Read and Study the Bible

My father taught me that a teacher is teaching only when a student changes  behavior.  This past Sunday I began to teach a class on “How to study the Bible.” So I will try to instill some new behaviors in the class members. I hope to turn simple reading of the Bible into study. So class members become students as they give a close and searching look into what is being read.

Practice is needed if a  behavior is to be turned into a skill.  No one becomes a pianist  by simply listening to a lecture.  An aspiring pianist must practice daily. No one excels in a sport without practice. To help the student I prepared a fifteen page “practice”  book.

I urged the students to develop the habit of having paper and pencil in hand when studying the bible. With these simple tools the student can record and describe what is seen.

The first phase of study is observation, seeing.  So I gave the students an unfamiliar  segment of scripture to observe this week. I could have chosen a familiar scripture, but chose instead for them an unfamiliar text from which they ccould begin to develop a new skill.  I have asked the students to avoid the temptation to interpret or apply this text before careful observation.   I intend for students to report their observation this coming Sunday.

They are to study the text from Ecclesiastes 2:17-27: (NIV)   You may be more than a blog reader and become a careful student of the bible. Read the text daily with pencil and paper in hand to record your observations

77 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Look at the segment of scripture!   What do you see?  Make notes!  Study.  Become a student.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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6 Responses to Read and Study the Bible

  1. Challenge accepted, cousin. Starting today, May 9th, 2013 through May 16th, 2013, I’ll be making notes on that passage. When May 16th rolls around, I’ll publish my observations…I pray that God’s Spirit will move within me and that what I see will lead me deeper into communion with God.

    • Welcome to the challenge. This first phase is observation and there is a temptation to hurry through. We are so eager to interpret and apply. Eager to read the report of what you see in this passage from Ecclesiastes. I like it when cousins come out of the woodwork.

      • That is certainly the challenge… keeping it to observation… which is why I’m accepting it as, on my own blog, I confess to leaping to interpretation too quickly sometimes. It’s a difficult discipline for me (a toil?)…

        As for cousin… probably distant. I’m a son of Robert Luke and Miriam (Meyers) Martin (deceased). Grandson of Clyde H and Fanny Rebecca (Horst) Martin. I still have grand uncles and aunts around Franklin County and cousins to spare. Ancestry has a Martin deacon at Marion Mennonite. I am listed in the Daniel Lehman geneology book that I have in my basement. I didn’t get a chance to look up our EXACT relation… but cousin will do in a pinch. 🙂

        • I am the first cousin of your grandmother Fannie. I remember clyde and Fannie well but was closer in age to Fanny’s sisters: Martha, Lina, and Mary.I have the Lehmman book at my elbow and found your name in it. I’ve traced you back several generations, but it is so distant I can’t make sense of it without a paper and pencil. I’ll be satisfiedd with knowing that you are a far distant cousin on the lehman side of my family. You know, I suppose, that I am 87 years old and that my mother was a sister of your great grandmother Martha Martin Horst. They were daughters of the deacon at Marion.

          • First cousin of Grandma Martin… that would make you first cousin once removed of my father… which would make you first cousin twice removed of me… Well… that wasn’t too bad. 🙂

            I believe I may have met you in person once or twice at a Horst reunion sometime Waaaaaay back. Glad to reaquaint!

  2. Pingback: Daily Discipline – Bible Study | Abnormal Anabaptist

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