A warm smile flashed across Hugh’s face as he entered the Sunday School classroom. Hands around the room were clapping with a joyful beat like that of a victorious college football or basketball team arriving at home. Cheers filled the room.
Until this moment, Hugh hadn’t realized his absence over the last couple of months had impacted the lives of these people in the room. His mother’s sudden illness and the Christmas holidays interrupted his plans to teach the class how to study God’s Word.
“Thank you, so much! I am humbled by your applause. Thank you for the emails, the cards, the text messages, and prayers. Each act of love meant so much to us. Mom is recovering from her illness. I pray your Christmas and New Years brought joy and peace to you and your families.”
“Now, let’s return to where we left off. We are learning to use a Chapter annotation or outline as we begin to study a text. This will allow us to get a clearer literary context for our focal passage.”
“Someone tell me, where is the proper place to begin our Bible study?”
“Correct, Lynn. Step one is Prayer. We always acknowledge our need for the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds to God’s revealed truth. Let us pray.”
The second step leads us to read the chapter at least 5 times. We might want to read it in 2-3 or more translations as well. Why might we do this?
“Indeed, Harry. We are able to see how different words might be understood in our passage. We can see a range of meanings. We might begin to make notes as we read of items that jump out at us as we read.”
“Our third step is to create a catchy title. Be as descriptive and memorable as possible. One to three words is best. For example, 1 Corinthians 13 might be called, ‘The Love Chapter.’ or 1 Corinthians 15, ‘The Resurrection Chapter.'”
“One writer offers the title for John 4 which tells about Jesus and the woman at the well and the nobleman’s son who was healed, “Well-Well!” What might we title Mark 1? What are your suggestions?”
“My title for Mark 1 is, ‘Jesus, the Noise-Maker!” What do you think?”
Our fourth step is where we gain the title for our exercise. We need to summarize or annotate the contents of the chapter. Our Chapter is Mark 1. You might find it helpful to use an outline format, or a list format of the major points/ parts of the chapter or even a bullet list. “
“Remember: You are not seeking to interpret anything yet. Your goal is to record what Mark tells us. Just the facts here. Your outline might look like this:”
“Mark 1: 1-8 – John the Baptist heralds the coming Messiah before Jesus arrives on the scene. “
“Mark 1:9-13 – John the Baptist baptizes Jesus and God, the Father, affirms Jesus’ identity as the Holy Spirit first appears.”
“Mark 1: 14-20 – Jesus raises his voice to call his first disciples to follow Him by faith.”
“Mark 1: 21-34 – Jesus teaches and does miracles. “
“Mark 1: 35-39 – Jesus sets the example and shares His mission with His disciples.”
“Mark 1: 40-45 – Jesus shows who He is with the dominion that He has as the stage is set for the rest of His ministry.”
“Step 5 causes us to read through Mark 1 again. Who are the chief people involved in the chapter? You might list them along with what is said about them or what they might do. What is significant about each of them? Look for pronouns (he, she, they, it, we). Ask yourself, to whom is each pronoun referring? Why are some more important and others so not important in the chapter?”
“Step 6 proves to be one of my favorite steps. You read through the chapter and select the one or two verses that best summarize the contents of the chapter. Did the author state his purpose for writing? What single verse or two verses could you build application from?”
“Step 7 leads us to read through the chapter again. This time watch for comments that tells us about God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. What do we learn about their attributes? Is Jesus seen as powerful, holy? Does the Holy Spirit do anything?”
“Ask yourself, what do I learn about christology? pneumatology? soteriology? ecclesiology? angelology? anthropology? eschatology? or the Christian life?”
“Step 8 – The central lesson and application. This is where you write down what you learned from the previous steps. What insights have you gained from this survey of the chapter?”
“First of all – is personal application – Ask yourself, ‘what major principles or truths do I see that God wants to teach me from this chapter? What is the writer trying to communicate? What changes do I need to make myself? Conclude with these 2 questions, “How do these truths apply to me personally?” and “What specifically am I going to do about these truths?”
“The second area of application is corporate – Ask yourself, how should I understand this chapter’s truths in light of my Sunday School class? my church? my small group? my family? my circle of friends?” What do we need to do as a group?”
BE SPECIFIC with each application statement.
“Our homework for next week is to review steps 5, 6, 7 and 8. Then read through Mark 1. Complete each of the steps 5, 6, 7, and 8. We will discuss these together to see what we each came up with and compare them. We might even vote on which one we feel best answers each step.”
“Study to prove yourself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.”
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