SDA Sabbath School Lessons
January 20, 1996

#3 Learning to Interpret the Bible Text

Read for this week's study:

Memory text: 2 Timothy 2:15

Key thought:

To know the will of God for their lives and to be equipped for service, Christians must spend time studying their Bibles. The challenge is to interpret correctly a text that was written so long ago in the "then and there" and to see its relevance to the "here and now"

Why Do I Neet to Know How to Study?

Whey you open your Bible, you are immediately struck with the varied styles in which God's written revelation is presented. There are history lessons and poetry, laws and psalms, gospels and epistles (letters), direct teaching and hundreds of illustrations. The Bible comes to us through the various forms (genres) chosen by the inspired writers to frame God's messages to us. To understand Scripture, we must spend time sorting out the styles in which God's counsel to us is presented. For example, we need to know how we can understand a piece of poetry, a psalm, or a message of praise directed to God by a writer in antiquity. We need to understand how the cultural circumstances in which the Bible authors wrote are reflected in the language and images they used to express God's thoughts. We will be rewarded as we recognize the relevance for us of truth written so long ago.



A contextual approach to Bible passages we are endeavoring to understand involves: (1) seeking an understanding of the cultural setting in which the passage was written; (2) considering thelarger context of the passage within the book in which it occurs; (3) determinig the true meaning of a passage in its immediate context; (4) learning something of the mood of a passage or a book. By thinking about the context of a passage under study, we catch a glimpse of the feelings and motivations of the biblical authors or characters.

Coded by Dave Albrecht.
Last updated on January 8, 1996.