TITLE: Living Word
By Helga Doermer
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Three decades ago I took my first class on Bible Study. I didn’t even last through the first assignment. Challenged to note every time the word ‘sheep’ was mentioned in a never ending passage, I put down the project on the inductive method of Bible Study at about the hundredth sheep. To say the least, counting sheep put me to sleep and I dropped the course out of sheer boredom.
It must have been about twenty years later that I awoke to the realization that I was actually studying the Bible. It was something I had not planned or prepared for in any way. It just happened. And it was not an inductive method of study. Rather it grew out of an instinctive curiosity that developed during my devotional time. At the time, I could not give my form of study a name, but it did indeed have a built in methodology.
As I read, there would be a verse or two that would catch my eye even as I read on. After coming to the end of the passage, I would return to that point of interest. Rereading it again, I paid attention to whatever surfaced. Sometimes it was questions like:
Do the words mean anything to me?
Do I understand them?
Do the words have relevance for my life?
If the language of the passage did not have a direct bearing on my little world, I would turn to a couple of resources, such as:
A dictionary to check word meanings
A thesaurus to look up related words.
Another translation of the Bible
By this time, I’d expect to have enough information to translate the historical context to the present day. Usually this would lead to a few more questions, such as:
How does the passage have relevance for me?
What does it addresses?
What does it say to me?
What is it about the passage that caught my attention?
- Was it a reflection of something I am experiencing?
- Is it an answer to something I have been questioning?
- Are these words intended to prepare me for something as yet unknown?
- Do I know someone who would find comfort or encouragement from these words?
Immediate answers or connections were not always apparent. Yet having engaged the reading, I was content to let the questions simmer as I carried on with my day. I believed that when the time was right, the answers would come. And they did.
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