One of the challenges of Bible reading, and preaching for that matter, is that we often start with the wrong questions. As a result, we often miss the message of the passage. Even more, we miss the central themes of Scripture, and end up with something sub-biblical.
That's why I've appreciated people who have given us questions that we can ask of the text that will set us in the right direction. Here are three sets of questions. All are excellent. Use them liberally.
Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching
- What is the vision of God in this particular text?
- Where precisely do I find that in the passage?
- What is the function of this vision of God? What implications for belief or behavior did the author draw from the image?
- What is the significance of that picture of God for me and for others?
Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching
- What does the text mean?
- How do I know what the text means?
- What concerns caused the text to be written?
- What do we share in common with those to (or about) whom the text was written and/ or the one by whom the text was written?
- How should people now respond to the truths of the text?
- What is the most effective way I can communicate the meaning of the text?
Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor
- What does this passage show me about the loveliness of God? Or, put another way, what is it about God in this passage that calls for my love for him?
- What does this passage show me about people and about what love requires of me on their behalf?
- As one who has been shown mercy and love from God, what empowerment from him do I need to overcome my obstacles to love? What about the love of God in Jesus gives me hope and provision for my own lovelessness?