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Background Studies

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Treats the central importance of historical context and warns against related fallacies


Background Studies


I. A quick review of preparing for the trip


II. Personal commitments continued

A. Consider your pre-understanding about a particular passage

B. A reliance on the Holy Spirit

1. John 15:26

2. 1 Corinthians 2:12

C. Be willing to submit to the text in obedience

D. Prepare to share your study or reading


III. Steps to take when beginning a Bible study.

A. You need to do a basic exegetical study of a text before you try to do a devotional study on it.

B. Your application grows out of this study.

C. Devotional work needs to be done before you teach others.

D. You need to make heart space in your life so you will be ready for what God is teaching you.

E. You need to set aside life space or time to study.

F. Be prepared to share your study or reading with others. It is meant to be something that is shared.


IV. Background studies: Looking around and settling in.

This is the part of the trip where you get settled into the context.

A. Context topics:

1. Historical

2. Literary

B. How can you be sensitive to historical and cultural context?

1. History is His story and it comes with a context. You respect God's choice of the place and time.

2. The Word of God is God's Word to you. To hear this word well you must be sensitive to the historical context.

a. What is the general historical background of the book? Who, what, where, when, and why

b. What can you find out about the immediate historical context of the book?

c. What cultural elements do you need to study?

C. Tools to help you get there.

1. A Bible dictionary or encyclopedia

2. A good background commentary

3. Maps and atlases

4. The internet (but be careful)

D. What are some background fallacies to avoid?

1. Focusing too much on background details so that it obscures the meaning of the text. Hebrews 9:1-10

2. Using outdated or misinformed tools.

3. To not study the background text at all.

E. A background study can explain elements that are not clear. Acts 22:25-29

F. A background study can help communicate the force of what is being communicated. Luke 23:27-ff

G. A background study can help clarify application. Hebrews 13:2

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