Wednesday, March 21, 2012

E: 1 Timothy - General Comments

Please add below any comments on the book's Category, Key Words, Key verses, Literary Style, Emotional Tone, Main Theme(s) and Major People.

All of this should begin to help you think through the overall message of 1 Timothy.

Next week I will try to put up sections that will help to organise (y)our thoughts about the structure of 1 Timothy.

D: 1 Timothy - Political Background

Please add comments below: 

C: 1 Timothy - Cultural Background

Please add comments below:

B: 1 Timothy - Historical Background

Please add comments below:

A: 1 Timothy - Geographical Background

Please add comments below:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 16: 1 Timothy general resources

Here are some 1 Timothy starting points.

I'll try to organise this into a format we can all feed contributions into next week, but hopefully this gives a good start:

Biblegateway IVP commentary on 1 Timothy: CLICK HERE: 

Rubbish at Bible Study 15: The Book Survey Method

The Book Survey Method:

Chapter 9 in Rick
For 'Book Survey Method' form click here

This emphasises the need to take the content of the Bible in the form it was written. Often we break letters up into short passages, soundbites or proof texts, when Paul would have written a letter to be read out loud to a church in one sitting, at least at first hearing.

This method helps us to take an overview.

Again, this will work best with 1 Timothy if we combine our ideas and contribute thoughts, sources, suggestions and insights online. 

Summary of method:

1: Number of times read:
In one sitting; recent translation; rapidly, ignoring chapters; several times; without reference to commentaries at first; prayerfully; making notes; then in different versions.
2: Notes on the book:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 14: The Book Background Method

As promised, here is the first of 2 new approaches. It makes sense to use this method first, so that as we start to read 1 Timothy, we already know something about its background.
After I've posted the outline of the next method, I'll list some starting point resources.
The Book Background Method: 
Chapter 8 in Rick.

To attempt to understand the backdrop of a book in its original context.

This involves investigating and understanding the history, geography, culture and politics of the time and place of writing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 13: Notes from 2 Corinthians 'Chapter Summary Method'

During our RABS session last week we suffered a power cut, and being fairly blind anyway I was happy to end the evening.

Participants made of sterner stuff however (i.e. Graham and Liz) had other ideas, and proceeded to go through their outline of 2 Corinthians 2 and 3 by candlelight, helped only when the power partially returned and sight was improved by the Marcus Hill streetlights coming back on.

I tried to keep up in the twilight and take notes of the main points of their study, using the headings from the 'Chapter Summary Method:' 

1: Caption:  
  • Reality of Christ defeats the rigidity of the law
  • Church discipline
  • The triumph of the New Covenant 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 12: The next few weeks ...

The next (final) timetabled track date was going to be Thursday 22nd March, which now clashes with Simon Walker coming down for a church meeting.

Do you think that this could be Simon's subliminal admission that he too is 'Rubbish at Bible Study' and in need of support!? On the basis that this may be the case, I suggest we support him that evening rather than meet separately. I believe it may be a cry for help which we would be inconsiderate to ignore.

After our late night candlelit negotiations, we agreed to use a range of 4 methods to study 1 Timothy, and then meet for a final wrap up and review session after the Easter holidays late in April. I'll try to land a date in a Home Group week so that we don't clash with the new tracks - I've already signed up for Jesus Brito's 'Parascending behind a Tractor' track, but only as a spectator.

In the next couple of RABS posts I'll set up the 2 new methods, then I'll recommend some starting point resources on 1 Timothy, and then I'll put up a series of posts on the different aspects of the study methods so that we can help each other with starting points, ideas, resources and encouragement.

As these will be unfamiliar methods and we won't be meeting together, a teamwork approach using the RABS Blog will be much appreciated.

The 2 new methods (both in Rick's book) are 'The Book Background Method' and 'The Book Survey Method.'

This will mean we can study 1 Timothy using:
a) The Book Background Method,
b) The Book Survey Method,
c) The Devotional Method, and
d) The Chapter Summary Method

This gives us a range of approaches that start at reading section by section without reference materials, through to reading a whole book using background resources.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 11: The Chapter Summary Method

If you want to follow the suggested study for the next 2 weeks, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 2 and 3, using the next approach in Rick Warren's book, The Chapter Summary Method.

Chapter Summary Method.

Form available here: 

You'll find a much clearer outline in the book, but here's a quick summary.

Overall Summary:
  • Read a chapter 5+ times - ideally using different versions ...
  • Ask questions of the content.

Rubbish at Bible Study 10: SPACEPETS!

SPACEPETS: Bible Study Marmite!
This bizarre acronym forms one of the suggested methods of meditating on a passage. Much like to 10 'C's in the Chapter Survey Method (coming up next) it simply acts as a methodical and memorable way to find applications from the passage, and acts as a prompt in case you're having a bad brain day.

There's nothing special about it, some passages don't answer all the initials, and it's not everyone's cup of tea, but some people end up strangely addicted to their Spacepets!

As with all Bible Study methods, if it helps you, use it - if not, don't use it.

Here are 2 Corinthians 1 and 2 done the Spacepets way, although other people will come up with other applications:

2 Corinthians 1:
> Sin to confess?
Putting human wisdom above God's grace (12)

Rubbish at Bible Study 9: Audio Downloads

I like to download anything that's helpful, free and legal.

Some websites, like Biblegateway or Youversion, will read the Bible to you, but here are some downloadable links that I've found:

Older versions: 


The New Testament Bible
The Book of Matthew - 122 minutes
The Book of Mark - 76 minutes

Rubbish at Bible Study 8: Practical tips and ideas

Here are some notes from the last couple of RABS discussion evenings, which focussed on practical solutions to problems people have with making Bible Study happen in busy lives:

  • If you have set yourself a goal for how much time you will give to Bible Study, and then find you haven't managed it, or haven't even started, firstly have grace for yourself rather than beating yourself up, and secondly change your goal.
  • Reduce the amount of time, or break it into smaller chunks. e.g. 3 x 10 minute sessions, rather than 1 x 30 minutes.
  • Be imaginative about when you make time, e.g. when you are walking to/from work, by listening to audio versions of the Bible, and using a phone/ipod voice recorder to record your thoughts and notes.
  •  I'll suggest some audio download versions of the Bible in the next post, but if you search on Amazon etc, you can find MP3/CDRom versions available. You will probably find that you will simply have to get used to the by now indisputable fact that God has an American accent! You will tune in and stop noticing this more quickly than you think.
  • Put a Bible/notepad somewhere you visit on a regular basis each day and might be able to take 5 or 10 minutes alone to read/think/pray while completing your normal activities in that place. I've made this as subtle and polite as possible for some people's benefit, but make sure you don't come out only when you're shouted at each time you pay a visit, or you'll end up unpopular in your house, especially if you only have 1 of these facilities on the premises!
  • Save notes on a PC so that you can easily keep adding to them. If you have an online document store (e.g. Google docs) then you can access it from anywhere. This is a good way of keeping a journal, especially if you're handwriting is as bad as mine!
  • Find a quiet place to get into the right frame of mind, e.g. a Library, Wetherspoons, Starbucks, Costa, or Cafe Nero (whose coffees are immeasurably better than their rivals!)
  • If you think/process visually, start by studying passages that contain narrative, storyline, plot, character, and visualise the content. This works for OT narrative history, much prophetic imagery, Gospel accounts, Parables, Acts, and Apocalyptic writing (like Ezekiel, Daniel or Revelation) although that last category can - possibly should?! - leave you befuddled. In fact, never trust anyone who claims to completely understand the last book of the Bible, they must have missed something. If you don't understand Revelation - don't worry, it's not the end of the world.
Feel free to add practical advice, comments, ideas.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 7: The next 2 weeks

Hi everyone.

Thanks for your input, honesty and enthusiasm to everyone who was able to come yesterday.

If you weren't able to come, don't worry - it's easy to keep up, here are the instructions for the next 2 weeks.

1: Word Study:
If you are in the middle of one you are enjoying, keep going!
If not, try studying 'Hope' in the writing of Paul, or 'Believe' in John's Gospel.
Other people have enjoyed studying 'Grace' 'Righteousness' Lovingkindness' or 'Heaven' so keep going and enjoy!

If you look at previous posts you will find some online starting points for some of these studies.

2: Devotional Study:
Using the template linked from a previous post, study 2 Corinthians 1, and move on to chapter 2 if you have finished.

Don't forget, there is a commentary on the Biblegateway 'Other Resources' page if you want to understand more of the background to Paul's journeys and relationship with the church in Corinth.

Use SPACEPETS to help you dig into the content to find an application.

3: If you have done anything you have found helpful, or hit a problem, or tried another approach that you enjoyed (e.g. paraphrase) please add a comment to this piece, or any other relevant one.

Thanks, have fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 6: Session 2 preparation

RABS Session 2 preparation

So, how's it going so far?

Firstly, the clue is in the name: "Rubbish at Bible Study" ... so if you struggled to get anywhere with a word study, haven't looked at the Devotional method, find online resources bamboozling, and didn't manage to meet your time commitment or even get one 5 minute session ....

.... don't worry, you are now fully qualified to be part of the Rubbish at Bible Study Support Group!

Anyway, you still have 2 days before the next session!

In the next session we will
a) quickly review online tools;
b) compare notes on word studies
c) review the Devotional method
d) look at the next method in Rick's book.

Before then, if you need a starting point, why not take up Graham's recommendation on Sunday morning, and do a word study on 'Hope.'

Here are some links you may find helpful.

Firstly, 'Hope' as used by Paul (45 references):

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 5: The Devotional Method

Devotional Method.

* The book recommends starting with the least ‘technical’ end of Bible Study, in order to learn the key skill of ‘Application’ without which Bible Study is just about knowledge.

Here's a summary of Rick's instructions. There is a link to the form you need at the end of this section. Try going through 2 Corinthians 1 with this method, and we'll compare notes next Thursday night. Then post comments to let me know that this makes sense, whether or not you've accessed the form ok, and how your study is going.

Four Steps to application, as outlined on the form provided:

1: Pray for insight.
* Ask God’s help to apply the passage to your life.
* Ask to be able to obey Him.
* Ask to be able to share His truth with others.
* On the form, tick that you’ve done this, or note anything specific you asked.

2: Meditate by one, some or all of these methods, and make notes of your thoughts and observations:

* Visualized narrative:
Put yourself in a Biblical situation, or in a Biblical character’s shoes. Note your thoughts, reactions and feelings.

* Word Emphasis:
Go through a verse or phrase emphasizing different words in turn, and note what you learn.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 4: Word Study outline

Word Study:

This is the first approach we’ll use, as not everyone will have the book yet, and it gives an opportunity to try to put the online tools into use so you can see how you use them.

a) Ask The Holy Spirit to bring life and insight as you explore the Bible.

b) Choose a Biblical word/theme you would like to know more about:
e.g. Righteousness; Heaven; Redemption; Eternal Life; Lovingkindness; Gospel, etc

Define why you are studying it:
To appreciate God’s character more, to deepen worship, to apply etc.

c) Biblical useage:
Search for verses and passages that focus on your selected theme, using your knowledge and memory, a concordance, or

There's nothing unholy about using tools to look things up or find out more.

Rubbish at Bible Study 3: Resources 2 - online

At the start of Rick Warren's book, he recommends buying various books, commentaries, study bibles, bible handbooks, concordances, notes, etc ...

... but his book was first written in 1981, and although all of these are good suggestions, a lot is now freely available online. It is now possible to dig into resources without spending a small fortune on books and shelves!

Here are a few suggestions to start with.
I will focus on using a few of these in the Word Study that we will do in the first week, so that you can see which of these appeal to you.

Click on the links below, or copy the address into your browser:
Different versions, commentaries, verse and keyword searches, possibly the most useful website ever invented!?

Loads of resources all in one place

Rubbish at Bible Study 2: Initial reflection questions

Before launching into new effort in Bible Study, it's important to do 2 things:

Firstly, Pray! You obviously don't want this just to be an exercise in learning more information, so ask for the Holy Spirit to make this an experience of deepening friendship with God.

Secondly, reflect honestly on your current experience, and make realistic choices that you can achieve from now on. There's no point aiming to devote hours to Bible Study, only to leave yourself frustrated and demoralised by not achieving your own unrealistic goals.

Here are some questions to consider:

1: Initial questions and reflection:
a) Why Bible Study?
e.g. 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 12:1-2; Phil 4:8; John 8:32; Mark 12:30; Jer 31:31-34:
• List as many reasons as you can think of.
• Which reasons are the most important?

b) Try to define ‘Bible Study’ in one short sentence

Rubbish at Bible Study 1: Resources 1 - the book

I will try to make this guide as easy as possible for everyone, without making it an expensive, complicated, 'booky' process.

The only book I would recommend you to try to get is this one:

Rick Warren: "Bible Study Methods."

I think you'll find it useful on this Track, but also something helpful to come back to from time to time.

He lists 12 methods, starting simple and getting more in depth as you go through the book.

Each of the 12 methods are firstly explained clearly, then demonstrated and finally set up in the form of a template for you to use.

The methods are:
i. Devotional
ii. Chapter Summary
iii. Character Quality
iv. Thematic
v. Biographical
vi. Topical
vii. Word Study
viii. Book Background
ix. Book Survey
x. Chapter Analysis
xi. Book Synthesis
xii. Verse-by-verse

Warren recommends his Devotional method first, but I’ll cover that in the next session. This gives time to get the book if you want to.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study - Introduction

Here's the secret:

Most Christians who think they should study the Bible regularly are RUBBISH at it.

Go on, admit it - it's the first step towards change!

This even applies to Leaders, who often study for problem solving reasons or in preparation of teaching material, but don't do very much of what we all know we should do - simply spend time enjoying God and getting His values into our minds.

The rest of us can sometimes have a burst of enthusiasm or willpower - "I'm going to read the Bible in a year", or "I'm going to study for an hour at 6AM every day" - and then get daunted by falling way behind the plan, or give up as a way of being in denial about feelings of guilt or failure.

Or others find it difficult to carve out the time in a busy life, or sometimes try to Bible Study, but just don't know how, or where to start.

So, that's why this Blog, connected to a Training Track at Blaze Church Newquay, is starting.

In this group we all start as failures, knowing that we will probably by nature always be Rubbish at Bible Study, but with a little effort we can learn how to get less Rubbish!

We'll start by making sure we set ourselves realistic goals that aren't likely to leave us demoralised.

This Blog will help us to keep up to date with the content of our group evenings, to find helpful resources for study, and allow for mutual input, support, encouragement and ideas.

I'm opening this up as wide as possible for 2 reasons:
1: This is a big issue, and this content might help more than just people in Newquay.
2: You might have helpful ideas to add to everyone else's comments.

So join in as we help each other to get slightly less Rubbish at Bible Study.

Next time: Resources part 1.


P.S. If you dig back into this Blog you'll find content on other Spiritual Disciplines, such as Fasting, Giving, Meditation, etc. From now on it will focus on Bible Study, but you may find some of the older content interesting.

From time to time I may put up other Bible Study guides on specific topics, such as 'How to think through predestination without going mad' so look out for those as well!