Sunday, October 29, 2017

Study Methods

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 302: Today, I am grateful for different study methods. 

Learning has been a theme this past week. I guess it continues one more day.

We all learn differently. But, we can all learn. The "S.O.A.P." method of Bible is a favorite of mine. 

Scripture. Observations. Application. Prayer.

It is interactive, involves language analysis, color and prayers. What better way to invite our Lord to reveal his heart through His Word. If Bible study is "boring", I invite you to try a new way of study. His living, life breathing word is many things, but boring is not one of them. 

This image from pinterest includes Mark 4:24. If you want straight, to the point and relevant, Mark is the gospel book for you. Mark captures many of the parables of Jesus. He is not particularly wordy, so it is a great place to try out the SOAP method.

Mark 4 holds several parables Jesus used to teach. The Parable of the Lamp seems brief, but it has many layers:

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”-Mark 4:21-25
We live in a time that the media has a powerful influence over the culture. Political and personal agendas run deep. We invite them into our homes when we turn on the television. Sorting through it all can be overwhelming. 
What did Mark write: “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. "
In college was the first time I realized the power of the media. I did a brief time with our college radio station with one of my communications classes. Morning news, an afternoon spot and occasionally the late night chair. It was the news experience that sticks with me to this day. 
We had an Associated Press ticker tape connection that feed the radio studio the news of what was up in the world. I chose what would be shared. I was probably 19 or 20 years old...  and I had the responsibility of sharing what the listeners would hear and know. I had limited time, so some things would be left out. Others would be highlighted. My choice. 
We had excellent guidance and common sense from Professor Toland. The guy was always listening and watching. I had more experienced peers... passionate about radio...  who helped when I asked for it. Still, there was that moment of decision where I held the power. I still shake my head in wonder when I reflect on those days. 
Because news is always breaking and relevant. It is tough to apply a SOAP style method to insure accuracy and understanding of the events at hand. 
It is not that way with our Bible Study. We need to responsibly read God's word for ourselves and not merely choose the interpretation we receive from others... picking and choosing what we like and what we don't . "Sharper than a two-edged sword" it pierces our hearts. With modern study tools, anyone can read, study and understand. Study with others and savor the collective way the Holy Spirit leads us when we seek his face together. 
Today, I am grateful for different study methods... and study partners.  

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