Saturday, May 14, 2011
Bible Study by Carolyn
As a hospice volunteer one of the questions people often ask is what is heaven like. Have you ever considered it seriously? What would you say? How would you answer the question? In the past my answer was vague. Folks asking that question don't need vague answers. There is an excellent book on the subject called Heaven by Randy Alcorn. He uses an amazing amount of Scripture to paint a comprehensive, accurate, authentic picture of heaven, where it is, what it is, what goes on there, and who will be there. It lifts the spirit high reading about it!
I have a concordance in the back of my Bible with 48 references to heaven. If you were to put those all together in a study for the summer, you would no doubt emerge with a much better understanding. It is often an excellent idea to conduct your own study, but barring that, this book offers a delightful alternative.
For eight months four women and I have been getting together once every two weeks to discuss chapters in the book. There is a study guide to accompany it which keeps everyone accountable, but beyond that, searching for, thinking about, and answering the questions in writing helps cement in your mind what you have learned. It also stimulates questions of your own that you might share with your group. Be warned: after eight months we are barely half way through the book!
But it is summer and summer is an excellent time to read. If you decide to do any sort of Bible study on your own, or with a small group during the summer there are valuable principles on interpretation that may interest you.
The Bible was written by many men over a period of about 1,500 years; and last author has been dead 1,900 years, but the Bible is the inffallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God. The Bible is history. Understanding the culture of the times and people may help you understand Scripture better. Be sure to study the verses in context. Knowing what comes before and after a verse adds understanding to each verse. Keep a dictionary handy and a thesaurus. Use Scripture to interpret Scripture. In other words, look up other related Scripture references to help you.
One way or the other it's vitally important for us to stay in God's Word. It's the one area in life from which we should never take a vacation!