The brisk morning air in spring carries a hint of warmth with it and invites me into the garden. It is a sweet time to water the newly growing plants and I always love to spend time examining every little new flower or small sprout that has formed. In so doing, I won’t miss anything and that is delightful to me.
This morning I crouched to examine my grape vine, it’s on its third year and all the books promise this is the year when fruit bearing begins. I am hopeful as I examine the new growth on the rough, pruned back vine.
Taking time to examine the details in God’s Word matters too. From those facts we examine, we can then notice the lessons begin taught. Taking notice matters because this is the place where we can hear the whisper of God’s Spirit.
In my acronym for unpacking Scripture, TEND, the N stands for notice the spiritual lessons.
The point of reading and unpacking God’s Word is to know God better. His Word tells us who He is. It reveals His character, His ways and His actions. It draws us to repentance and intimacy with Him. It offers us encouragement and examples of saints who have walked with Him along with the wicked who have not.
So when I have taken the time to get still before Him and examine the facts from a verse, I then ask the Lord, what spiritual lesson is each fact or each verse teaching?
Beginning with context in mind and asking what God’s original intent for the people involved was, helps to spark direction in my own mind as I hear the Spirit bring lessons to the surface.
The first question I ask of any portion of Scripture is: what is this teaching about God? Even if God is not mentioned in the verse/passage, the whole Book is about Him, so if He included this, then what does that say about Him? How is He responding to this?
Years ago, I taught my young sons to look for the S.P.A.C.E. in a verse/passage after identifying what it teaches about God. I’m not sure who I got that from but it has been most helpful. The letters stand for: Sin, Promise, Action, Command and Example. I turn each letter into a question I ask the Lord about my own heart.
He never fails to highlight what He is pointing me towards. So I ask, Is there a sin here that I need to confess or avoid? Is there a promise of God being highlighted? Is there an action to take or avoid? Is there a command to follow or an example to to mimic?
When a lesson seems to stand out or a characteristic of God stands out, I write that down. Writing it or journaling it, helps me to remember and to return my mind there throughout the day.
As we examine and notice the Word, as a gardener examines and notices her plants, God begins to tend it into our soul and bear fruit from those small places.
How about you, what do you look for when you unpack a verse of Scripture?
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