Bible study

Application from Ruth

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

At last we are covering the final piece of inductive Bible study- APPLICATION. We have by no means exhausted this wonderful subject, but as my intent has been to expose you to this practical way of purposefully reading  and studying Scripture I hope that it has been a good run with Ruth for you.

This last piece of the inductive method doesn’t ever happen all at once at the end. And perhaps I should have said that to you earlier. But if you have been hanging in there doing the assignments over the last few weeks, you have most likely already had application occur in your thoughts or in your prayers. Maybe in your actions, as well.

Application asks the question, “What does this mean to me?” Or better yet, “How does what I read change me or turn my focus towards God?” Here’s another way of phrasing what application encompasses in a question form, “How am I inspired to live out the gospel of Christ after having read this book/chapter/verse?” Here’s another one, “What am I dying to share with someone that God has taught me from studying this?”

What happens at the end is when you leave your words on paper answering those application questions above touching pen to paper for posterity. In application it is so important to take our head knowledge from all that observation and interpretation and put some muscle on it of the physical kind and live out what God has stirred in our souls.

Go get your Bible and open up to Ruth. Grab your paper and pen and sit down with a cup of something warm or iced, depending on where you live and what time of day it is for you. Here’s your assignment:

  • Read all of Ruth
  • As you are reading, jot down those things that the Holy Spirit uses to strike an application with you, whether they are convictions or affirmations. 
  • Now, take that list and pray thanking God for his word, for this special little book, and how he has used it to change you.
  • Get up and go about your life changed for God’s glory.

I am sad this has come to an end, but honestly, it’s not the end. Rather, it’s a jumping off point of decision for you. What are you going to do with these tools you’ve learned and put to practice?

Furthermore, I would love, love, love to hear from you as to how God has spoken to you through your time in Ruth. Leave a public comment on this post or send me a private comment if you like, using the form on this post.

I’m going to take a break for a week and then I’m coming back to take this inductive method a step further by showing you how to use a bullet journal concept and some creativity to study your Bible. So, get ready!



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Grace In Color Facebook Live Event Tomorrow

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

Participate in tomorrow’s Facebook Live event with Grace In Color

Happy Monday, all! I hope your time in Ruth is proving to be a blessing rather than a curse as you learn and practice the inductive study method of Bible study.

Something you may be interested in, if you are a visual learner, especially, is an opportunity to tune in to Grace In Color’s Facebook Live event tomorrow from 1:00-1:30 PM (EST). It will be recorded, so you can certainly watch it later at your convenience if you cannot attend while we are LIVE and taking questions.

In the time with my friend Jennifer Evangelista, I’ll have the opportunity to show you a more creative way to do Bible study using the inductive study method that you may like and prefer, or at least you’ll get some tips for doing so.

I hope you’ll tune in, but in the meantime, enjoy reading Ruth to the glory of God.



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Second Part of Inductive Bible Study – Interpretation

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

Welcome back to Ruth!

Now, let’s move into the second part of inductive Bible study – INTERPRETATION.

Remember how observation asks the question, “What does this say?” Interpretation asks, “What does this mean?”

At this point, I want you to go back to each chapter and rather than relying on what your Bible may say give your own title to each chapter of Ruth.

In doing this, you review the key events, people, and places in each chapter and base your title for each on the main thing using words from that chapter.

Another thing, I would like for you to do is to pick a key verse from each chapter. This verse should relay the pivotal moment or highlight a major event in the lives of the key people, or it can expound upon an attribute of God. This may be when you get to exercise a bit of license here as your key verse, may be different from that of your neighbor. Usually, the key verse for a chapter goes along with the title you’ve given a chapter. Give it a try.

I understand, this may be a bit uncomfortable for you, because you are not accustomed to doing this. But let me tell you, if you will get in the practice of doing this in the future, the books you read in the Bible will begin to stick better in your mind and you’ll be building up biblical addresses in your memory. It’s a neat thing! Even as I type this I am smiling thinking about inductive studies I’ve done in the past and how they are better sealed in my heart and mind because of doing these things.

Something else that is important to do in this interpretation period is to get a better grasp more of the cultural context in this narrative (or any book in Scripture).

In the case of Ruth, you would do this by understanding what the Bible says about how foreigners (sojourners) were to be treated among God’s people, how widows were to be cared for, what the laws were for settling an estate when a woman was bereft of any male remaining in her lineage. So much pertaining to these very things can be found in the books leading up to Ruth. So go ahead and read all 7 if you don’t mind. I’ll wait…

Silly you, don’t be ridiculous. If you have prior knowledge to these things then draw from your memory bank and make some notes. Otherwise, go to a reliable Bible encyclopedia or look at the cross-references in a Bible that has them. You’ll find more information in commentary, but don’t read too much past those topics above as it will spoil the discovery of other things for you.

Because I like to know meanings of names, I often grab my Bible dictionary for indulging. So go ahead, and look up the meanings of the names of the main people in Ruth. Next, look up the meaning of the key places in Ruth.

As you get to work on these things, pray first. Remember to engage with God in prayer before setting out to study.

Don’t be frustrated that this may be more involved than you are accustomed to regarding studying the greatest words ever penned. What a privilege you and I have to even be able to study them! Share your delight with God in this and share your exhaustion of it, too. Tell him your heart’s desire for even studying the Bible. Ask for his help through the power of that resident tutor Holy Spirit that indwells every Christian. Ask for time to study it and ask him to help you remember it. Ask him to move knowledge from your head to your heart to your hands to live it out.

Until next week, be blessed in your time in the Word. If you have any specific questions, as always, contact me via the form at the end of today’s post.

In summary, your assignments for this week are:

  • Pray as you begin your time of studying and note making each day this week. Secure your necessary resources for the week. If you missed my resource recommendation post, here it is.
  • Assign a title to each chapter of Ruth using words from the chapters
  • Pick a key verse from each chapter of Ruth
  • Get a better grasp on what Scripture says about cultural situations found in Ruth by looking at other books in the Bible using the cross-references next to specific verses, looking at your Bible’s concordance on topics, seeing a Bible encyclopedia, or reading commentary in a study Bible or a commentary on Ruth.
  • Look up meanings of the names of key people and key places in Ruth by doing a biblical word study if you know how, or looking at a Bible dictionary, or an English dictionary.
  • Send any questions you may have by using the contact form below. If you need a phone call to help you, leave your phone number in the message of the contact form, and I will call you.

An update on my dad: he was moved to a physical therapy rehab facility last night. So that’s good! Please pray that he will do the therapy required to regain lost strength and to be able to resume his normal activities at home at the conclusion of therapy’s duration. Please continue to keep him and my mother in your prayers as he is at this facility.





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Observing Observation with Ruth

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

Here we are back at inductive Bible study using Ruth as our book in helping us learn the basics of this helpful and purposeful method of reading biblical text slowly.

But first, a few words about the object of studying the Bible. I posted this note on Instagram last week and wanted to share the text with you here:

“O B S E R V A T I ON is the first step in inductive study. It’s where you’ll spend the bulk of your time in studying Scripture. 
Most want to rush through or forego this part yearning to find the application for self as their main purpose in studying. Well…that makes little of God and much of self. Another fallacy in studying the Bible is the attempt to find passages of scripture to fit one’s own needs, a snatch and patch approach, so to speak. This causes the reader to ignore context and again makes little of God and much of self. Lastly, we are part of a world that yearns for quick everything, even quick Bible study among the body of Christ. So please take your time to invest in slowly and methodically reading Ruth with me as I share the basics of inductive Bible study at Gracious Goodness.” 

Observation takes time and effort. But it is time well spent. I encourage you to make the reading of Scripture a priority as you set out to better understand the Word, but more importantly, as you nurture the need to worship God.

As we once again open Ruth for this week’s assignments, I encourage you to pray that God would open the eyes of your understanding even in a small historical narrative that doesn’t seem to have much to say about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I hope that you went through the weekend opening Ruth and finding answers to the observation questions from Friday’s post.

You should have the key people, places, and happenings firmly in your mind. But not so firmly that you don’t see God at work.

Know that we are not done with this first part of inductive study. Now, we set out to further observe each chapter more closely paying better attention to the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY. We’ll pick up on the HOW later.

Grab your text, your pencils, a pen, and notepaper. Participate in the following prompts answering as directed:

  • Who are the main people in this chapter? (Hint, they remain through all 4 chapters.) Mark these in different ways (underlining or circling each in different colors is fine, or at least be aware of them and don’t worry about marking them). Make a list of things you learn about them on that notebook paper or in the margins of the text.
  • Is God mentioned at all in this chapter? If so, in what capacity? If you learn anything about him, jot it down.
  • What are the highlights and low points in the lives of the main people in this chapter?
  • What situations do they face/confront?
  • Write down in a bullet list the sequence of events in this chapter.
  • Underline in green the names of  geographical locations.
  • Jot down some details about the historical context of Ruth as found in chapter 1 (the general time when this is occurring) and in finding out more about the history during the days of the judges using a commentary or watching the video below.

In the midst of cycling days of obedience, disobedience, God’s judgment, appointing judges, and repentance, then a repeat of it all over and over, is a story tucked into the timeline of the days of the judges telling of a family in the days of famine looking over the fence at greener grass far away.

Get busy on chapter 1 of Ruth. As we read chapter by chapter,  observation is more specific. Read that chapter and pay special attention to the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

These are the basics of observation in a nutshell, especially when reading historical narrative.

You now have in your hands (or on this screen, at least) how to complete the other 3 chapters of Ruth from the standpoint of observation. So go ahead and do that with each of those remaining chapters.

In addition, note any other words that are key to the storyline of Ruth. I’ll give you one:redeemer“. When you come across that word, mark it with a circle or underline it in a specific color consistently. Do the same with any other words you believe to key. In Ruth, there shouldn’t be too many so as to not clutter up your text with too much color and to help you succeed at practicing this method.

I’ll be back Friday with the next component of inductive study – Interpretation which asks the question, “What does this mean?”

Shoot me a question if you have one in the comment section below.

PS – Pray for my Daddy (Mr. Dickson) as he continues to recuperate in hospital from surgery June 26. My family and I covet your prayers for his appetite to improve and strength to return via various therapies. Thank you.




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Observing Ruth

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

Welcome back to Ruth. It has been a week since your first assignment to listen to and read the little jewel in its entirety. Hopefully, you have all your supplies, too. By the way, in case you missed it, I wrote about my favorite tools and resources Monday.

Let’s dive in…

As you think about this small book, here are some questions I want you to answer right off the bat (grab your paper and pen and make a few notes). Work through these over the weekend and then Monday, we’ll move into our next assignment.

Read all of Ruth. What type of biblical genre is Ruth? Right now, watch the video below and make a note on your page about the primary literary style of Ruth.

  • Now, having read and listened to Ruth so much this past week, jot down some notes about when this book takes place? Although you may not have specifics of the year, at least mark the general time of this book.
  • Go back and list the key people in this book.
  • Summarize in one sentence the gist of this book. What’s it about?
  • What are the geographical spots on the map where this is occurring?
  • Make a list of some of the key words and/or phrases that you have seen. Key words and phrases are most often repeated and important words. No need to think of a ton of words here, but what are some important words that have grabbed your attention?
  • Why would this book have made it into the canon of Scripture? If you’ve ever ventured through Matthew, you may have scorned the first 17 verses, but oh my, these are really neat verses in Scripture. Go there and read them and note who you see.
  • Remember the metanarrative of Scripture? That the Bible reveals that promise about the offspring he made to Adam and Eve and reveals the fulfillment a morsel at a time over the course of 66 books? See Genesis 3 and read about the promised offspring. Who is this offspring? Well, each book of Scripture begins to enlighten us as to the one who is THE offspring. It’s not Cain and Abel, nor any of Eve’s other children. And so we read about Noah, then Abraham, and then the next book in the Bible and find out it’s not Moses, Aaron, nor Miriam nor any of their children, and so the books go…until God reveals more things about this offspring (aka Messiah). It’s fascinating and it’s life altering and I’m all excited! So, how does Ruth fit into the meta narrative of Scripture?
  • Lastly, what are some questions you have about this book? If you have some, list them. Also, are there any words you don’t quite understand? Jot them down and look up their meaning in a Bible or English dictionary.

Make sure you have the rest of your supplies ready for Monday at which point I’ll return for further observation into Ruth.

And after all this reading about gleaning in the fields and harvesting of grain, I’m craving a nice warm fibrous loaf of homemade bread and a smidgen of honey butter…






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Bible Study Resources

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

The fountain wall at Rosemary Hill.

There are lots of you journeying through the Bible based on the feedback I’ve received.

Welcome to you all! I’m posting today from our patio area here in Georgia on a rare cool and low humidity summer morning! Praise God. Seriously, praise him because this is fab! I wish you were here with me sipping a nice cup of coffee, tea, or iced beverage from Chick-Fil-A  right now or better yet, that you were here for a one day retreat of learning (with breakfast, lunch, and supper included)! But alas, we are apart looking at screens and clicking links to get a better grasp on  studying our Bibles. So, in this moment, I thank God for the means to communicate with you.

Out of consideration for some of you asking me via the contact form exactly what my supplies are and where to get them, I decided it’s easiest to share links. But please know that you do not need these exact supplies nor am I advocating you blow your splurge money. There is no benefit to using identical supplies. Trust me. Just because I may use a certain pencil, pen, or Bible is no magic formula for inductive study success.

Others of you who have contacted me need encouragement and a reboot in your Bible study habits to get motivated! Hopefully, those will be interspersed in the series, BUT, do not ever hesitate to ask questions via the comments below or privately in an email via the contact form.Either is fine and I will respond to you. Without further ado, here are my favorite resources for inductive study:

  1. New Inductive Study Bible – ESV – It has wide margins for notes and lists, the print is readable and large enough for my more wise eyes (aka eyes that need readers). With this, I don’t have to print the text unless I absolutely want to do that. I feel free to mark up the text within this Bible. I enjoy my ESV Study Bible, too, but I find the print is lighter and font size smaller. Plus it has limited margin space and has commentary. I have to guard against the tendency to read the commentary rather than the actual scriptures, though. If I had to choose between the two of these I would choose the ESV Study Bible because of its extra features. The ESV Study Bible also comes with access to a free ESV account.
  2. Colored pencils – I prefer using colored pencils as opposed to micron pens (that don’t bleed through Bible pages). And of all the colored pencils I have used, I like erasable twistable Crayola ones because of the fact my perfectionistic tendencies can relax and I don’t need to sharpen them either. I sometimes use my old automatic Pentel that has 8 colors in one clickable clear miracle. HOWEVER, it is prone to be contrary at times and it makes me want to hurt it as a result of its stubborn streak. BUT, it can be refilled. It is not erasable.
  3. Pen for making notes on paper – Frixion – Love this pen! I put them in my family’s Christmas stockings because I love them (my fam and the pens) so much! It is erasable and smooth in writing. I use it for my bullet journal and for sermon notes. They come in colors, too, but I like black. But you might like the colored marker set for marking. I have not tried that. Hmmmm. There’s a thought!

In the rest of today’s post are items you may want to have some time down the road. These are not necessary for us going through Ruth together, so know that I am not asking you to get any of these. Okay?

Commentaries:  Sometimes, you may run into questions that your own Bible’s commentary doesn’t answer as thoroughly as you hoped or you need more historical context for that particular book in the Bible. This is when an extra commentary that is far more thorough will be helpful. John Piper at desiring has a list of valuable resources so I direct you there for this part. I have also used Warren Weirsbe’s commentary (the BE series) in the past because his writing is very layperson friendly.

Dictionaries, concordances, and interlinear Bibles, on my!:  A good dictionary is a great thing to have and there are Bible dictionaries, English dictionaries, Hebrew dictionaries, and Greek ones. Which one will you use? Although you don’t need this right away, you may want to build up your resource library over a period of time. So, when I need to use the various dictionaries, a concordance, and (rarely) an online interlinear Bible, these are what I use:

Websites: A smidgen of similar helpful information cited above is online and available at no cost, but because it is free and due to copyright laws, the information is limited. Still, I think the sites below are worth exploring:

That’s it for today and that was way too much for one post, but I pray something in here was helpful. Feel free to share you favorite resources in the comments below that I may not have mentioned.

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