INTERPRETATION – What did the text mean to the original listeners?
APPLICATION – How does this text apply to our lives?
- A rule of thumb in inductive study is to refrain from using outside references. If there is a question about the meaning of a word, a dictionary may be used, but avoid consulting commentaries until you have totally finished the study. Read and re-read the text. Let the Word speak.
- Perhaps the greatest challenge is the first OBSERVATION step. It is tempting to rush through a brief observation and quickly jump to interpretation and application. If you can discipline yourselves to spend the majority of the study time on observation, your learning will be richer and truer to the original intent of the Word.
- INTERPRETATION focuses on the meaning of the text to the original listeners. How would they have heard these words? Consider their situation in your interpretation.
- Always finish with a reflective APPLICATION. Every time we study the Word, it will speak into our lives if we have ears to hear.
We encourage the use of a journal or notebook, whether electronic or handwritten. Writing will bring increased clarity of thought and sharpen your ability to listen to God’s voice. You may find it useful to compare several translations of the verses.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
- OBSERVATION – Create a 3 column table in your journal to take notes as you read (See example shown below to get you started.)
- about the author,
- the original readers and
- the author’s concerns that motivated the writing of the letter.
AUTHOR ORIGINAL READERS MOTIVATING CONCERNS 1.1 We
Present with Jesus
2.1 My dear children
1.3 fellowship with us
1.4 to share our joy
- Using the observations from the third column above, what are the key themes in this letter?
- Take note of the questions that arise for further study as we continue deeper into these passages in the coming weeks.
- How is God speaking to you in today’s reading?
- How is this word significant for your life and/or your faith community right now?
- Close with a prayer for God to teach this more clearly through this book of the Word.