OBSERVATION – What does the text say?
- Highlight the key words. Form groupings of ideas.
- Underline the metaphors and images used.
- Indicate the contrasts. (You might use different colors or make parallel lists.)
- Mark the connecting words and prepositions. Notice what they introduce or connect.
- Connect the repetitions of phrases, especially the echoing in vs. 12-14 of previous themes. (Parts of this section introduce ideas to be developed in the verses 15+)
INTERPRETATION – What did the text mean to the original listeners?
- Divide the passage into paragraphs with subtitles.
- Look up in a dictionary the meaning of several key words: advocate, atone. Then paraphrase the first 2 verses.
- Using the dictionary, reflect on the definition intended for the word know in vs. 3-6.
- Trace the progression of ideas in vs. 3-8. Where does the section climax?
- Ponder the significance the connecting word and at the start of vs.3. (Note the legal language of the first 2 verses and the relational language of the following section.)
- Mull over the author’s images and multiple contrasts of light and darkness.
- Summarize the main emphasis of the author in the poetic repetitions of vs.12-14?
APPLICATION – How does this text apply to our lives?
- Since the author begins by declaring this is written so that you will not sin, what verse or phrase most indicates to you a necessary action so that you don’t sin?
- What are the words of hope or encouragement for the church in this section?
- How does this passage call you to respond? In prayer – With some action – Through a song – By memorizing a verse – Through sharing an insight…
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.