As noted in my earlier blogs on Discovery Bible Studies, there are four questions that can and should be asked of every text: 1) What do we learn about God? 2) What do we learn about men and women? 3) What will obedience to this passage look like in my life? and 4) Who do I know who needs to hear this passage?
The beginning point is learning what any text reveals about God. The Bible is his self-revelation. From beginning to end God is always involved. He is always creating. He is calling. He is renewing. He is bringing order out of the chaos. The Bible is God’s protracted biography.
Yes, it is also our story, but that is secondary. Only God was there in the beginning. He precedes us. He is before us. The story of the Bible is his story! Much of what is revealed about God will fall into six character traits.
We serve an awesome God! He is so unlike us. While created in his image, we see our inadequacies and failings most clearly when we look upon his divine character.
God is righteous. He always does what is right and good. There is no wrong in him. Could we be more unlike God? Even at times when our intentions are good we mess things up. There is something broken in our world that only God can repair.
God is all-powerful. When he spoke the world came into existence. It’s no wonder his Son could quiet the stormy Sea of Galilee with those words, “Peace, be still.” Our inability to produce peace may be the greatest single testimony to our power shortage. We are limited by our inabilities.
God knows everything. He doesn’t have to wonder what we are thinking. No library research is required for our Creator. Google doesn’t have to be his information aid. God knows when even one bird falls from the sky. He knows every human being intimately. He knows all of Satan’s plans. He alone is all-knowing and the rest of us are left to investigate and humbly confess our knowledge limits.
God is the source of grace. He created Adam and Eve and provided for their every need. His response to their rebellion was tempered by his grace. Yes, their process of death was set in motion and they were separated from the tree of life, but God provided clothes and there was a way to provide food, even though man’s work became much more difficult.
God hates sin. He is righteous. Sin runs counter to his nature and it prevents us from receiving all the blessings he has prepared for us. God knew that sin would ruin our lives. His directions would have protected Adam and Eve from such devastation if they had obeyed them.
God keeps his promises. He can be counted on to deliver on his word. We don’t have to question whether or not God’s commitments will be fulfilled. They always are. Even if it takes thousands of years, God accomplishes his purposes. God is truly worthy of our praise!
Learning to ask questions which help people discover these character traits in the passages they are hearing is at the heart of Discovery Bible Studies. An expanding awareness of what God is truly like blesses us like nothing else. Jesus’ supreme purpose for his life was to show us the Father’s heart.