How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth

Theme

Background

The Occasional Preachers and Leaders in Uplyme Church wanted a series that would enable people to engage with the Bible.  We live in a culture and society that is Bible-starved.  People know very little about the Bible and how to approach it.  Few, even in the church, read the Bible every day, and if they do, they may never have been taught how to read it.  The Bible is not just one book, nor is it a novel, nor is it an instruction manual.  In fact, the approach we use depends sometimes on which book in the Bible we are reading!  Well, more of that later…   The purpose of this course it to equip people to read the Bible – to give them the tools of reading, reflection and application that will last a life-time.

Resources

The book this teaching was based on is called How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth (third edition) by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart.  It is published by Zondervan.  There are copies of the book available for loan or purchase in the church office.  Call (01297 444499) or email Fran at administrator@uplymechurch.org.uk to obtain a copy. This book is on the reading list of many, if not most Bible training courses.  It is recommended by seminaries, Bible colleges, local preaching courses, and churches.  It is an academic book, but it is aimed at non-professional readers too. There are resources for this book available on the Internet if you would like to look up what other people are doing! http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310246046&QueryStringSite=Zondervan (The book page on Zondervan) http://www.anchormb.com/resources_read.htm (Notes from a Baptist Church that may or may not be of some use!)

Tips for Teachers

This series is not about preaching sermons.  We are not taking a text, doing some exegesis and then applying it to our lives – well, not exactly.   In some ways, we are going to lift the lid on some of the preparation we do as teachers.  The plan is to equip our listeners. We will need to think about the teaching methods we employ.  Remember that most people learn, not by listening, but by doing.  Be prepared to let people chat in twos, do occasional group-work, hand out sheets, use the screen or whiteboard, play a video clip, etc.  Be creative in your presentations. It is suggested that each week someone other than the preacher shares the resources they use in reading the Bible.  For example, if it is a Family Worship, then get one of the children to share their Bible notes.

Notes

Week 1: What’s it all about then? PDF

Aims: At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • explain why we need to interpret the Bible
  • explain the difference between the words exegesis and hermeneutics
  • identify the different biblical tools – dictionary, handbook and commentary
  • remember the rule “a text can never mean what it never meant”

RESOURCES: We have Bible dictionaries, handbooks and different commentaries in the church library located in the gallery.

Week 2: Lost in Translation PDF

Aims: At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • explain (in principle) how and why translators make choices
  • explain the difference between literal, dynamic equivalence and free versions of the Bible
  • be able to select an appropriate Bible for home-reading, devotion and/or study

RESOURCES: I suggest you make available a range of Bibles on a table for people to peruse – our Bibles are on the table in the gallery library!

Week 3: Love letters straight from the heart PDF

Aims: At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • explain what an epistle is
  • be familiar with the format of an ancient letter
  • approach a biblical letter to get an overview
  • perform a simple exegesis on a passage from an epistle

Week 4: Herman who? PDF

Aims: At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • explain the difference between eternal and cultural relevance
  • appreciate that Christians interpret the Bible differently and why
  • determine whether a text can be applied to our situation or whether a principle can be derived

Week 5: Time for a story…  PDF

At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • Look out for memory markers in Old Testament narrative.
  • Ask the right questions of the Old Testament narrative text.
  • Explain how the individual narratives fit the wider narrative(s) of The Bible.
  • Avoid pitfalls in reading Old Testament narrative text.

Resources:

Grand Metanarrative slide (click to view)

First Covenant slide (click to view)

 

Week 6: Get your act together  PDF

At the end of this lesson the congregation will be able to:

  • Explain Luke’s intention in writing the book of Acts.
  • Discern what is normative practice and what is possible practice.

Resources:

Quote Slide (click to view)

Week 7: Good News (one story, many dimensions) PDF

At the end of this session the congregation will be able to:

  • Explain (with examples) why there are differences in the four gospels.
  • Be able to perform some simple exegesis (putting the gospel into context) before applying it.

Bible Passage Comparison Recommended Reading: Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 2d edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), pp. 373-546 Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969) Robert H. Stein, The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teaching (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1994) Kurt Aland, Synopsis of the Four Gospels (New York: United Bible Societies, 1975)

Week 8: I don’t get it? (The Parables: Do you get the point?) PDF

At the end of this session the congregation will be able to:

  • Explain (with examples) the different types of parable
  • Explain the purpose of a parable
  • Apply a (3-point) methodology to understanding a parable
  • Explain why the Kingdom of God is NOT like a mustard seed

Week 9: Doing the Deal (The Laws) PDF

At the end of this session the congregation will be able to:
  • Appreciate the context of the law
  • Assess whether a specific law is civic, ritual or ethical
  • Identify aspects of God’s character through an individua law
  • Identify how an individual law is to be a blessing

Week 10: The Enforcers (The Prophets) PDF

Week 11: Psalmistry (The Psalms) PDF

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.