The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Sigel, Professor Emeritus of Greek and New Testament at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia shared his wisdom and expertise with us on how to study the bible to gain the most meaningful message it imparts for each of us. His suggestions are very clear, concise and easy to understand. Most people, perhaps all, will benefit by following the study rules set forth by Dr. Sigel. Profound thanks to Dr. Sigel for his time and talent in preparing this bible study outline.
- 1. There is no one way to study the bible. There are many different ways and people must learn to accommodate themselves theologically, literally, poetically and historically to the way that is best suited for them.
- 2. The basic principle of all bible study is that of encounter. What does encounter mean? These words ultimately have to mean something to each of us for bible study to have meaning. Bible study is a personal encounter with God, and God has to meet us through these words. This is basic and primary; all else is tangential.
- 3. The encounter with God occurs in specific situations. Each person will find something different in the same scripture passage, since we are all coming from different situations and attempting to encounter God in different conditions.
- 4. The former (number 3) implies, therefore, that the words in the bible were initially addressed to a specific situation. So the situation of Jesus is not the same as that of Isaiah.
- 5. Consequently, reading the bible entails two questions: (A) What did it mean to the person or group that it was originally addressed to? (B) What does it now mean for me?
- 6. Those questions need to be addressed in that order. Otherwise, we can find anything we want to in the bible, and that can be dangerous.
- 7. In order to deal with the first of the questions above, one should have available a good study bible. There are many available, including some online.
- 8. Whatever each of us hears the bible saying to us must be tested within the community of faith. Otherwise, we can hear whatever we want to hear. There must be a rein – a check within the community of faith. There has to be a resonance between what others have seen and what we believe we have seen.
By following this outline, each of us can gain far more from our bible study that we ever thought possible. Hopefully, we will approach our study in a new and brighter light, following in the steps of Dr. Sigel who, for so many years, has taught and nurtured so many scholars and theologians as well as Christian followers in Columbia.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Wednesday, February 1
In our prayers: The family of Master Cpt. Sandy Rogers, Kim, Claire, Douglas and Tanana, Cindy and Cheryl, Joe and Ling Ling, Elaine and Sharon, Bill Carter, Betty and Mariah, Betty Peavy Frick, Bob and Karen, Alison Rafferty, Joye Cantrell, Betty and Jerry, Patty and Ted, Robin, Melinda, Fred and Gail, Marty Fritz, Karen and Richard, Jennifer and Roger, Monica, Delores G., Mary, Lynn, Linda L., Mary M., Melinda, Jeannie, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Donna Hotaling, Jerry Callahan, Russ Meyne, April Goodwin, Laura Bushnell, Loretta M, Kody Oswald, Edgar Maxwell, Laura Lou Rummans, Elizabeth Adams, Gene Awtrey, John Conde, Millie Husbands, Clyde Ireland, Sam King, Bob Whiteside, Chuck Witten, Lindsay Cathcart, Raven Tarpley, Elizabeth, William Alex McDaniels, Maddie Rosenthal, DuBose Tuller, Lynn, Frances Robinson, Nancy and Ann
In memoriam: Lionel Victor Barnes, Mary Alice Grant, Paul A. Jones, Wilson Leroy King, Bette Blume Gunter Knight, Charles Ferrell Meetze, Agnes Lynette Rabon, Joe Frank Settle, John C. Davis Jr.
Our prayers are with: The lonely, the elderly and those who care for them, all who volunteer, the homeless, the unemployed, all victims of abuse, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our deputies and police officers, and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
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