Hi, this is Noel. Today Denise is going to describe how to tune into your thinking and I will suggest several things to try when you are having trouble coming up with the Lessons in a passage.
You can either read the Lesson or watch the video. To take notes either print out the Lesson, follow along in the book, or use a separate piece of paper to write out the answers to the questions below.
A Test of Thinking
Victor Frankl was held in the Aushewitz prison camp but he kept his spirits up by realizing his captors could take his family and his life, but they couldn't take away his hope to find meaning even in tragic situations.
After Jesus died on the cross, the disciples had a test of their thinking. When they found Jesus' body missing from the tomb, they had a choice. Some chose to interpret Jesus' missing body as a disaster, but in John 20:8-9 John chose to believe.
John 20:8-9 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) (NIV)
What miracle in your life are you thinking is a disaster? Jesus' death on the cross looked like a huge disaster. Jesus came to be the king of the Israelites but they killed him. It looked like a failure. Looks can be deceiving. What looked like a failure was actually the biggest victory in the history of mankind.
In each of these examples, the person's feelings depended on what they were thinking. But you may say, "I don't know what I am thinking during the day." Yes, that is often the case.
But, there are a few times during the day when most of us tune in to what we are thinking. One is when the alarm clock goes off. We debate the pros and cons of getting up on time. Another time is the great "should I have one more cookie" debate. We tune in for that too.
1. One time we tune in to what we are thinking is when
Or when debating if we should have another
It is possible to tune in to what we are thinking at other times as well. If you want to change your heart and soul, change comes through your mind. That is why the Bible is in written form.
Skill Time: More Help with Step 2--Finding Lessons
As you study the Bible, when you have difficulty coming up with the Lessons, here are some things you can try.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Hebrews 11:9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign [land,] dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
Hebrews 11:10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. (NASB)
The first thing to try in finding a Lesson in a difficult passage is to pretend that you are a detective and back off the idea of getting a Lesson in one step. Rather, start look for clues that might lead you to a Lesson.
11. If you are stuck, try looking for
In the Hebrews 11:8-11 passage there are also clues. Did you notice that each verse starts out with the phrase "By faith?" If you treat this as a clue, you might want to consider how Abraham was having to use faith. What assurances was he having to do without as he obeyed God's voice. It is sometimes God's desire for us to obey Him without all our questions answered.
When it is difficult to surface the Lesson in a single step, surface clues for a while and eventually a Lesson will emerge.
Points of View
The next thing to try is to look at the passage from different points of view.
12. Or try looking at the passage from
The Hebrews 11:8-11 passage can be viewed from the points of view of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, or God. From Isaac you can learn about how your world can be effected when God leads someone else in the family in a particular direction. From Sarah you can learn how God may allow barren times but He also can resolve them supernaturally.
When you have difficulty finding the Lesson, looking at the passage from different points of view will give you many more possibilities to consider.
Authors and Recipients
Keep in mind that every passage in the Bible is written by two authors and is written for two different recipients.
13. Or remember every passage has two
The two authors of any Bible passage are God and the human author. The human author of the passage might be someone like Paul, John, or Moses--whoever wrote that particular Bible book. The first of the two recipients are the ancient people, like the church at Ephesus or the Christians in Rome. We are the second recipient of every Bible passage.
So, as you look at the passage, consider the author/recipient combinations and ask yourself, "Why would the human author write this to the Galatians or why would God write this to us?" As you see the passage from these different vantage points, a Lesson will often present itself.
What is God Like?
If you can't find a Lesson using the other ideas, there is one thing you can always learn from a passage of scripture. You can always learn what kind of person God is.
14. Or you can always look at the passage and learn
To say that God is a person or that He has a personality is not to say that God is a human being. He is not finite in any way. Rather, we are saying that God has a personality. There are things He likes and things He does not like. He holds some values as more important than other values. Some things move Him and other things do not.
As you look at your passage, notice how God acts, what He values, and what concerns Him. Then ask yourself, "What kind of person would act this way or value this kind of thing." Begin to build a mental picture of what kind of person God is.
Our goal is to know Him better so we can love and trust Him more. God tells Abraham to step out without giving him a lot of details. From this we can see that God is a strong leader. He is not anxiously hovering over His followers reminding them what they need to do next or what to be aware of. He gives a command and feels secure. We can learn about God's personality by watching how He behaves.
When you have difficulty coming up with a Lesson in your passage, give these ideas a try. Most of the time the Lessons are right under our nose. We just need to look at the passage from a different perspective to see them.
Watch the video or check the answers below to get a fuller understanding of the concepts.
Next time, Denise will describe how your thinking helps you grow and I'll give the 3rd example of 4-Step Bible study.
If you are stuck, reply to this email and ask a question.