Getting the most from the Word

In his excellent book Unlocking the Scriptures, Hans Finszel explains that there are three essential questions we should be asking each time we open the Word of God and study it for ourselves.  Finzel’s questions are built around three key words: observation, interpretation, and application. His three questions are: What do I see? What does it mean?  How should I respond? I include his thoughts in today’s blog.

Observation asks, “What do I see?”Observation is simply the gathering of all the facts of who, what, where, and when. Careful examination of the facts is the foundation upon which we build accurate interpretation and application of the Scripture. The more time spent looking at the text itself, reading and rereading it, the more fruitful our study will be…

Interpretation asks, “What does it mean?”  Drawing conclusions based on your study of the facts is the process of interpretation. During this stage we seek to understand the meaning that the author had in mind when he wrote the text…

Application asks, “How should I respond?”Application is the goal of Bible Study. It is not enough for us to understand (interpret) Scripture; God wants us to be changed by it. The Scriptures were given “for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NRSV). In this final step of the inductive process, we move from the original context to our contemporary one, seeking to know how our interpretation can affect our attitudes and behavior.

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