Bible Study of 1 John: Day 161
Observation, Interpretation and Application
Monday, May 22, 2017
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Debbie Holt
I love you, Lord Jesus and I look forward to the week you have already ordained for me this week. Give me your wisdom and faithfulness to carry out any exploits ahead! Amen
I John 4
Last week we looked at the fundamental problem of man … his wicked, sinful heart. You looked at several passages that show that we need a “heart circumcision” that only God can provide! It should cause you to cringe each time you hear someone advise a person to simply “trust your heart”, “do whatever is in your heart”, etc.
Read Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9; NASB)
The heart is used in most literature as a euphemism that represents one’s emotions or human feelings. And as we all know, human emotions are very volatile and fluctuate with daily circumstances or experiences.
Now the reason I’m revisiting a topic we cleared up last week is because chapter 4 opens up with a problem of deception that relates to the truth we just saw in 3:19-24.
Read 1 John 3:19-24
We need to have truth in order to have assurance in our heart and confidence before God. And this truth leads us to obedience (“keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” v.22). Without obedience, your heart cannot be right before the Lord and you cannot abide in Him.
Light and truth have been key repeated words in this epistle, and light and truth lead to obedience to that revealed light and truth. (Got it?) So, let’s just jump right into “your turn”.
Before we end chapter 3, make a list of what you learn about sin and abide.
Read chapter 4 through without pausing:
We want to simply observe the text. You would be amazed at the times people want to jump to interpretation and application without simply reading the text. (By the way … those are the foundational principles of a good Bible study. If you will use this three step approach every time you are studying, you will see less opportunity for misinterpretation. See below for a further explanation.)
Without any distractions, please read chapter 4. Any questions you may have will be answered later this week (hopefully).
What do you think is the main topic or theme in chapter 4?
What are the key words that are repeated several times in this chapter?
(Key words are words that are vital to understanding the meaning of the text. A key word or phrase is one which, when removed, leaves the passage devoid of meaning. Key words reveal the subjects and subjects reveal the theme.)
Look up the Greek word and write out its definition. 1.___________________________________________________________________________________
A brief summary of the 3 pronged approach to Bible study could be this:
Observation answers the question:
What does the passage say?
What is the main thought of the passage?
Interpretation answers the question:
What does the passage mean?
Interpretation flows out of observation – simply reading and looking at the main context of the passage. But interpretation now includes looking at key repeated phrases and words, and defining these words in their original language. Interpretation also includes looking at cross-references to these phrases, words, and themes in the rest of God’s Word so that you can build an accurate picture based on the whole counsel of His Word. This is the “digging in” phase!
Application answers the question:
What will my response be to this truth I’ve just discovered?
This is the step of moving from head knowledge to obedience of this knowledge.
When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life. To be equipped for every good work of life – totally prepared to handle every situation in a way that honors God – is not only possible, it is God’s will!
I might at this point recommend a great study tool for you to use that will help you with this approach. Then you can do ANY book of the Bible on your own. The book is a small paperback that is not too expensive but is very helpful:
The New How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur, David Arthur, and Pete DeLacy.
I love you Lord and I thank You for loving me! Amen.
What is God showing you through this study? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment below.
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