Asking questions can help us arrive at conclusions and bring focus and direction to our thought. Asking important questions helps us to find the important answers. All good listening and reading involves asking interactive questions internally. I will discuss this more in a future blog article. But for now I want to concentrate on two important questions that are central whenever we read the Bible, attend a Bible study, or listen to a message.
Question #1: What does this teach us about who God is?
Every portion of Scripture, every command God has given us, every work that God has done, every sermon we hear, every Bible study we do, relates in some way to the character and attributes of God. Once we establish a connection between a passage/Biblical truth and the Person of God, our response should then be that of worship, confession, and obedience. We worship God because of His nature described in this passage or theological reading. We confess our sins because we all fall short of God’s perfections. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, we must compare ourselves to the infinitely holy Lord of glory. Like Isaiah in the temple vision, when we understand God for who He is, our proper response should consist of humility, awe, and confession: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:4-5). Connecting each passage to the character of God should also bring about increased obedience. We are to be imitators of God, acting as He would act, just as Jesus’s activity on earth perfectly mirrored the Father’s activity.
This summarizes the flow of thought:
Scripture Passage/Truth —> Reflection about the Person of God —> Worship, Confession, and Obedience
Question #2: What does this teach about how I should live?
All truth bears upon our daily lives—our job is to discover it and apply it. We see this in the New Testament epistles. The first eleven chapters of the book of Romans gives theological truth; the next five chapters give practical applications based on these truths. The theology in the first three chapters of Ephesians gives way to the practical outworking of the theology in the next three chapters. In the great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul concludes with a practical application:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
When studying any passage Scripture, listening to a sermon, or attending a Bible study, it is helpful to keep these two key questions in mind as we read or listen. They help to give us focus in our thinking and help us to retain that which is most important. Asking these questions has been greatly profitable for me in my devotional life.