What questions should you ask as you’re interpreting Scripture?

This is a great post by Justin Taylor recounting Gerald Bray’s (professor from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University) advice on what questions an individual should ask when seeking to interpret Scripture.  It was very helpful to me as I’m studying week-in-and-week-out to deliver a word from the Lord.  In addition, he also takes a difficult passage (genealogies from I Chronicles) and answers (albeit briefly) the very questions he suggests we should ask for every passage.  Another helpful resource is Mark Driscoll’s and Gerry Breshears’ book Vintage Church.  In their book they have some tips and questions that I found very helpful.  Here they are…

Practical Tips for Preachers:

  • Take a few days a month out-of-town for complete silence and solitude
  • Continually pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you His Word as you study Scripture
  • Wrestle with tough texts
  • Consult or check studies of trusted teachers after considerable time solely in the text of Scripture
  • Seek, by God’s empowering grace through His Spirit to live what you’re learning

And then he always ask six questions:

  • The Biblical Question: What does Scripture say?
  • The Theological Question: What does Scripture mean?
  • The Memorable Question: What is my Hook (i.e. “big idea”)?
  • The Apologetic Question: Why do we resist this truth?
  • The Missional Question: Why does this matter?
  • The Christological Question: How is Jesus the Hero-Savior?

Lastly, he shares some “preachy points” for fellow Bible teachers:

  • Good preaching and teaching takes time, so short messages may not be the wisest
  • At some point in every message, speak plainly to the non-Christians
  • Speak to the people in the room, but also speak to the people you want to attend your ministry
  • Keep the major holiday sermons plain
  • Remind your people (all preachers and teachers need to have a list of big truths in their mind that they often weave into their sermons to remind their people)
  • Speak out of your life of ministry
  • Read the biographies of great preachers and teachesr
  • Do not speak anyone else’s messages
  • Learn from politicians, stand-up comedians, and anyone else who stands on a stage to speak to a crowd for a living

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