I don’t know Greek. I can’t read Hebrew. There are Bible study tools I learned about in college that I haven’t tried to fit into my toddler and preschool-filled schedule. Sometimes, my brain has had a hard enough time comprehending the English words stringing together into sentences if it’s early enough in the morning or late in the afternoon.
But something that’s helped me immensely in getting to know God and His purposes for me through His Word is by asking questions.
Questions help me start to figure out what a passage says, what it means, and how it applies to my life. And when I take time to ask my own questions about a passage, the Spirit often uses them to help me find some answers.
I recently put together a guide for our women’s Bible study through 1 Samuel, using some great resources like Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word, Jack Klumpenhower’s Show Them Jesus, and David Helm’s One-to-One Bible Reading book. These questions could be used for any Old Testament narrative passage in the Bible, so you can check it out here (or get the whole books for more expansive tools to explore each part of the Bible).
As I’ve studied God’s Word, different seasons have allowed various degrees of study. But as He’s invited me to join Him, revealing His plan of redemption through His Word, I’ve realized that every day I need a constant perspective shift.
I need to zoom out, using God’s Word as a telescope, to remember His kingdom coming, power at work, plan to save, and hope of eternity with Him.
I also need to use His Word as a microscope, zooming in on the miracle of my salvation, adoption, and the righteousness He has given me through Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice. I need to zoom in on the good roles He’s placed me in and how they are lived out in His kingdom, asking His Spirit to lead me in my daily decisions.
And I need a panoramic camera, to see how the Spirit is using believers all across the globe to invite people from every nation to know Him.
If I don’t ask His Spirit to help me zoom in, out, and around, I often fall into depending on my own strength or ability to obey. I compare my pitiful abilities to others’ seemingly-less-pitiful abilities and feel discontent, rather than looking up to Christ, who is completely able to accomplish the Father’s will. I try to figure out a list of what God wants me to do, rather than asking the Spirit to lead me in His good purposes.
Like the stones of remembrance in the Old Testament, each passage I study helps me to remember God’s involvement in a specific place and time, reminding me of His unchanging character at work now and for all eternity.
Here are two questions I like to ask the Spirit to show me when I read a passage:
- How does this passage challenge your understanding about who God is and what He is like? How is this aspect of God revealed–most fully–in Jesus?
- How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self? How does believing the good news change how I live in attitude or behavior?
What questions has God used in your life to show you more of Himself and lead you in His ways?
6 thoughts on “Two Questions to Help Pursue God’s Purposes”
I love the camera imagery–zooming in, out, and around. Helpful shorthand to help us remember to experience the full richness of Scripture!
Alicia, I have really been enjoying your posts. Thank you so much for sharing them.
1 Question I find myself asking, in relation to what I am reading and how it applies to my life;
When I read through passages where any type of sin is taking place, I have been asking the Lord to help me see,
” Where am I guilty?”
I am recovering from self righteousness and it is so easy to read passages of scripture and see it from the perspective of one who has not ever and will not ever do that.
That puts a huge wall up between me and the broken people around me, that need Jesus to heal them.
Thanks so much for sharing your question, Jennifer! I can definitely relate, especially as I see the Israelites worship idols generation after generation. I’ve been challenged to ask the Holy Spirit to give me a deeper desire for Him and freedom from idols and the “sin that so easily entangles.” May you experience His joy as you run with perseverance and love those He brings in your path.
Alicia, my initial comments disappeared in space. As I noted, I am not as articulate as you are. I was impressed by your two questions when reading the Bible.
In general, I ask Jehovah Jireh to enable me to capture the gist of what I read. I also ask for wisdom, courage and strength to walk in the path of righteous and to live victoriously.
I continue to admire your creative insights.
Thanks, Uncle Paul, for your note. I’ve been so thankful for the resources God has brought into my life, so those two questions are a combination of questions I took from a couple of those resources I mentioned in my post. Thanks for your reminder that His Spirit is the One who gives me what I need to live victoriously. It’s so easy for me to try and measure my own strength against the roles and tasks in my life.
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