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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