The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Sigel, Professor Emeritus of Greek and New Testament at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia shared his wisdom and expertise with us on how to study the bible to gain the most meaningful message it imparts for each of us. His suggestions are very clear, concise and easy to understand. Most people, perhaps all, will benefit by following the study rules set forth by Dr. Sigel. Profound thanks to Dr. Sigel for his time and talent in preparing this bible study outline.
There is no one way to study the bible. There are many different ways and people must learn to accommodate themselves theologically, literally, poetically and historically to the way that is best suited for them.
- The basic principle of all bible study is that of encounter. What does encounter mean? These words ultimately have to mean something to each of us for bible study to have meaning. Bible study is a personal encounter with God, and God has to meet us through these words. This is basic and primary; all else is tangential.
- The encounter with God occurs in specific situations. Each person will find something different in the same scripture passage, since we are all coming from different situations and attempting to encounter God in different conditions.
- The former implies, therefore, that the words in the bible were initially addressed to a specific situation. So the situation of Jesus is not the same as that of Isaiah.
- Consequently, reading the bible entails two questions: (A) What did it mean to the person or group that it was originally addressed to? (B) What does it now mean for me?
- Those questions need to be addressed in that order. Otherwise, we can find anything we want to in the bible, and that can be dangerous.
- In order to deal with the first of the questions above, one should have available a good study bible. There are many available, including some online.
Whatever each of us hears the bible saying to us must be tested within the community of faith. Otherwise, we can hear whatever we want to hear. There must be a rein – a check within the community of faith. There has to be a resonance between what others have seen and what we believe we have seen.
By following this outline, each of us can gain far more from our bible study that we ever thought possible. Hopefully, we will approach our study in a new and brighter light, following in the steps of Dr. Sigel who, for so many years, has taught and nurtured so many scholars and theologians as well as Christian followers in Columbia.
You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Evangelical Examiner, Jake Jones
- Atlanta Christian Living Examiner, Taylor Powell
- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series .
If you enjoyed this article, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage