5 Step Guide to Studying Scripture

We all have our own way of learning and studying, and this is another. Not an exclusive way, not an exhaustive way, but just another little guide to help you keep going!

Excerpts from a post by Brett Kunkle using John as an example application:

STEP #1 – Identify the genre of the biblical passage.

John, like the other gospel writers, is both historian and theologian. John’s gospel is especially interpretive in its approach to history, and therefore, it may be most accurate to call the Johannine narrative a theological biography.

STEP #2 – State your initial understanding of the “generic or intrinsic conception” of the passage.

In John 15:1-8, Jesus gives His disciples final instructions to abide in Him out of love and to love one another.

STEP #3 – Make observations about the literary, grammatical, historical, and cultural contexts of your passage.

John writes to both Jews and Gentiles to persuade them of Jesus’ divine origin and the divine message that He brings. In particular, John focuses his attention on the Pharisees as opponents and contrasts them with what it truly means to follow Jesus. John labels them “the Jews” and gives a negative view of the Jewish authorities throughout the gospel.

STEP #4 – In light of steps 1 through 3, interpret the meaning of the passage.

Knowing that these are some of the last instructions Jesus gives to His disciples, we sense their urgency and importance. In the Old Testament, Israel is portrayed as a vineyard or vine (e.g. Ps. 80:8; Is. 5:7; Hos. 10:1) and God is the one who cares for the vine. The analogy demonstrates the dependency relationship. In the same way, Jesus identifies Himself as the vine that His followers are dependent upon. If they do not “abide in” Him, they cannot produce the fruit of good works that marks every believer.

STEP #5 – Apply the passage to life.

These passages very clearly state that as a community of believers we are to love one another, just as Jesus has loved us. This is a tall order, but at the same time, it must be attainable if Christ has commanded us to do so. We can certainly look to Jesus as our model and see expressions of this kind of love in His life. Indeed, when the community of God is marked by this love, it will be evidence to others that we are Jesus’ disciples (13:35).

We need to evaluate our love in light of Jesus’ love, and not by the standard of love of those around us. When we compare ourselves to others, we can rationalize quite easily and make ourselves look pretty good in our own eyes. However, when we see our love in the light of Jesus’ love, we are humbled.

Also, as one whose work largely deals with apologetics and theology, this was a much needed reminder that my love for the other members of the body is a more powerful “argument” for the truth of Christianity than any of the intellectual arguments I can marshal. My hope and prayer is that people can see my love for others, even in my apologetic presentations.

Source: STR Blog

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