Welcome to Wisdom-Trek with Gramps! Wisdom is the final frontier in gaining true knowledge. Our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, seek out discernment and insights, and boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before. Hello, my friend; this is Gramps; thanks for coming along on our journey to increase Wisdom and Create a Living Legacy Today is Day 1554 of our Trek, and it is time for Meditation Monday. Taking time to relax, refocus, and reprioritize our lives is crucial in order to create a living legacy. For you, it may just be time alone for quiet reflection. You may utilize structured meditation practices. In my life, Meditation includes reading and reflecting on God’s Word and in prayer. It is a time to renew my mind, refocus on what is most important, and making sure that I am nurturing my soul, mind, and body. As you come along with me on our trek each Meditation Monday, it is my hope and prayer that you, too, will experience a time for reflection and renewing of your mind.
We are continuing our series this week on Meditation Monday as we focus on Mastering Bible Study through a series of brief insights from Hebrew Scholar, Dr. Michael S. Heiser. Our current insights are focusing on accurately interpreting the Bible. Today let us meditate on:
Here is what Dr. Heiser has to say about this insight. I’ll admit it. I’m taking a swipe at contemporary preaching. I’m in a grumpy mood. But it’s not just for personal satisfaction. It’ll illustrate something important for Bible study. Honest.
As a Bible college student, I can recall marveling at the preacher’s ability to produce three points from any biblical passage. It didn’t matter how short or long the passage was: three points. You could throw Zephaniah or Obadiah at them: three points. I’ve heard three-point sermons on one verse. In my freshman year of college, we were taught in a sermon prep class; every sermon must have three points and a poem.
As a young pastoral intern, we were required to preach for the pastors each week. I can recall casting aside passages in my Bible that I thought was fascinating or spiritually challenging because I wasn’t clever enough to break it down into three points. I didn’t see the inspired symmetry. Now I can see how ridiculous this was.
It dawned on me one day that the problem wasn’t me. It was the artificial nature of what I was trying to do. The goal of Bible study should be to grasp the meaning of the text. Serious study of the Bible should produce people who can trace the text’s argument or follow a theological breadcrumb trail through a book or section of the Bible. Working in a text means discerning its literary structure, intelligently created by the original authors to communicate to an audience that would have seen what they were doing.
If that sounds like work, it is. If you don’t think Bible study is work, you aren’t doing it. Serious Bible study requires spending time in the original text and learning the art of reading the Scripture as literature, because that’s what it is. Biblical writers did not work without agendas or strategies. Their work isn’t random. They were careful and deliberate about what they were writing. Inspiration isn’t a synonym for amateur hour.
If the goal of Bible study is grasping the meaning of the text, the goal of preaching ought to be communicating that meaning. All too often, what happens in the pulpit isn’t preaching the text— it’s talking about the text. Any Bible student who has occasion to communicate their discoveries to someone else needs to know those enterprises are not the same. One is teaching the text. The other is transmitting your thoughts—in three points—about the text. Give me the former any day.
Word studies are an essential part of Bible study. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion about word meaning. Throughout my Christian experience. I’ve encountered hundreds of flawed conclusions about what a word means in this or that passage.
One of the most common word study fallacies is the presumption that a word’s “real meaning can be discerned by breaking it into constituent parts. Greek sometimes allows this approach. Certain Greek verbs (e.g., kaleo, “to call”) can have prepositions (e.g., eh, “out of, from”) appended to them to form a single word (e.g., ekkaleo, “to call out”). A scholarly Greek-English dictionary’ (often called a lexicon) will help you to discern legitimate instances when this happens. You don’t need to know Greek to use such tools if you are using a reverse interlinear. Biblical Hebrew words do not work this way at all.
It is generally best to avoid the approach altogether. Most words in any language do not mean what their parts mean. For example, words in English like “butterfly” and “quarterback” do not “really” mean that butter flies or that we’re going to get change. Most words in any given language simply don’t work this way. Approaching word studies as though they do is not only unreliable, but can be quite misleading.
The one consistent rule of word study is that word meaning is determined by an author’s context. There’s no shortcut for observing words in context if you want to understand what a biblical writer meant to say.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
That is a wrap for today’s Meditation. Next week we will continue our trek on Meditation Monday as we take time to reflect on what is most important in creating our living legacy. Thank you for joining me on this trek called life. Encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along tomorrow for another day of ‘Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.’
If you would like to listen to any of the past 1553 daily treks or read the daily Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day will be downloaded to you automatically.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most importantly, I am your friend as I serve you through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and Journal.
As we take this Trek of life together, let us always:
I am Guthrie Chamberlain….reminding you to ’Keep Moving Forward,’ ‘Enjoy your Journey,’ and ‘Create a Great Day…Everyday’! See you tomorrow!