Thursday, October 23, 2014

Digging Deep: Homiletic Method {Part III - Observations}


Once you've chosen the Scripture you are going to study {perhaps a book of the Bible or a specific chapter}, your first step is to read that passage multiple times. Usually I read the passage once or twice all the way through on my own, then I read it again along with the footnotes in my ESV Study Bible. I often spread this process out over two mornings.

Once I've saturated my mind in the passage for a couple days, I begin the process of studying it verse by verse. This is where I start writing things down. I use a small spiral journal, my favorite pen, and get to work. 

The first step in the homiletic method {after reading} is to create your Content List. This is a list of the "passage facts" where you write out what each verse is saying in your own words. This is the observation part of your study. Remember, it's best to work in chunks of approximately ten verses of a time when going through this process. The goal is to rewrite each verse very concisely. Here is an example from John 16:5-15 on the Holy Spirit:

   5. Jesus is going back to God the Father.
   6. The disciples are sorrowful that Jesus is leaving them.
   7. It's actually good that Jesus is leaving, because he will send a Helper in his place.
   8. The Helper will convict the world of sin and righteousness.
   9. It's a sin not to believe in Christ.
   10. Righteousness has to do with the presence of Christ.
   11. The ruler of this world {Satan} has already been judged.
   12. Jesus has more to tell the disciples, but they are not ready to hear his words.
   13. In due time, the Spirit speak the words of Jesus to them and tell them truths about the future.
   14. The Spirit will glorify Christ and declare things on his behalf.
   15. All that belongs to the Father also belongs to the Son and the Spirit will make this known.

The next step is called Content Divided. At this stage, you will look at your list of passage facts and divide it into three main points. Write these points out in complete sentences.

   1. Jesus will send his helper, the Holy Spirit (v. 5-7).
   2. The Spirit will convict the world of right and wrong (v.8-11).
   3. The Spirit will speak truth on behalf of the Father and the Son (v.12-15).

The final step of the observation portion of the study is to write a Content Statement. This is where you summarize the full passage in a single sentence. The goal is to keep it to 15 words or less, but if you go over a little bit, that's okay.

   *The Spirit speaks truth to convict us of sin and righteousness for Christ's glory.

These are the three steps to the observation part of the homiletic method. If you have time, you can do them all in a single sitting, but I often spread each step out over three days. One reason I love this method is that it's clearly segmented, so it's easy to spread out over multiple days if I have limited time, but it's also feasible to go through ten verses in a single day if I am blessed with an extra long quiet time. Tomorrow we'll go over the final two steps which are the application part of this Bible study method.

Read the rest of the Digging Deep series here...

1 comment:

Christy said...

I know I haven't been commenting much, but I wanted you to know that I'm LOVING this series and reading every word! Good, good stuff! Thank you for sharing!