How to Study the Bible Pt 2: Context

Scott McCown:

Again, because a few people are asking, I am re-blogging this short series on How to Study the Bible. Have a great day. Learn from God. Keep praying and keep studying.

Originally posted on The Morning Drive:

“Context is key.”  I can still hear my instructors and professors in my Bible classes atipad 016 Faulkner University saying that over and over and over.  They are right, “Context is key!”  Anyone can take a single verse or a collection of verses from the Bible and make a point.  The point or lesson may or may not be valid or worse even an accurate observation. Critics of the Bible are good at pulling various verses out of context to attempt to disprove the Bible. Those of us who claim to be Christians can also be guilty of pulling verses out of context to prove our arguments.

What follows is an example that I am using to show how someone can misuse the Bible.  It is an extreme example of pretexting or eisegesis.  (** WARNING  **  What you are about to read is incorrect, even if the words are straight…

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How to Study the Bible Part 1 – Read

Scott McCown:

One of the questions often asked to ministers is, “How can I study the Bible better?” Here is an answer I gave to a young lady that asked that question a couple of years ago:

Originally posted on The Morning Drive:

A few weeks before I took my break from posting, a regular reader asked if I could write about how to study the Bible. They said, as a young adult they are used to studying (cramming) for tests in college and often  they find themselves studying the Bible in a similar way. They study for Bible Class, study for Bible Bowl, study so they could prove a point to their friends or even parents, so like many of us, they feel like they are “hit and miss” with their Bible study. So the question remains, how does one study the Bible?

Start by simply reading the Bible the way you would any book. This starts by purchasing a Bible you will read.  Some versions are more cumbersome than others by virtue of the style of language.  Find a version that you can easily read, then:

  • Read in canonical order, that…

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My Secret to 25

Amy on our wedding day 8.12.89

Amy on our wedding day 8.12.89

Twenty-five years ago today Amy and I walked back up the aisle at College Church of Christ (now University Church of Christ) in Montgomery, Alabama after Dr. Donnie Hilliard pronounced us husband and wife.  Twenty-five (25) years!

“Happy Anniversary, Amy!”

With the arrival of this milestone I want to let you in on our secret(s).  Here are a list of simple things that we do that I think no that I KNOW made 25 years possible and I know will make the next 25 even more wonderful.

  1. Say, “I love you” every day.
  2. Spend time together every day.
  3. Flirt, touch, and flirt some more each day.
  4. Talk together daily.
  5. Text if you cannot call when you are apart during the day.
  6. Do indoor and outdoor chores together.
  7. Find ways to serve your spouse daily.

    The two of us from two weeks ago.

    The two of us from two weeks ago.

  8. Forgive quickly.
  9. Apologize often.
  10. Sit together – close together.
  11. Did I mention to say, “I love you” every day?!

- Scott

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Meet the Minister

Since beginning my work at Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa the last Sunday of May 2014 the congregation has had three “Meet the Ministers” fellowships.  One was a Homemade Ice Cream Social after assembly one Sunday evening. The other two have been smaller groups either at someone’s home or at the building.  There is one more scheduled for this coming Saturday and  I am looking forward to this time of fellowship.  I have met a lot of new friends in the last 12 weeks and soon the students that are a part of Tide 4 Christ will be joining us for the school year and there will be even more Christian family members to meet.

I do not know where all of you choose to assemble on Sunday’s I do not know if you even do.  If you do regularly assemble with Christians, let me introduce you to the minister (preacher) where you attend.  I may not know his name, but after 25

In my study at Central

In my study at Central

years of full time ministry, I know something about him.

  1. He loves God.  I know he does or he would not stand before groups of people and declare the salvation that God planned in Christ.
  2. He believes in God’s grace. Paul says, that our salvation is only by grace through faith.
  3. He loves people. That includes you.  He may occasionally come across a little harsh, but that is because he loves you, knows God loves you, and wants to see you in heaven with God.
  4. He is human.  He will make mistakes. He will unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings.  He will say the wrong thing. He will do something he should not have and not do something he should have. He will forget something important to you.
  5. He needs grace.  He needs God’s grace. Like you the minister where you worship is a sinner standing in need of the grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  6. He is a man of prayer.  He prays for the leaders of the congregation. He prays for the teachers, the parents, the children, the sick, the well, the young, the old, and even for the deacons.
  7. He desires your prayers. He is simultaneously humbled and honored when he knows you are praying for him and for his efforts.
  8. He likes to have fun. He might enjoy bowling, fishing, hunting, making music, playing ping-pong (or corn hole), telling jokes, hearing good jokes, or sitting and talking with you while enjoying a glass of sweet tea or coffee.

If you have not met the minister where you worship, take time to get to know him. If you are a minister, take time to get to know others in the congregation and get to know them.

- Scott

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Separated to Salvation

Be Different!

- Scott

 

 

 

 

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What do you do all day?

I wish I knew how many times children come to me between classes and worship or after worship and ask, “Where do you work?”

I love the puzzled look on their faces, when I say, “Here.”

Their reply is often, “No, I mean the rest of the week!”

Again, I answer, “Here. I work here at the church building.”

I understand their curiosity. They are learning about the world, and want to know what adults do all day.  Occasionally, well more than occasionally, adults will ask preachers similar questions. The conversation usually starts like this, “I have always wanted to ask a preacher this question; ‘What do you do during the week?'”

The short answer is, “I get ready for Wednesday and Sunday, they tend to come around every week.”  But there is more to the answer than those few words, so I am about to let you in on the life of a preacher.  This is not a complaint – I LOVE what I do or I would not do it.  There are vocations that are a lot more stressful than preaching and there are vocations that are less stressful. There are more demanding professions and less demanding professions.  This is simply an answer to a question people often ask. This is my schedule, other ministers may do things differently.

Some of the older books in my library.

Some of the older books in my library.

Monday morning is sermon planning, studying, and writing day.  When I arrive at my study at 8:00 I write a message for this blog, usually something that I have been thinking about as I commute. Then after making a To Do List for the week, I dive in to the Sunday morning sermon. I already have a plan for titles or Scriptures I am preaching through the end of the year, but the specifics of the lesson are still a work in progress.  I begin the day reading the passage(s) that relate to the Sunday morning sermon.  I will jot down my reflections, lessons, observations, and such that I see in the text. I try to see what the author was saying and what his original audience was to learn. Then I will research in books and online to see what others think about this passage. This includes any work related to word studies or understandings from the original language of the text. After lunch I break from the morning sermon to work on Wednesday Bible class (the process is much the same). The rest of the afternoon I reply to read extra material mail, email, make phone calls, or visits. I leave the study at about 3:00.  Monday evenings for me are regular meetings with the elders as we work together to strengthen the local congregation of God’s people.

Tuesday morning after arriving at about 8:00, I will again write for the Morning Drive. Then it is back to Sunday morning’s sermon.  By 10:00 a.m., I want to have the final outline on my computer and in the App I preach from (Olive Tree for iPad). Then I move on to Sunday evening’s sermon.  At Central, the evening lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes long. We have a 30 minute worship assembly then fellowship with each other or break into small groups to discuss the lessons and spend time in prayer. Most of the time this shorter sermon is material that reinforces the Sunday morning lesson. After lunch I will then finalize class for Wednesday including any hand-outs and PowerPoint (KeyNote, HaikuDeck, or Prezi). Again the afternoon is for mail, email, calls, and visiting.

Wednesday is different for me. because I currently commute an hour to my study, I do not come to the building on Wednesday until that evening. I will take time at home to go the the study I have at the house and review my material for Wednesday class and the sermons in progress.  Of course, I am on-call and available for those that need to talk, study, or would like to pray with me. We arrive at Central early and share a brown-bag meal with others who arrive early.

What I looked like as I was writing this blog this morning.

What I looked like as I was writing this blog this morning.

Thursday is back to the routine.  Arriving at 8:00 I will write this blog, if I have an idea for a post, and then get back to the sermons.  Thursday I will create any Prezi, PowerPoint, or HaikuDeck I need for the Sunday morning sermon. Then I will create a Live Event for YouVersion – this is simply an electronic version of the outline handouts preachers prepare. I will also finalize Sunday evening’s sermon. After lunch, I will research, study, and write lessons for the Sunday morning Bible Class I teach. The rest of the afternoon is for communication and visiting.

Friday morning I again arrive at 8:00, This day is for making certain I am ready for Sunday.  I will study over all lessons make any corrections, and then practice preaching them to myself – not in the auditorium, but sitting at a desk, I read through them imagining myself standing before the congregation. I also review Sunday morning Bible Class.  Every week I try to take time to make a video about the coming Sunday. This one minute video is something members can share with friends on social media as a way to invite them to be with us as we worship God. After lunch, I get my study ready for Monday and the lessons I will work on the following week.

Friday evening and Saturday are family days and often youth or church-wide events.

Sundays are classes, worship, and fellowship like all other Christians, except I get to talk during the sermon time ;-).

That is it, that is what I do.  Now you know.

- Scott

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Dear Preacher

Dear Preacher,

Every time I am at church, I hear the same message.  You folks at church are always asking members to give.  I thought I would give you a list of what we already give up for God and the Church.

  • I give up four hours a week for Bible classes and worship when I come both Sunday and Wednesday.
  • I give up staying up late on Saturdays so I am not tired on Sundays.
  • Speaking of Sundays, A lot of my friends and co-workers go fishing or to the races on Sundays – I don’t.
  • There are certain movies that people talk about that I won’t see (not to mention all the  TV shows, concerts, etc.).
  • I don’t drink alcoholic beverages.
  • I do not use recreational drugs.
  • I give almost 10% of my take-home pay every week.
  • Which means, I have a smaller house than I want, an older car than I want, and I am still saving for that boat.

There is so much more to list, but I think, preacher, that you see my point.  Quit asking me to give and give and give.  Don’t you think it is time that God gave up something for me?

Oh, wait . . . He did!

Cross

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