(*waiting on the tech guys to do their thing with the new server….. in the meantime….*)
Over on HCR, someone asked me this question:
How much time do you study on avergage & how do you study? Meaning do you have a structured style or are you study by topics of interest or both?
Never really wrote it down as of late. I suck on time management. BADLY.
I’m in the book of Romans now. I’ll be in 1:1-3:20 until Sunday, when I’ll move to 3:21-5:21. I read those chapters every day. As I go through the text, I usually underline words, write notes in the margin, go to my bookshelf and pull out hebrew and greek lexicons when questions come up on what Paul means by something or another, write additional notes in the blank pages in the back of my bible. That’s typically what my bible study and reading look like.
My notes will be doctrinal (i.e. – the purpose of Paul’s calling in the opening chapters of Romans, set apart for the gospel and its’ relation to the doctrines of election and predestination), expository (what is Paul communicating in the opening verses – 1:1-15 of Romans), practical (i.e. – Paul’s desire to mutually encourage his brethren and be encouraged by them is a mark of Christian love that believers should seek to emulate), exultant (notice Paul’s high view of God in comparing the worship of creation vs the worship of the Creator in the latter verses, or notice how the doctrinal emphases in v. 1-7, form the basis for his thankfulness and praise to God in his opening in verses 8-15) and random things of interest (Paul was a good rhetoritician and anticipated his opponents’ arguments and destroyed them up front – 2:5-8).
Overall, I do a little of both. Topics of interest as well as structured things I need to spend time on.
I find, however, that sometimes a topic of interest is best approached by getting the entire context of a book down and not just a few verses in the book. For example, though Romans 9:1-11:36 are able to be correctly understood as a unit by themselves, they make MUCH more sense with the backdrop of Romans 1-8 behind them. And Romans makes more sense with several OT books (the Pentateuch) underneath your belt as well, since you’ll now have a better idea of how OT sacrifices operated and why the atonement cannot be unlimited if it is a propitiation and substitutionary.
In addition, you’ll also find that with an understanding of God ‘knowing’ and ‘foreknowing’ Israel alone among the nations, passages like Romans 8:29 don’t seem so ‘harsh’ but rather all the more amazing, since God chooses to set His love on one group and not another.
In passing, I also have additional topics and things that I’ll be writing on for bible studies and for youtube videos, so I’ll be making ADDITIONAL notes in my bible (wait till you see how small I have to write!) on the doctrine of the Trinity as well as on issues related to unity in the church.