Summer Series

Bible 101 – Week 3: Wind in Your Hair

Bible 101 – Week 3: Wind in Your Hair

It’s week three of our #livesaltedsummerseries. Last week, we introduced the idea of the Whole Hand Metaphor, focusing on our pinky – Hearing the Word of God; this week we will be jumping into our ring finger – Reading. There are SO many ways to read this Bible, and this week we’ll focus on skimming the Word with the intention of developing the overall theme and tone of a particular book. It is imperative that we take in the arc of scripture so that when we dig deep, we understand the context from which each verse comes and do not misuse or mistreat the Word of God. Let’s feel the wind in our hair as we cruise through the Bible!


It’s week three, and if you are just joining us, not to worry! We are stoked you are here. Take your time over this next week to read through the last two posts of our #livesaltedsummerseries… try SOAP; take a day to listen to a podcast or SEEDS in your car… The goal of our study is to give you a crash course in Scripture so that you can gain a firm grasp on the Word of God and ultimately grow in relationship with JESUS.

The goal is not head knowledge, but heart transformation

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” –Romans 12:2

As you read, allow time for that twelve inch journey between head and heart so that you might be transformed!

That said, I know this study could be like drinking from a firehose with all of its information, so take it at your own pace!

Ways to dig deep into the study:

  • Print out the posts
  • Take them with you
  • Start a small group
  • Make it your own!  

The goal is to draw near to the heart of God through what He reveals to you in His living Word, and that will be different for each person. So experiment, and figure out what works best for you! 

My mentor in college shared this quote with me; it is one of my favorites: “I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a tea cup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.” -Brennan Manning

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Truly, I just shatter at the mere vastness of God’s love.

My prayer for you is despite sometimes feeling as if getting through scripture is overwhelming, heady, and more work than joy, that you will remain disciplined with the end goal in mind – joy, contentment, deep peace, and a friendship with God! I also pray as your knowledge of the One who is behind it all expands, that something supernatural would transpire in the recesses of your heart. And before you know it, you become entirely consumed by the mystery and grandeur of a love relationship with Jesus.

With that….Let’s get to it!

The Whole Hand Metaphor 

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Last week we introduced the idea of the “Whole Hand Metaphor”, focusing on the idea of hearing the Word of God; this week we will be jumping into the ring finger: READ.

Reading Scripture – The Ring Finger

When you ask someone how they read the Bible, you are going to get a plethora of different responses. Some people read it verse by verse, analyzing each one along the way; others read a chapter at a time; some read through the Bible over a year. For this week, we are going to focus on the idea of reading through the Bible to gain understanding of overarching idea and tone. {And you studious ones, don’t worry – the next few weeks we will be digging deep into particular verses!}

Memory Verse #3:

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***Download this week’s screensaver (Iphone Desktop

Skimming the Bible

In Week 1, I related an analogy my husband shared, likening Bible reading to a speed boat. He expressed how we often skim across the surface of the Bible {like a speed boat} without really slowing down to explore the depths of the water {as one would in a glass bottomed boat}. Marshall encouraged me to slow down to really press deep into the Bible. And while I believe this is imperative, I also believe it is essential we start with the overall arc and tone of Scripture before we dive deep into a particular passage.  Some of the greatest damage done by our brothers and sisters in the church has come as a result of taking verses out of context. We need to understand the whole story so that when we evaluate a particular verse, it is in accordance with the text surrounding it.

When we take a verse out of context, we give it meaning it never intended to have and it can create great difficulty in our comprehension of the character and purposes of God.

It is imperative that we not only read every verse in the context of the surrounding sentences, but often evaluate it in light of where it is placed within a paragraph, a chapter and even an entire book.

Let’s be women who understand the arc of scripture, the story line, the character of the God behind the words; let’s be women who look for tensions in the text and dance with them rather than be repelled by them.

Let’s be whole-hearted women who work out our bodies and our brains!

So save your scuba gear for next week, because this week we will be skimming the surface to get an overview of things and take stock of the whole bay and the surrounding land.

Get Readymakejesusapriority

To make the most of this study, you will have to set time aside. You have to find a time in your week where you can kick back with a yummy snack, a cup of tea {try a London Fog – the coziest treat} and a quiet spot with your Bible {I recommend The Voice or The Message for readability, but any version will do}! It could be on Saturday mornings when our posts come out, or another time during the week- whatever you do, I encourage you to make it a routine time and habit. When you make Jesus a priority, you cannot fathom what experiences He has in store for you.

So, are you ready for your challenge? 

The Epistles

The Epistles, or letters, are part of the Biblical library and account for every book found in the New Testament except for the Gospels {Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John}, Acts and Revelation – there are 21 in all! You will do best to read them in their entirety, before diving into particular verses to study. This week, pick a letter and read! Some are just a page or two, others are petite novellas. All are alive!

theepistles

Who wrote them?

They are written by a lot of different men, but a man named Paul {read about his story here} authored the majority of them – 13 to be specific.  The other letters were written by Jesus’ half-brothers, {James and Jude} and other disciples, Peter and John. For a brief rundown of each, read here.

How are they written?Psalms119-130

Letters from the first century had a particular structure; consider the format that a letter to you would have today:

  • A beginning {a greeting to you}
  • A specific purpose or intention {to inform you or address something}
  • A particular tone {a letter offering you a job vs a letter from your best friend}
  • An end {a well wish, a closing from the person who wrote it}.

There are a few differences as a 1st Century letter is a bit upside down in comparison to what we are used to:

Structure of a 1st Century Letter:

  • They began with the identity of the person who wrote the letter. {“Paul, a servant of Christ, called to be an apostle…”}
  • Following, the recipient would be identified {To al those in Rome who are loved by God…}
  • A greeting
  • A prayer, wish or thanksgiving
  • The body of the letter
  • Final greeting or farewell {The grace of God be with you}

Why were they written?

While the letters vary some based on this structure, the one thing that remains true for all is that they were occasional, meaning they were written for a particular time and place with particular purpose. The original recipient of the letter is not you and me!  

lettersAll of these letters were written in the first century; they arose because of a doctrine that needed correcting, a thankfulness for a particular act of generosity or friendship, or a misunderstanding that needed clarifying. Some were addressed to individuals, while many were for the “church”. The first century church was not a particular building or gathering, either. The “church”, as the Bible defines it, is ALL of the followers of Jesus. So, when Paul wrote to the church in Rome, that letter was intended for every believer in that given area.  Which is why each of these letters is relevant to you and I today as we are an extension of the church

One thing to note is that these letters are an excerpt of a longer conversation. In fact, 1 Corinthians is the second letter in a series {as noted in the letter itself}.   Each letter addresses questions or scenarios, but we don’t have the original questions or scenarios to evaluate, so we must be detectives to the best of our ability to “play telephone” and try and figure out what the person or people on other end is communicating!

Challenge #3:

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As you read, ask these questions {You may do a little googling beforehand to figure out some of the details if you don’t have a bible that helps you out with context!} and jot down brief notes in the margin or your journal.

Questions to consider when reading the Bible:

  • What should you note as you take in the big picture? 
  • Who is the author? What is his tone/attitude?
  • Who is the recipient? What do you notice about them? {Rich, poor, group of people, individual, attitudes or issues?}
  • What is specific to the occasion of the letter? Why did it seem to be written?
  • What are the natural divisions of the letter? {look at the general structure above and remember that not all of these are included in every letter!}

Grab two color highlighters, and be ready to mark things up as you go. Maybe pink for the things that you love and strike a chord in your heart. And yellow could be the words you don’t understand or tensions you observe {things you don’t like or don’t understand at first glance}. Try not to worry too much about the colors and highlighting right now, though; we are going to revisit these in the coming week with some tools for how to dig and learn and make sense of things. The big point for this week is to get the feel for the entire letter. 

So… get to it right now! Choose one of the Epistles and read it. Go through the above questions, jot down notes, and try to get the over idea of the book. 

Once you have done it… do it again, but this time in a different translation. Try ESV, The Message and The Voice for contrast. On Bible Gateway you can use a tool to compare the translations side by side- give that whirl as you feel the wind in your hair as you zoom back and forth across the bay of translations.

ReadingtheWord

 

Extra Credit:

Read through Psalm 139 in its entirety in The Voice. Maybe even it a try it aloud! A great resource to understand the arc of scripture is Tim Day’s  God Enters Stage Left.

Recap:

Read, take it in, and get ready to be transformed as you let God’s word work its way in to every part of your heart and life!

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Final Thoughts:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.54.40 PM

Last night, I was overwhelmed with prayer for you. With all my men tall and small in bed, I prayed and painted with you on my heart.

 

You, my friend, represent the ends of the earth. You need not go a million miles to reach the nations. They are next door. There is no more important generation than yours to complete the great commission. As I sit in a coffee shop this morning writing,  letting the love of Jesus which overflows out of my heart splash about… the nations are being told of His great love. YOU are the nations. YOUR friend, YOUR coworker, YOUR mom or dad or brother or sister or cousin, YOUR teammate, YOUR people represent the far corners of the earth.

“Salt yourself” this morning. Dive into the living Word of our Savior and best friend and good Father. And then go and season the world that you live in. The place where God has planted you is significant. Make it sweeter and saltier and spicier. Make it more peace-loving and more truthful and more compassionate and more generous. Make it more purposeful and more healing and more dynamic and more rich. Whether you plan to be there a day or a lifetime. Do not wait. Love God, and do the things that He has put in you that bring the greatest delight. Work hard. Run fast. Rest whole-heartedly, and know that GOD is God. And you are not. And that is good news.

You are so entirely, wonderfully, unfathomably loved.

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