Using SIMPLE to study the Bible
Last week I gave instructions of how to use the acronym S.I.M.P.L.E. to study a Bible passage.
This week I am going to show you how I worked through a passage. John 3:1-8.
S – Say the passage aloud.
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit (John 3:1-8, NIV).”
I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.
Jesus, Nicodemus. Topic – being born again. Born of water and Spirit. Nicodemus is a member of the Sanhedrim, the member of the Jewish council. He had authority, and power. But, he came to Jesus at night, afraid to be seen but desiring to know more.
M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.
Nicodemus knew Jesus was a teacher and believed He came from God. Jesus says, we must be born of water and Spirit. So what about churches who baptize babies only? Shouldn’t they also go under water at confirmation? What does the part about the wind mean? That we cannot know where we are coming and going? Jesus says, “So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” That makes sense as really we only know this moment. We don’t know what is going to happen in the next minute, do we?
P – Pray again for God’s guidance. I took some time in prayer – waiting and listening for His answers.
L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?
As I prayed I remembered the part where Jesus says, “the wind blows wherever it pleases”. Therefore the Spirit – it can take me and guide me to different places, thoughts and ideas. We don’t know where He will take us but we need to be able to listen in order to follow Him.
I am learning to STOP more and listen to what God is telling me. I am making myself stop going from task to task – remembering to stop and to listen to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When I do this I get a more guided, purposeful task and sometimes inspiration.
While I listened to God a few weeks ago He showed me this different way to study a passage in the Bible. I have worked through several passages and feel I am getting deeper into the Word than before.
E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.
Lord, thank You for showing me a different way to study Your Word. Thank You that when I listen You give me inspiration, purpose and vision. Thank You for Your Word – where each time I read a passage I can learn something new.
Thank You that You led me to be baptized under water (even though my denomination is not one to do this) and thank You for the Holy Spirit Who indwells within me. Help me to continue to study Your Word – by this method and other methods. Your Word is “living and active”. We are blessed. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.
Next week I will work on 1 John 1:7-9. Join me. See where God leads you when you pray and study the Bible.
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