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?