Five Basic Questions to Help You Study the Bible

I’m coaching several young men and women on how to explore the bible for themselves as well as how to share biblical messages. It’s really part of discipleship. One of the key things we do is use are these five basic questions to help us understand the text we are studying. I call them diagnostic questions because they help us to diagnose the spiritual meaning behind the text. It’s important to note that these questions are not original with me, and I don’t know the original source.  (If you do know a quotable source, I’d like to know, so please comment below so I can give proper credit).

5 questions

Generally I’ll have someone read the passage out loud to the group. We will follow along in our own bibles. Then I’ll begin by asking these questions one at a time. We pause long enough after each question to answer. Our answers come from the scripture itself and if someone wants to know more about an individual’s answer they can ask, “Which verse did you pull that from?” This helps to keep the conversation on track and thoroughly centered on the scripture.

So here are the questions we ask:

  1. What does this passage teach about God?
  2. What does this passage teach about man?
  3. Is there a command to obey, an example to follow, or a promise to claim?
  4. Is there a sin to confess or avoid?
  5. How do I need to specifically apply this to my life?

The last question becomes a spring board into personal application. It’s where we move from the generalities to specific areas of application. When sharing in a group setting it is important that your group is comfortable enough with one another that they can share person struggles and desire to see God have victory in different areas of their life.

These five questions are helpful on most biblical passages. They are a great way to communicate about what the passage actually teaches and to come to some conclusions about personal application. I like that it is easy to model and easy to reproduce. I’ve had leaders pick up this model and use if for bible studies. Indeed, I picked it up along the way from someone else, whom I am sure picked it up from someone else, etc. There is no telling where it began (seriously, if you know tell me).

10 Reasons Why I Taught My Children to Pray Lord’s Prayer

At the writing of this post my kids are 4 and 8. Both have learned the Lord’s prayer and have been quoting it each night from memory for quite some time now. The Lord’s Prayer, or as it is also called, the Model Prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-13 where Jesus teaches his follower how  to pray. Here are 10 reasons why I found it important for my kids memorize this (each one memorized it around age 3 before they could read).

10. So when some genius says, “the sinner’s prayer isn’t in even in the scripture” they can just start quoting scripture… “Thy Kingdom come… Forgive us our sins” (Maybe I’ll teach them Psalm 51 as well).

9. I don’t think they will come up with anything cooler on their own since this is the way that Jesus taught the disciples how to pray.

8. To improve and expand upon their capacity to memorize information.

7. To help hide scripture in their heart that is obviously both immediately relevant and applicable.

6. To provide a reference point for teachable moments… “It’s like we say in the Lord’s prayer…”

5. To give them confidence in prayer.

4.So they learn forgiveness through remembering what it is like to be forgiven.

3. So the will learn to be Kingdom focused rather than self-centered in their prayers

2. The Lord’s Prayer is a map straight to the heart and character of God.

1. So That They might Know God. (both at times have prayed on their own small childlike prayers of faith for the forgiveness of their sins and to follow God based on the Lord’s prayer).

Teaching Our Kids to Take Risk

There are 2 kinds of danger when it comes to being a dad.  There is the danger that fills our world and we must make provision to protect our children.  We protect and provide for our kids by plugging up electrical sockets with those clear plastic things and placing cleaning chemicals beyond reach.  We train our children to hold our hand, to be suspicious of strangers and to stay away from stray neighborhood pets that “might” secretly hate children.  We scare away the nightmares and wipe away the tears.  We teach our kids to wash their hands.  We tell them if they are lost to find a police officer or a woman (women are slightly less likely to be child predators than men… I know its profiling and I really don’t care when it comes to the safety of my child).  We teach them to be safe.

Then there is the other kind of danger.  Its the danger of being too safe.  Its the danger of teaching our kids to  stay close to home and not take risk.  There will be times when my children will need to take risks. I’m failing as a dad if I do not push my kids out of the nest at some point and say, “You have to ride the bike with out the training wheels.”  Other wise I end up with a 30 year-old kid stuck living at my house who cries at the injustice of running out of cheerios for breakfast.

The reality is that most things worth doing in life involve taking calculated risk and being dangerous.  To ask my wife out on our first date I had to risk rejection.  To keep a few people with me safe from harm I had to risk my life or bodily injury (thankfully I won the gamble on that one).  To share the gospel with people in one of our inner cities I had to risk exposure to an area with a high crime rate (I grew up in rural America).  To follow God’s call on my life I had to risk selling our house in a down market and move an hour away to another city.

Sometimes risk is good.  Sometimes we fall on our faces even after taking well thought through and calculated risk.  I guess the line  between risk and safety comes when “right” or “reward” enters the equasion.  I asked my wife out because of the possible reward of finding a wonderful marriage partner (by the way I am glad I did). I stood between a man recently released from jail and two young ladies he was threatening because it was the right thing to do.  I would rather my kids do the right thing than the safe thing, I would rather them risk in pursuit of worthy goals than never have them attempt anything worthwhile.

Perhaps the hardest part of parenthood is giving our kids the right to fail and the freedom to take risk.

How do you teach your kids to interact with a dangerous world?

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