The Connective Tissue of Bible Study
Be FOUND Bible Study Method
Wake up, churches! We are raising generation after generation of illiterate Christians. Haven’t we ourselves, at some point, tasted and seen that the Lord is good? How then can we sit silent while our own body lies naked, malnourished, wounded, and bleeding out on the battlefield?
It is in ignorance of the Word that members of our own body walk exposed, unguarded, and vulnerable onto an active battlefield with bullets whizzing by.
God has so clearly laid out the armor that protects and yet we have failed to teach our people how to even see it lying there, much less how to put it on! They don’t even realize that they have chosen ignorance over armor, because we have made the choice for them.
We have reverted back to the days of the Middle Ages when the only people who could read the Bible were the priests because they were the only ones who could understand Latin. This meant that they controlled the narrative that they wanted the people to believe. The majority of the regular people like you and me were illiterate and ignorant of the actual truth of Scripture.
This was a toxic time in our history where people within the church began to twist the Word of God for their own purposes. People at that time were instructed from the pulpit to buy "indulgences" and were taught that you could actually pay for forgiveness for your sins.
For the right price, you could get a loved one who had already died out of purgatory, and for the right price you could prepay for a sin you would commit tomorrow.
I ask you, why would people agree to this ridiculousness? If forgiveness could be bought with any other form of payment than the cross, then the cross would not have been necessary. The cross plus anything empties the cross of its power, and Christ would have died for nothing!
Here is where we begin to question, my friends, why would the people have ever believed this bold lie? Because they didn’t know any better. They couldn’t just pick up the bible and read it for themselves to find the truth.
However, you and I can- in many different languages.
I met a beautiful girl named Touria in Morocco. I had the opportunity to give her a bible (that I made clear was illegal for her to have). In spite of the obvious danger she would be in should it ever be found in her possession, she whispered in awe, “You mean God speaks my language?"
Yes, Yes He does.
He wrote your language. He divinely designed you and has given us the privilege of knowing Him and getting to know Him in and through His Word, breathed out in your language.
“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”-- A. W. Tozer
No longer should we be satisfied spoon-feeding Scripture to our people! Dishing out partially digested, regurgitated truth does a disservice to believers and to the Truth itself. Week after week, we have been content to let people stumble out of church as ignorant as they came in.
Sure, they were given a sticker, a lollipop, a pat on the back, and a holy high-five, but they leave still ill-equipped to handle the truth. We hand feed them and even dab the crumbs off of their clothes with our neat little communion napkins, but then they leave. Still blind, bleeding, confused, and as wounded as they ever were.
Every single service should begin and end with an equipping and an urging for people to not just be able to read the Word of God but to marinate in it, chew on it, and completely digest it! If the whole of what we are doing is not pointing people to the Bible, then we have failed.
Listen closely, if your church rarely mentions repentance or points you to study the Bible for yourself, then you have a life coach leading a pep rally and not a preacher, and you probably need to find a different church.
The tools we learn in this space help us to uncover the sacred truths that God has breathed into His Word, which He set there intentionally for us to uncover.
In the FOUND bible study method we have learned the importance of first zooming out to look at the Frame of Reference for the book as a whole and then zooming in a bit to look at the context of the specific passage we are studying. This sets up the frame for how we see the book and more closely, the passage we are studying.
The next step we have in this bible study method is the step to OBSERVE. In observing, we lean in to look closely and “notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant.” We do this effectively by using the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How’s of the FOUND method!
“Man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
This is the step where we look at every word. Remember, in every space we will be looking for where we see God.
We first study the Who.
Who are the pronouns referring to? God or man?
Then, we pause to consider the What.
What is the function of the conjunction? Conjunctions are “the connecting tissue in a language.”
I want you to begin seeing conjunctions as connections that help you to follow the author’s thought process. Exactly what is being connected and why? You will notice that the biblical writers were kings of conjunctions and Paul was especially fond of run-on sentences. Check out this popular verse from Ephesians and note what it starts with.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
When a sentence starts with the conjunction "for"- pause with purpose and back it up to see what comes before the "for". When you don’t do that you are only getting part of the story. It would be like coming into a show in season 2 without watching season 1. Don't be satisfied with a stunted understanding.
We have already covered the tool by which we look at the Frame of Reference- well, I just want to take a minute to pause here and let you see the beauty of it as it relates to the passage we just read. Remember the frame of reference for a passage is seeing the passage in the place that God has put it on purpose, which needs to take into account what comes before and after that specific passage, as lifting the passage out of context actually violates the context and totally limits us in our understanding!
So, let us back it up a bit and see what comes before the “For.” Let me set the stage a bit. This passage is from the book of Ephesians. We know the author is the apostle Paul, and he is writing to the church at Ephesus and all believers. He has been giving specific instructions on how to live a godly life and as we zoom in a little closer on this passage, we see that he is coming to the conclusion of his thought as he says in verse 10,“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
(and then we come to our popular passage…)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
As you can see, by just taking verse twelve and lifting it out of context, we miss some pretty big beautiful truths! When we come at a passage that starts with a conjunction we must zoom out or back up to get the bigger picture to have a better understanding. What would we have missed?
In the verse before our focus verse (12) we would have missed the source by which the power comes from and the reason to armor up in the first place (“so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”)!
Now, you know the devil is scheming! Who wants to be able to stand against him? What would we have missed had we not kept reading after the focus verse? As the very next verse starts with the conjunction “Therefore” we see that Paul is not finished with his thought yet. He is still going! He then becomes very specific on how we armor up to beat the devil and even “extinguish” all his flaming arrows!
Now, in light of how we have highlighted the conjunctions listed here, you can really start to understand the heart of God, as He is trying to show us one big connected picture on just what kind of battlefield we are on and on just what it takes to win- with His strength,
His might, His armor, His Word, and “pray” and “prayers” and “always keep on praying” and “pray” and “pray.”
Do you see what is important here? Do you see where God is urging us to focus? Out of all of that armor, God chooses to repeat the word pray/prayer the most!
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick
Can you hear the heart of God as you have unleashed His Word that is alive and allowed His Truth to actively move in you? With just a bit of Bible literacy, the whole trajectory of your life can change! Armor up!
Join me next week to lean in harder and dig a little deeper as we discuss the next tool to the observe step!
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