situation which prompted the text.
- • Grammatical interpretation is recognizing the rules of grammar and nuances of the Hebrew and Greek languages and applying those principles to the understanding of a passage.
- • Contextual interpretation involves always taking the surrounding context of a verse/passage into consideration when trying to determine the meaning.
Beloved, many errors are made by well-meaning Bible Study teachers, including but not limited to Sunday School teachers, because they have failed to keep these key concepts in mind when studying and teaching the sacred text of Scripture. Errors or difficulties in interpretation can be avoided when one has a proper understanding of the text, historically, grammatically and contextually.
Next week we will focus our attention on Christian journaling. Journaling is a great way to draw closer to God as it combines prayer, reading of Scripture and a deeper analysis of the teachings in Scripture. You will see how Christian journaling is an excellent way to spend time with God. Be sure to pick up your copy of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper and share this series with a friend.
Next Week: Christian Journaling The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.