Saturday, November 26, 2016

Inductive Bible Study - Part 2

Inductive Bible Study

God’s eternal, inerrant Word is your guidebook for all of life. Inductive study, a method that brings you directly to the Word of God apart from someone else’s understanding or interpretation of the text involves three skills: observation, interpretation and application.

Observation discover what it says

    1.   Begin with Prayer.  Prayer is often the missing element in Bible study. Apart from the work of the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s all it will be – a method.

    2.   Ask the “5 W’s and an H” – As you study any passage of Scripture, train yourself to constantly ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions are the building blocks of precise observation, which is essential for accurate interpretation.

    3.   Mark key words and phrases. A key word is one that is essential to the text. Key words and phrases are repeated in order to convey the author’s point or purpose for writing. For example, notice that some form of the word suffering is used three times in 1 Peter 5.

    4.   Make Lists. Making lists can be one of the most enlightening things you can do as you study. Lists reveal truths and highlights important concepts. 1 Peter 5:2-3; for example, contains a simple list regarding the role of the elder. It is also helpful to make a list of what you learn about each key word or person you mark.

    5.    Watch for contrasts and comparisons. Contrasts and comparisons use highly descriptive language to make it easier to remember what you’ve learned. For example, Peter compares the devil to a roaring lion in verse 8. Peter also contrasts God’s attitude toward the proud and the humble.

    6.   Note expressions of time. The relationship of events in time often sheds light on the true meaning of the text. Marking or highlighting them will help you see the sequence or timing of events and lead to accurate interpretation of Scripture.

    7.   Geographic Locations. Often, it’s helpful to mark or highlight geographical locations, which tell you where an event takes place.

    8.   Mark terms of conclusion. Words such as “therefore,” “thus,” and “for this reason” indicate that a conclusion or summary is being made. You may want to underline them in the text.

    9.   Identify chapter themes. The theme of a chapter will center on the main person, event, teaching, or subject of that section of Scripture. Themes are often revealed by reviewing the key words and lists you developed. Try to express the theme as briefly as possible, using words found in the text.

Interpretation discover what it means

While observation leads to an accurate understanding of what the Word of God says, interpretation goes a step further and helps you understand what it means.

    1.   Remember that context rules. If you lay the solid foundation of observation, you will be prepared to consider each verse in the light of the surrounding verses, the book in which it is found, and the entire Word of God. As you study, ask yourself: is my interpretation of this passage of Scripture consistent with the theme, purpose, and structure of the book in which it is found? Is it consistent with other Scripture about the same subject? Am I considering the historic and cultural context? Never take Scripture out context to make it say what you want it to say. Discover what the author is saying; don’t add to his meaning.

    2.   Always see the full counsel of the Word of God. When you know God’s Word thoroughly, you will be able to discern whether a teaching is biblical or not. Saturate yourself in the Word of God; it is your safeguard against wrong doctrine.

    3.   Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. Remember, all Scripture is inspired by God. Therefore, Scripture will never contradict itself. Sometimes, however, you may find it difficult to reconcile two seemingly contradictory truths taught in Scripture, such as sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Don’t take a teaching to an extreme that God doesn’t. Simply humble your heart in faith and believe what God says, even if you can’t fully understand or reconcile it at the moment. 

    4.   Don’t base your convictions on an obscure passage of Scripture. An obscure passage is one in which the meaning is unclear or not easily understood. Because these passages are difficult to understand even when proper principles of interpretation are used, they should not be used as a basis for establishing doctrine.

    5.   Interpret Scripture literally. God spoke to us that we might know the truth. Therefore, take the Word of God at face value – in its natural, normal sense. Look first for the clear teaching of Scripture, not a hidden meaning. Understand and recognize figures of speech and interpret them accordingly.

Consider what is being said in the light of its literary style. For example, you will find more similes and metaphors in poetical and prophetic literature than in historical or biographical books. Interpret portions of Scripture according to their literary style.

Some examples of literary styles in the Bible are: Historical – Acts, Exodus; Prophetic – Revelation, Isaiah; Biographical – Luke; Didactic (teaching) – Romans; Poetic – Psalms; Epistle (letter) – 2 Timothy; Proverbial – Proverbs.

    6.   Look for the single meaning of the passage. Always try to understand what the author had in mind when you interpret a portion of the Bible. Don’t twist verses to support a meaning that is not clearly taught. Unless the author of a particular book indicates that there is another meaning to what he says, let the passage speak for itself.

Application discover how it works

The first step in application is to find out what the Word of God says on any particular subject through accurate observation and correct interpretation of the text. Once you understand what the Word of God teaches, you are then obligate before God to accept that truth and to live by it.

Scripture will always teach what is right, show us where we are wrong, how to correct, and train us in right living; so that we are complete, fully equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

I’ve attached a worksheet to help you get started! Click Here

Related post click here.

Be blessed and be a blessing!!!

Adapted from Kay Arthur's "How to Study the Bible"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

The History of Thanksgiving

Traditionally, and in the public mind, the first Thanksgiving Day occurred in 1621 when the Plymouth Pilgrim community joined in a feast with local Indians to celebrate the first harvest that the colonists had reaped on American soil. 

Indeed, 90 Indians and 53 Pilgrims feasted for three days at that event, and it was an official day of giving thanks to God for his blessings. However, the colonists were only carrying on the Calvinist Protestant tradition of designating special public days of thanksgiving for the blessings of the Almighty. It was really not something new in kind.

The feast probably did include turkey since William Bradford informs us in his Of Plymouth Plantation that the land had a "great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many." Incidentally, there is indication that the colonists were familiar with turkey from back in England, even though it was a native American bird. That is because the Spanish had brought back and popularized turkey in Europe in the 1600's, and in England, it had become a major competitor to goose for Christmas dinners. The exact date of this thanksgiving feast is uncertain, but it seems to have happened in late September or early November.

Be blessed and be a blessing! Enjoy this day, sharing it with family and friends!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Celebrate Excellance


Excellence inspires trust, loyalty, and respect and establishes a reputation that will follow you wherever you go and as long as you live. The woman in these verses led in a family context and did it with excellence. What “family” are you being called to lead? God desires excellence from you, no matter what your situation. 

The woman of Proverbs 31 excelled in whatever she was given to do each day. God gives her to us by way of Scripture to show us excellence, strength, and beauty. It is a perfect picture of what God wants from His leaders in all walks of life; be the person He created you to be and excel regardless of your situation. 

There is nothing more beautiful in all the world than a woman who is righteous and loves God. That’s true beauty.

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29 NIV

Celebrate excellence and discover God’s world of opportunity.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Focus on the Finish

Focus on the Finish

John 8:32, says that you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. The truth of the matter is that God wants our success in life. Scripture all tells us that He know the desires of our hearts. God wants us to have abundance, God has NOT given us a Spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. We are then able to be free to fulfill the purpose that you were given to live. Free from all of the fears, doubts and misconceptions that would cause you to miss you purpose for your highest and your best. Free to create the abundance in every area of your life. We can start to really enjoy our lives and live freely to be ourselves when we truly understand God’s truth verses the lies.

I encourage you to go out and turn your world right-side up for the cause of Jesus Christ. Have fun creating the world you are meant to live – a life of Freedom in Christ! Make someone laugh. Share God’s love and His heart with everyone you meet. With God, we can do more than we could ever hope or imagine!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful Thursday

1 Chronicles 16:349 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. “... that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 1 Chronicles 16:34, 35b

Genuine praise results when we declare God's character and attributes in the presence of others. When we recognize and affirm His goodness we are holding up His perfect moral nature for all to see. Praise benefits us because it takes our minds off our problems and needs and focuses on God's power, mercy, majesty, and love.

Genuine praise also involves ascribing glory to God. This means we give credit where credit is due. Remember this is you worship - give God all the glory. Amen

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study Method

Begin with Prayer, prayer is often the missing element in Bible Study. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s all it will be – a method. With that in mind, Inductive Bible study consists of these three component parts: observation, interpretation, and application.

Observation answers the question: What does the passage say?  It is the foundation which must be laid if you want to accurately interpret and properly apply God's Word.
Because observation is discovering what the passage is saying, it requires time and practice. You'll discover that the more you read and get to know a book of the Bible, the more its truths will become obvious to you. You'll be awed at the wealth of spiritual riches contained in even the shortest books of the Bible—and you will have discovered it yourself! You will know that you know!
Interpretation answers the question:  What does the passage mean? And the basis for accurate interpretation is always careful observation.  Interpretation is the process of discovering what the passage means. As you carefully observe Scripture, the meaning will become apparent. However, if you rush into interpretation without laying the vital foundation of accurate observation, your understanding will be colored by your presuppositions—what you think, what you feel, or what other people have said, rather than what God's Word says.
Interpretation is not necessarily a separate step from observation, for often, as you carefully observe the text, at that very moment you begin to see what it means. Thus, interpretation flows out of observation.
However, interpretation can also involve separate actions or steps that go beyond merely observing the immediate text.  One of these exercises is investigating cross-references. First and foremost, let Scripture interpret Scripture. You may also use other helps, such as word studies or the evaluation of resources such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries to check your conclusions or to supplement your understanding of the historical or cultural setting of the text.
Application answers the question:  How does the meaning of this passage apply to me? Usually this is the first thing we want to know when we read the Bible, but proper application actually begins with belief which then results in being and doing. Once you know what a passage means, you are not only responsible for putting it into practice in your own life, but accountable if you don't!  Ultimately, then, the goal of personal Bible study is a transformed life and a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
Application is not a third step in the inductive process. Rather, application  takes  place  as  you  are  confronted  with  truth  and  decide  to respond in obedience to that truth. The basis for application is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life. To be equipped for every good work of life—totally prepared to handle every situation in a way that honors God—is not only possible, it is God's will. And that's what you will learn how to do if you will apply these study principles.
How Observation, Interpretation, and Application Relate to Each Other
Accurate interpretation and correct application rest on the accuracy of your observations. Therefore, it is vital that you develop observation skills, even if at first they seem time-consuming or you feel less than adequate and even awkward doing them. Studying inductively is a learning process that does not happen overnight.  It happens by doing—doing over and over again, until the doing becomes almost a habit, and a wonderful one at that.
As you go through the inductive process, you'll sometimes find observation, interpretation, and application happening simultaneously. God can give you insight at any point in your study, so be sensitive to His leading. When words or passages make an impression on you, stop for a moment and meditate on what God has shown you. Bring the plumb line of truth against what you believe and how you are living.
Through a diligent study of God's Word, under the guidance of His Spirit, you'll drop a strong anchor that will hold in the storms of life. You will know your God. And when you know your God, not only will you be strong, but you will do great exploits for Him (Daniel 11:32, NKJV).

It is important to note that, while inductive Bible study or any other method is helpful to Christ-Followers as we delve into God’s Word, ultimately it is the Spirit of God who opens the Scriptures to us because He has first opened our hearts to Truth. It is the Spirit who interprets spiritual truth to those who are spiritual. The natural man does not and cannot understand spiritual truth (2 Corinthians 2:12-14). So before attempting any Bible study method, we must be sure we have the Holy Spirit living in our hearts (1 Corinthians 6:19) through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Adapted from Kay Arthur's "How to Study the Bible"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dream a New Dream


Without vision – dreams – imagination – the people DIE!! Proverbs 29:18

The road less traveled is never easy and there are few if any traffic jams.

We are to keep dreaming until the day we die. You are never too old to go after the dream that is in your heart. God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or think – more than I can ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20. Commit to the Lord whatever you do and all your plans will succeed. 

God will cause our thoughts to become agreeable with His will! (Proverbs 16:3)

Set Goals – Goals are dreams with deadlines. Whatever is good and perfect comes from God. (James 1:17) Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things (goals, dreams) will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

When you pursue you dreams you set the stage for others to pursue their dreams.

When you have a vision & a dream you can overcome ANY obstacle.

What‘s next? It’s not time to wake up!
·       The dream is not over
·       The sky’s the limit – Set high goals & Take action
·       Limitless – Take the lid off, follow your dream!

It’s time to DREAM A NEW DREAM!

Dream big Dreams!! Pray big Prayers!! Everything is possible when you really believe it! Faith to Believe – With God ALL things are possible.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

May you keep dreaming until the day you die. May imagination overtake memory. For we are more than conquerors. Romans 8:37

Keep the Faith and Keep Dreaming!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. - Colossians 3:15 

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Never Give Up

Have you ever had one of those days you do something not quite knowing why? Today was one of those days for me. I don't usually read email or text first thing in the morning before I do my devotional, but I was prompted to do so today.

I saw I had a text message from a friend and she quoted this scripture from Galatians 6:9 - " Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." I thanked her for the Word she had sent out but it was her response that gave me pause "some days I want to throw in the towel." Wow my God - I'm thinking I need to get to her, this is my friend, I know she knows the Lord but is she in crisis. But God in His providence, heard her cry and a flood of angels came to her rescue. 

Don't discount the power of friendship. God knows just what we need when we need it - she sent that message in a group text and we all responded with Words of encouragement. He will use you if you will let Him. The some of the rest of her text that went on to say, "This word (Galatians 6:9) spoke directly to my soul...hold on reaping season is coming..."

Here's a few of the responses that flooded her way...

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Hebrews 10:35 says, "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded."

Grab on to God's hand, then let go and let God.Please don't let life's situation wear you out. Hebrews 4:11 says "make every effort to enter His rest." 

We serve an amazing God and we have to be obedient to His promptings and respond. We never know when someone we know and love needs an encouraging Word. Let Him use you.

Because, if we keep our focus on him--not looking right or left, not distracted--we will not be shaken and go straight. Of course, there are struggles in life which try to shake and pull you off the right line. You might not always walk in a straight line, but with your focus on Jesus you see where you are heading. 

In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says that if you trust in the Lord with all your heart, God will make your path straight. The more important part in this verse is: “do not lean on your own understanding.” I think this is important to know.

God’s path won’t always make sense. With your focus on him it will be straight. If we keep our focus on him--not looking right or left, not distracted--we will not be shaken. Of course, there are struggles in life which try to shake and pull you off the right line. You might not always walk in a straight line, but with your focus on Jesus you see where you are heading. 

Those verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 says that if you trust in the Lord with all your heart, God will make your path straight. The more important part in this verse is: “do not lean on your own understanding.” I think this is important to know. 

When life seems difficult and complicated, say these words...

"I rest in you when I grow weary, I rest in you when my circumstances seem hopeless."
"I rest in you when I feel life is stressful." 
"I rest in you when I'm tempted to do things in my own strength." 
"I rest in you because it does not depend on me." 
"Lord I Rest In You. Almighty, El Roi (The God who sees and cares)."

Never give up, no matter how dark the clouds over your head. God has a plan for you that will bring unsurpassed joy to your life.

God may change your direction but He will not abandon you. If you persist, you will discover the purpose He has designed for your life and that will bring you more satisfaction than you can possibly imagine. Never give up! 

“We will not be shaken” 

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Joy...What does it mean?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Count it all joy… James 1:2-3 (NKJV)

What does it mean to “count it all joy?”

To respond to difficulties with joy seems absurd. James knows this, and so in verse 3 he offers his answer to our natural question: Why should we rejoice in the face of trials? He doesn’t say if you face trials, but whenever you face them. He assumes that we will have trains and that it is possible to profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook (“consider it pure joy”) because of what trials can produce in our lives. James tells us to turn our hardships into times of learning. Tough times can teach use perseverance.

Trials have a purifying quality; they are the arena in which and the process through which something good develops. Trials can have this effect as a result of the means of “testing”. The root of this word means “approved character,” so we can see the close link between the testing and its intended result.

We cannot really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It’s easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but we can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. 

Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask Him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient, God will not leave you alone with your problems, He will stay close and He will help you grow.

You are blessed and be a blessing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What I did in October

I did it! I accepted and completed the challenge from the #write31days community. When I first heard about this a few years ago, a group of ladies from my church got together to encourage each other on. Initially, I never thought of myself as a blogger but since that time I have use this blog as a medium to post encouraging thoughts and scriptures, Bible bits and commentaries, a wildlife-nature series using pictures from my personal photo library, craft ideas and a place from my Online Bible Studies. 

It's encouraging me to continue writing and posting my personal thought and sharing with you. What I like most about the 31 day challenge is it keeps me focused, reading and opening up God's Word daily. So next year I'd like to encourage and challenge you to take the 31 Day Journey as an active participate. It happens each year in October. 

Here's the link to all 31 Days!

So stay tuned as I consider what my next series will be and as always...

Be blessed and be a blessing! This is the day the Lord has made - Rejoice and be glad!

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