A few simple suggestions for Bible study and teaching…
- Read the text over and over and over. Read it silently and read it aloud. Read it quickly and read it slowly pondering every word. Develop some kind of outline of it. Read the text in several different translations. Read it to the extent of your ability. If you can read any of the original languages behind the English text, look at them as well.
- What does the passage say about God? The Bible is first and foremost a revelation about God — Exodus 34:5-7; Numbers 14:18; Joel 2:12-14; Jonah 4:2. He is the key character of Scripture. Do not rush to apply a passage to us before you have seen what it says about Him.
- Look for recurring vocabulary or themes in the bigger and immediate context. In a bigger context, Luke puts much emphasis on Jesus’ prayers in Luke — 3:21; 5:15-16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1 — and the the prayers of the early church in Acts — 1:13-14; 2:42; 4:23-31; 6:2-4; 12:5. In a nearer context, compare the back to back parables of Matthew 21:33-46 and Matthew 22:1-14 and the themes of God’s gracious offers of salvation, the rejection of His messengers, and God’s judgment against this rebellion.
- Look for contrasts made in the text. It is hard to miss the intended contrast between Samuel and Eli’s son that runs from, at least, I Samuel 2:11-4:11. The good example of Samuel is seen against the failure of Eli’s sons and vice versa. The rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30 is a striking contrast to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. The love and service of the woman washing Jesus’ feet in Matthew 26:6-13 becomes even more beautiful picture when we see the treachery of Judas in Matthew 26:14-16.