The Reformed tradition has an approach to Bible reading and study called “The Four Questions.” In group and/or individual Bible study, people are encouraged to ask these four key questions. 1) What does it mean to the people of the day? (context) 2) What does it tell us about God? (enlightenment) 3) What does it mean to me? (application) 4) What am I going to do about it? (action)
Others, including myself, use a similar approach called “The Inductive Bible Study Method.” This approach encourages people to engage God’s Word in a three-step fashion represented by the words, Observation; Interpretation; and Application. The first step in this approach is observation where we read through a portion to get the general “lay of the land.” The second step is interpretation where we read through it again more intently to understand better what the Scripture is saying. The final step is application where we prayerfully ask, “How can I apply this truth to my life today?”
Beyond the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to guide us into all truth (John 16:13), we too must expend effort in the reading, meditation, understanding, and application of God’s Word. Without this effort Scripture, engagement often becomes just another religious exercise that profits us little. (James 1:22-25)
H. H. Halley in his Bible Handbook said, “We believe the Bible to be, not man’s account of his effort to find God, but rather an account of God’s effort to reveal Himself to man.” God reveals himself in the truth of Scripture.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 4:16-17)
Every day we read books, manuals, notices, advertisements, things on social media, and many other things. But the Bible is different. It’s an inspired book that reads us. “What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.” (Hebrews 4:12 CEV)
Man is fundamentally a soul with a body – not a body with a soul. That eternal soul part of us needs nourishment. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) God’s Word is a gold mine of divine truth and our authority in all matters of faith and practice. Using the “Four Questions” of the Reformers, or the Inductive Method approach to Bible reading will help you better extract the valuable gold God has for you in His Word. Try it!
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love