This week we started the school studying the book of Acts. I have to admit that a few months ago I tried reading Acts, but didn’t get too far. After reading a few chapters, I couldn’t really get into the story. But after digging into each chapter and wrestling with the text for five days, I have such a greater understanding of this book! It’s incredible. So here’s what we’re learning in this Bible school: it’s called the inductive method. It’s a method of studying a book that involves coming into it with no prior opinions or expectations. This allows us to get the big picture of the book in context. I had never done this before. Here’s a quick run-down:
Step 1: color-code all people, places, and references to time in the book
Step 2: summarize each chapter of the book in 4-5 words
Step 3: group chapters together into main ideas
Step 4: chart all information to understand the point of the whole book
It sounds crazy, and it’s super time-consuming, but afterwards it’s so rewarding. And the cool thing is, I didn’t need a commentary or theological analysis to tell me what anything meant – I figured it out myself, using only the Bible itself! After doing all these steps I had a big picture of what is going on in Acts. Before I would get tied down with all the details of Paul’s journeys and who was going to what town. Now I see more clearly what it was all about.
The disciples had a clear calling: the spread the gospel message of Christ. They were obedient to this calling and traveled to the ends of the earth (or their known world) to do complete this purpose. Some of them didn’t feel qualified, some were afraid, and others didn’t want to leave their family or possessions. But they made the decision to trust the Lord, and he prepared them for the ministry they did. Maybe you don’t feel ready for the next step in your life, or are afraid of making a mistake. Just remember: God has it under control. Whatever we do, we’re not going to do it perfectly, but if we trust Him to lead us, great things will be done.
Studying the Bible in this way has been very intense, full of content (things to learn). Every night I stayed up late doing homework, and I feel like it’s exam week in college – except every week! The funny thing is, I don’t mind the workload. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s worth it to learn about God’s Word and be able to see how it applies to my life. I have to say that after turning in my assignments on 6pm Saturday night, I felt content. Content with content.