A couple of years ago I took a class at BVBID called “Biblical Exegesis.” Denny Petrillo was our instructor, and that class opened my eyes to a whole new way to study the Bible. Periodically, I’ll share with you some of the things I learned. My favorite part of the class was the homework assignments in which we were to find observations in a text. This can be done in two ways:
1. Choose a verse and list as many observations as you can possibly make from that verse. For example, our very first assignment was Acts 1:8, which states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Even though it’s such a short verse, the task was to find a minimum of 30 observations. The observations had to be strictly from the text, so no interpretations or applications could be used. My first three observations were 1) “But”- ties it with vs. 7; 2) “you”- the apostles; and 3) “Will receive”- future promise. Once you’ve stated all the obvious observations, you go back and keep looking. I remember patting myself on the back for coming up with 34 observations, until Denny told us he found about twice that amount.
2. Choose a short passage and print it off triple spaced on a piece of paper. This will allow you plenty of room for marking up your paper. Then start treasure hunting! Look for key words or terms, commands, contrasts, comparisons, -ing words, repetitive words, transitional words, prepositional phrases, etc. Highlight, circle, underline, or draw boxes around the things you’re finding. For example, one of our assignments was John 1:5-7. The word “light” is used several times, so that would be circled in yellow. The word “darkness” is used a couple of times, so that would be circled in black. Marking up the text makes ideas stand out. Once you’re done, your paper should be marked all over the place, and then you can draw some conclusions and write them all over the margins. My margins on this passage have these notes:
The message: –we heard (from Him); –we declare (to you)
Contrasts: walk in darkness vs. walk in light
God= no darkness at all; Walk in darkness= no God (fellowship with Him)
In the light= fellowship with Him; Walk in the light= fellowship with one another
Several years ago, I taught a lesson using Jeremiah 13:1-11 as my text. I wanted to use some of the same material for another lesson so I pulled it out. I decided to print out the text and mark it up to see what I could find. It was exciting to find all kinds of truths from a text I thought I had already studied and was very familiar with!
Denny Petrillo said, “The Word is like a well. We’re dipping our bucket down into the well, and drawing out what it has to say.”
Prayer for Today: May I ever be diligent to search the Scriptures to understand the eternal truths found in Your Word.