If you spend any time around children, you know they ask a lot of questions. That’s how they learn. They’re fascinated by life, how things works, why the sky is blue, and where babies come from. We ought to encourage such curiosity and inspire their investigations.
Jesus asked many questions, as the Bible records for us. Not because He didn’t know the answers, but sometimes to spur His own disciples’ thinking toward the faith. Sometimes to turn the tables on His opponents. Sometimes to invite the hurting to come to Him for healing. Sometimes it was simply to question the traditions of a culture that had strayed far from the ways of God.
One of the foundations of good Bible study is a hermeneutic principle called exegesis. Essentially it is an approach to studying the text of Scripture to discover the original intent of meaning. It entails asking questions such as: Who is the author? Who is the audience? What is the historical context in which the text was written? What literary style is the author using? What is the author intending to say, and why? How does this text fit within the framework of the book as a whole? How does it fit within the greater narrative of the entire biblical account?
This process allows the Bible student to “get out of the text” what God is actually saying.
The opposite approach of exegesis is eisegesis, which means to read something into a text, usually one’s own pre-conceived ideas or particular slant of beliefs. In this method the student is not really asking questions seeking to dig out the truth, but rather looking for support to conclusions he’s already drawn.
We ought to be inquisitive seekers of truth, and our quest for truth ought to take us to the Word of God to hear Him speak. God delights to reveal Himself to those who seek Him with all their hearts. And He longs to direct our steps with the light of His Word.
“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” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
So when we ask, “What does the Bible say?”, we’re really asking, “What is God saying?”!
What does the Bible say about who God is? What does the Bible say about Jesus? What does the Bible say about eternity? What does the Bible say about sin? What does the Bible say about righteousness and justice? What does the Bible say about how we should live as Christians? What does the Bible say about what happens to those who do not obey the gospel?
Those are tremendously weighty questions every person ought to ask and rest not until finding assurance in the truth of God’s infallible, inerrant, unchanging Word.
Why not come join us at the Petersburg First Baptist Church and join us on this quest, this hunger and thirst for knowing the Lord and following His ways? We meet for worship on Sunday mornings at 10:45 in-person and Facebook Live, and currently have several smaller Life Group Bible studies meeting throughout the week.