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A Method for the Biblical Exercises

The biblical exercises will guide you through a self-study of a passage that relates to the session topic. You’ll begin by making observations about the passage. Pay attention to the following categories:


Identify persons in the passage: the description of persons, the relationships between persons, and the condition of persons.


Identify subjects in the passage: the issues or topics being addressed.


Identify time in the passage: duration of time that passes and when the events occurred in relationship to one another.


Identify places in the passage: the descriptions of locations, the relationships of places to other places, and the relationships of persons to the places.


Identify purposes in the passage: the expressions of purpose by the author and/or the characters.


Identify events in the passage: the descriptions of events unfolding, the relationships between events, and the order of events.

In Living By the Book, Dr. Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks identify six categories that aid the process of observation. They encourage readers to “look for things that are (1) emphasized, (2) repeated, (3) related, (4) alike, (5) unalike, or (6) true to life.”

After you make observations, you will interpret the passage. Interpretation involves determining what the main point of the passage is. Then you’ll reflect on how the main point applies to your life. Be sure to ask for God’s guidance in your reflection. After all, the purpose of Scripture is for God to speak to us and, as a result, for our lives to be transformed.

Related Topics: Basics for Christians

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