Tag: Interpretation

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??

Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans! You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled. You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win!

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You. If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start. Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important. Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial. Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application. Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?

A big part of the burden to hear from You, then, is on me to listen to what You have already said. But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You

Thank You for Your Word.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.

Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

 

 

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Oct 31 Don’t drift away

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Father, Paul reminds the Hebrews of something I need to remember too: “We must pay more attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”  

“What we have heard” is the message spoken by You through Your prophets and Your Word.

If I do not pay attention, I may misunderstand or misinterpret what You are saying to me.  If I do not study to understand the context of Your Word, I may miss the true meaning. I have heard verses of scripture taken completely out of context to make a point. But when placed back with the other verses around them, and looking at what the author was saying and to whom he was speaking, it may make an entirely different point! So I must pay careful attention to understand Your Word correctly.

Besides merely understanding what is said, (which is a big thing in itself) I must be sure I am not drifting away from what it means in my own life. How many times have I read a scripture and missed seeing a personal application? To make sure I “do not drift away”, I need to ask questions as I read Your Word; such as: Is this giving me an example of what to do? Of what not to do? Is it a warning to heed? Is it teaching me something about You I need to know? About myself? About my motives, attitudes, or relationships that need changing?

One way I can grasp it – it’s as if Your Word is a dock, and I am in a small boat. If I tie my rope to the dock, I will not drift, or be carried away by currents or by storms.  But first I need to recognize where I can tie up, and then I must actually tie there. So I need to understand, and act on Your Word.

Lord, help me pay better attention to Your Word and how to apply it to my life. Show me how to follow through on what You tell me. Amen

Hebrews 2:1-4

Oct 19 You speak to me…

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Father, You invite me to “Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.” Lord, I do call on You. For there is so much I do not know!

Father, would You help me understand more of Your Word. I have studied long and hard to answer the questions: What does scripture say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me? These are the three main questions scholars study to understand what is also called Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

I have looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek languages. And made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events to make things clear in my mind. I have examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture to understand better. And read the same passage in different translations to shed more light on meaning. I have read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background for scriptures. And looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning.

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity. And have changed the way I look at and value and am amazed by Your precious Word. Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately. Father, keep speaking! Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life. Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation. When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love. When I see the mountains I envision Your grandeur and strength. As I watch the ocean, I am awed by You immenseness. And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another. It is mesmerizing, comforting. Floating on the waves, I feel the surge and power of the water, and the unseen forces that pull me out to sea. Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty. All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You. Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

Colors, sounds, wind, smells – all these things and more draw me to You and Your creative character. It all makes me wonder: what would this awesome, amazing, majestic God, want with me?

Father, show me how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You. Show me how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one to honor You. Teach me how to not let my temper and irritability get the better of me. Show me how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated. These are some of the things that I do not know that hamper my everyday living to honor You. So I call to You. As You answer me, reveal more great and unsearchable things to me. Amen

Jeremiah 33:3