Living By the Book Workbook: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible

Living By the Book Workbook: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible

by Howard G. Hendricks, William D. Hendricks
     
 

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Far from being mundane, exploring God's Word can be one of the greatest adventures of your life! In the Bible you can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with you. And in this unique workbook you will learn how to engage His words like never before.

Based on the inductive study techniques outlines in the bestselling Living by the

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Overview

Far from being mundane, exploring God's Word can be one of the greatest adventures of your life! In the Bible you can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with you. And in this unique workbook you will learn how to engage His words like never before.

Based on the inductive study techniques outlines in the bestselling Living by the Book, this workbook creates the opportunity to grow in faith and knowledge through short, practical exercises and complete studies of the books of Ruth and James. In simple step-by-step fashion, you will learn to observe, interpret, and apply the Scripture to transform your life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781575674292
Publisher:
Moody Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
1,276,648
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Living by the Book

The Art and Science of Reading the Bible


By Howard G. Hendricks, William D. Hendricks

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2007 Howard G. Hendricks William D. Hendricks
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57567-429-2



CHAPTER 1

Observing a Passage of Scripture

"What makes one person a better Bible student than another? He can see more, that's all. The same truth is available to both of them in the text" (p. 51).

If you want to get more out of Bible study, it helps to know what you're looking for. Use the following list of questions to help guide you in your search of Scripture. You probably won't use every question for each passage you study, but at least they provide a good starting point. The more completely you can answer these questions, the better you will observe God's truth, which then provides a strong foundation for interpretation and application.

• Who is the author of the passage?

• Whom is the author addressing? (God's people? A specific church? Unbelievers?)

• What is the most important term and/or concept of the passage?

• What are the main verbs? What are the tenses of those verbs?

• Are there terms you need to define so you can better understand the passage?

• Are there people or places you need to identify?

• What do you already know about the people and places mentioned?

• Can you identify any cause-effect relationships in the author's writing?

• In what ways does the passage apply to your own personal life? (If there isn't an obvious application, is there a more subtle one?)

• What things from this passage might you want to study later in further detail?


NOTE You might want to make a copy of this page to place in each of the Bibles you use.

CHAPTER 2

Observing a Verse

TODAY'S PASSAGE:

Psalm 93:1

TIME COMMITMENT:

30 minutes

"Remember, in Observation your main concern is, What do I see? Pay special attention to terms and grammatical structure. Also look at the context" (p. 65).


Let's try observing Psalm 93:1. Since we're choosing a psalm, the context of what comes before and afterward may not be as important as in a narrative passage. However, the more you read the psalms, the better you can detect similarities and contrasts.

But for now let's turn our attention to this single verse:

"The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved."

Begin by going through the questions on the "Observing a Passage of Scripture" sheet (p. 15). Not all of them will apply, of course. But note the present tense of the verbs. If the psalmist wrote in present tense, does that mean the verse is now past tense?

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What would you say is the main theme of this verse?

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Forget about religious language for a moment. What then comes to mind when you think about a "lord"?

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In addition to the questions already provided, here are a few additional things to observe to get you started:

• What words or phrases are repeated? Why do you suppose they are so emphasized?

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• God is described by the terms "majesty" and "strength." What connection, if any, do these terms have? (Does one necessarily suggest the other?)

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• Why did the author suddenly move from describing "the Lord" to writing about "the world"?

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• We all know the earth is turning on its axis. So what does it mean that the world "will not be moved"?

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• Does this verse evoke any positive feelings for you?

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• Might this verse cause less positive emotions for some people (fear, anxiety, etc.)?

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What other observations can you make from this single verse?

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CHAPTER 3

Observing a Verse

TODAY'S PASSAGE:

1 John 3:12

TIME COMMITMENT:

30 minutes

"Whenever you study any verse of Scripture, be sure to place it in its context. See it both in terms of what goes before and what follows" (p. 58).

First John 3:12 should provide ample opportunity for you to practice your observation skills. Here is the verse, with space provided for your notations:

"not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous."


Here are a few suggestions:

• Again, begin by using the questions on the "Observing a Passage of Scripture" sheet (p. 15). This time you should find more significance in the author, the context, and the people mentioned. (Regarding context, any time a verse begins in midsentence, you have a clear mandate to take note of what precedes it.)

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• Read the story the writer refers to (Genesis 4:1–16). What new insight does this shed on the verse?

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• Determine why this verse is dropped into the center of a chapter focusing on God's love.

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• Try to think of examples in your own life in which you see a contrast between righteous and evil actions and the consequences that result.

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• When, in your own life, have you acted as Cain did (to a lesser extent)? When have you suffered as Abel did? How does this verse speak to each of those situations?

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What other observations can you make about this verse?

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CHAPTER 4

READING THE BIBLE AS FOR THE FIRST TIME

TODAY'S PASSAGE:

(See below)

TIME COMMITMENT:

30 minutes

"It helps to read the Bible in different versions. If you've been reading the same translation for years, try something fresh and contemporary for a change" (p. 69).

Today's assignment might require a trip to the library or a nearby Christian bookstore. Or perhaps you can borrow some Bibles from friends or your church. But be prepared to find several different translations/paraphrases of the Bible to read and compare.

One of the best ways to read the Bible as for the first time is to look up portions of Scripture that are most familiar to you. But if you don't have a particular passage in mind, try one or more of the following:

• The creation story (Genesis 2:4–25)

• Psalm 23

• A prophecy about the coming Messiah (such as Isaiah 9:6–7)

• The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1–12)

• Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–19)


Select one or more passages and read the same account from four different Bible versions. Some readings are likely to be quite similar. But if you contrast the King James Version with The Living Bible, for example, be prepared for a significant difference. In each case, try to put aside what you already know and let the text speak to you freshly, as if it were the first time you were reading it.


NOTE any discoveries or insights in the space below.

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CHAPTER 5

Reading the Bible as for the First Time

TODAY'S PASSAGE:

Luke 15:11–32

TIME COMMITMENT:

30 minutes

"It is often said that familiarity breeds contempt. Well, something else it breeds is ignorance. The moment you come to a passage of Scripture and say, 'Oh, I know this one already,' you're in trouble. Instead you need to come to every text as if you'd never seen it before in your life" (p. 69).

Frequently the passages that are most in danger of being overlooked are those that are most familiar. So let's take a look at one of the best-known portions of the Bible: the parable of the prodigal son. It's found in Luke 15:11–32.

Read the parable as if you were an eight-year-old hearing the story for the first time. What questions or comments would you have?


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Read it again from the following perspectives, each time noting the questions you might be likely to ask:

• A person from a foreign country (and different religious culture) hearing this story for the first time

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• A person who is skeptical about the authority of the Bible

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• A parent whose child has rebelled and left home

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• Someone who has allowed the harsh situations of life to distance him or her from God

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As you read through the eyes of these various people, the text might reveal a number of fresh insights you had not yet noticed.

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CHAPTER 6

Reading the Bible as a Love Letter

TODAY'S PASSAGE:

Isaiah 55

TIME COMMITMENT:

30 minutes

"The way to come to the Word of God [is to] read it as though it were His love letter to you" (p. 71).

Sometimes we perceive the writings of the prophets to be some of the least "loving" of the Scriptures. The prophets brought messages from God, and much of what they had to say pointed to what people could expect as the consequences of their sins. But God also sprinkled the prophetic books with promises and reasons for confident hope among His people.

Isaiah wrote to alert the people of Judah that they would eventually be taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Much of what he had to say was harsh, direct, and to the point. But equally to the point was what they could expect beyond their captivity.

Put yourself in the place of someone who had been carried away by an enemy army, or left amid the ruins of a once-grand city. You would remember that Isaiah had warned about such a future, but you might also recall something else. Your world is crumbling around you as you locate a scroll containing Isaiah 55. Read the text, then consider the following questions.

• How would you feel upon reading this passage, in light of your present sufferings?

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• What would this text tell you about God?

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• What would be your attitude about the future?

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As you look back to see God's involvement with His people in the past, what can you determine about your own future?

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Assignment for another day:

It's a simple matter to note the depth of God's love in such passages as Isaiah 55. A greater challenge is to learn to detect His love in passages that forecast judgment and suffering. However, if God's nature does not change, wouldn't it be true that God's discipline of sin is motivated by love just as is His outpouring of blessing? The next time you read a somber passage of Scripture, try to determine how God's love is active even during such times.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Living by the Book by Howard G. Hendricks, William D. Hendricks. Copyright © 2007 Howard G. Hendricks William D. Hendricks. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

The late Dr. Howard G. Hendricks remains a legendary figure in the memory of countless Christians worldwide. In sixty years at Dallas Theological Seminary, ¿Prof¿ Hendricks is estimated to have taught more than 30,000 students, and through them now impacts tens of millions throughout the world. He ministered in more than eighty countries through speaking engagements, radio, books, and recordings (including the DVD series, Living By The Book). For a period of time he was also a Bible teacher and chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys football team. Dr. Hendricks and his wife Jeanne were married for sixty-five years, and he was the father of four children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

WILLIAM D. HENDRICKS Bill Hendricks is President of The Giftedness Center, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in organizational effectiveness and individual career guidance. He is the author or coauthor of twenty books, including Your Work Matters to God, Living by the Book, and The Power of Uniqueness. He has written for numerous publications and shares his thoughts regularly at www.BillHendricks.net. Bill holds an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard University, a master of science in mass communications from Boston University, and a master of arts in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the proud father of three grown daughters by his late wife, Nancy, and is now re-married to Lynn Turpin Hendricks.

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