Going through Scripture can be a lot of fun, but it can easily turn into simply learning information and seeing who can win the bible trivia championship. It could also turn into religious habits of talking about Scripture, but never really experiencing life transformation. Last night we started reading through Philippians 1:1-11 in the New Testament. It was a lot of fun. We read through the passage, talked about the passage, talked about what it would look like today, but in the last 15 minutes we went through these questions and it was really helpful:
What is the big idea of the passage?
Finding the big idea is just looking at the 11 verses and summing it up to 2-3 of your own words. There really isn’t a wrong answer unless someone says something like “circus and peanuts.” That would be wrong. Scripture is interactive and the Spirit of God will teach us His truth so individually we could come up with “big ideas” and ideally we would all have similar big ideas. For our group, we fumbled through some attempts and generally came up with big ideas about joy. Now, some bibles will have subtitles so try not to cheat and short change the experience 🙂
How / Why do we fail to live out that truth in our lives?
Again, this is personal reflection, but everyone can take a moment to consider what stops them from living it the truth described in verses 1-11. It can be general or even specific but it might be different for everyone. Our group bounced around things like fear, selfishness, trust, etc. For example the passage describes a joy in relationships with others, but they talked about having a fear to experience those types of relationships.
How does Jesus fulfill this truth on our behalf?
This is important because if we stop with the first two questions we will walk out with religion. We will walk away and try not to be selfish, remember to not be afraid, try harder to trust and it results in living out truth in our own power, which will never last. This might be a little more difficult, but it is asking how the righteousness of Christ fulfills this truth. We talked about how Jesus knows what is like to be alone, to be separated from the Father at the cross, abandoned by His friends so He is someone we can identify with. We also talked about how Jesus is always with us in our relationships and that Scripture teaches He will never leave us.
The next time you read the Bible take a moment to think through these questions. It is even better to do it in a group or with a friend. It allowed us to end our time in a lot of hope and encouragement to press into Jesus.