Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Bible Study Tool Box - Repeated Words

1 John 1:1-2 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.

Don't adjust your computer or i-Phone, for the different colored highlights are for a purpose in today's blog.  We have been spending the past couple of blogs giving you some practical how-to's for picking out a Bible and understanding the features to look for in a good Study Bible.  Today I want to begin giving you some particular tools that will aid you in knowing how to Study your Bible.  Today's first tool that we will look at is what I call "Repeated Words".

What is the point of the passage? Note the repeated words
         I have chosen the book of first John, since the book itself exists to bring assurance and sure knowledge of one's spiritual identity and assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ (Please compare 1 John 5:13).  In the above passage, I have highlighted 3 different sets of ideas or words that are repeated by John in this text.  Repeated words or ideas are quick ways in helping you identify the main point of the passage. I have found when looking for repeated words, having a set of highlighters, or underlining those words will help you easily locate where the repeated words are.  Lets take the above sample and see how this tool works.

1. The Importance of Eye-Witnesses - The Authority of the Bible
         In the light blue high-light, you will notice seven statements that pertain to John and the apostles being eye-witnesses.  An eye-witness in a court of law is valuable, since that is how the truth of a testimony is confirmed.  In the Bible times, an apostle was identified has having been an eye-witness of Jesus Christ and His ministry, as well as proof of his identity by performing of miracles  (Please compare 2 Corinthians 12:12).  Note the repeated words that give us this first main thought:  "we have heard";  "what we have seen";  "with our eyes"; "what we have looked at";  "touched with our hands"; "we have seen"; "to us". 

         John labors to demonstrate his credentials as an eye-witness so that his readers can have assurance that what they are reading is indeed the word of God.  This means that the words He is writing are trust-worthy and binding upon the conscience.  So in noting those repeated ideas, I would write "The importance of eye-witnesses".  Then I would ask: "so what?"  Clearly the importance of an eye-witness is to establish the authority of the one writing the text - hence the first theme - "The Authority of the Bible".

2. The value of Eye-witnesses - Actual Testimony
          As you read the passage again, you will notice two other repeated words in verse two: "testify" and "proclaim" (the green highlighted words).    By identifying the authority of the Bible as written eye-witnesses guided by Divine Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we ask again: "So what?"  Now we see that they have something to say, to proclaim.  This second thought of an "Actual testimony" flows from the identity of the author as an eye-witness.

3. What the Eye-witness has to tell - The Awesome Christ
          So "who" or "what" is this eye-witness, the Apostle John, telling you and I about?  Again the tool of repeated words aids in identifying the point of His testimony.  Notice the phrases in orange above: "The Word of Life"; "The Life"; "The Eternal Life"; "which was with the Father"; and "which was manifested".  These five statements have in common the Person to whom they refer - Jesus Christ.  So why do we say these words give us this third idea of "The Awesome Christ"?  Because the five statements tell us in brief the highpoints of Christ's identity:

-He is the word of life - The Clear Revelation of God
-He is the Life - The Creator, the Source of all life
-He is the Eternal Life - The Champion of salvation
-He was with the Father - Co-Equal with God the Father
-He was Manifested - He Came as God and lived as a true man

So in this Bible Study tool repeated words, we can now summarize the main idea of 1 John 1:1-5: That the Authority of the Bible alone can give us an actual testimony of the Awesome Christ.  My prayer is that you have found this tool helpful.  Tomorrow we will consider more tools in the Bible Study Tool Box. 

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