After I signed off yesterday’s Free Range Bible study post, I had some more thoughts and feel that perhaps a bit of clarification is needed.
Free Range Bible study is not roaming willy-nilly through Scripture only to force it to say what you want it to say. That’s a wrong hermeneutic (way to interpret Scripture). That’s coming into the backdoor of the free range barnyard, so to speak.
When I speak of the correct hermeneutic, I am saying that we read the Scripture first (observe it asking the 5 W’s and H – who, what, when, where, why, how?) examining it in its context (of the book it’s in), looking at the author and historical/cultural/physical setting. Then interpretation comes where you bring in cross-references and word studies to understand the original meaning of the word used and where it’s used in other passages within that book and the whole of Scripture. Lastly, you find out what the timeless truth is and apply it to your life.
The wrong hermeneutic is forcing a passage or a whole book of Scripture to fit your specific situation before you’ve examined it in its context, etc.
That kind of free range Bible study has no boundaries whatsoever and that’s where some misinformation can be gathered and inaccurately applied.
Free Range Bible study that I’m speaking of doing tonight has a large barnyard, but there are boundaries. We’re just not stuck in a tiny coop plopping out eggs all day or waiting for the Tyson truck to show up and cart us off to….I dare not say in case there are any chickens reading this.
Also, the one boo-boo in using this whole analogy is this. Free Range Bible study is not for “chickens” and in the context of that word, I mean those afraid of doing a bit of work to exercise their brains in figuring out how to study Scripture for themselves. It’s about living like eagles…more like free range flying; soaring above the spoonfed and the typical Sunday School answers.
Bible study is not for “chickens” that are scared, either. There’s a “wolf” in the barnyard and he loves to convince us Bible study Babes of some things. See if any of these resonate with you:
- You are too dumb to understand the Bible.
- You didn’t go to seminary.
- You don’t have enough time. You already have enough to do.
- What’s somebody as dumb, sinful, mean, etc. as you doing at a Bible study?
- Aren’t you lost? Bible study’s for the saved, dummy!
- What will your family/husband/coworkers/friends think?
- You’re not going to remember it.
- You don’t need it. You already hear the preacher on Sunday. That’s enough.
- Only stay-at-home moms have the time since they don’t do anything else.
You know what? The “wolf” doesn’t want you to know Truth and he will do anything to keep you from knowing it. He’ll find your sensitive spot of vulnerability and he’ll get to it through your head. That wolf came to steal, kill and destroy. He prowls about you waiting to devour you! Furthermore, he would love for you (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) to be conformed to the world’s image.
That’s bad stuff. But, I have great news! Jesus came to give you life – abundant life. He doesn’t want you to buy into the wolf’s lies and be conformed to the world’s image. He wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind! And the best way I have seen to have a renewed mind is to know the truth that can only be found in the Bible. The truth will set you free! Free to fly around the barnyard looking like an eagle! Whew!
So, for those willing, I’ll see you tonight!