Let me provide you an example of how I study God’s Word:
For many years, but more-so in the past six months, I have been thinking about Judas Iscariot. He is mentioned by name twenty four times in the New Testament. Unlike the seventy disciples he was specifically selected by Jesus to be one of the Twelve; he traveled continuously with Him for more than three years; he ministered, preached and performed miracles along with the Twelve; he had the important role of being treasurer … and yet there is only one incident recorded when Jesus reprimanded him for his unwarranted actions. I wonder why? (That certainly wasn’t the case with Peter!)
The little ‘seed of wondering’ is usually what gets me started. Then the ‘inductive’ approach to Bible Study takes over.
I have a three tiered study platform from which I probe The Word:
First – I have my six study mates (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, ‘how’ plus ‘which’ to make it seven!) They make a regular mess of many of my preconceived and traditionally accepted notions.
Second – most weeks I meet in a Discussion Group that often seems to be patterned after a quote by Thomas A. Edison: “There are no rules here–we’re trying to accomplish something.” (the basic premise for a ‘skunk works’.)
Third – this is a special unique situation, especially for me. I have a Global Study Group. (You have the important role of being in this group! J ) It’s very cross cultural and comes from a wild range of theological perspectives. I really need and appreciate the perspectives expressed. Some are well off the wall, or steeped in tradition, or common church fare, but all merit investigation. Some are seeds that are birthed in scripture but often squelched by common thought.
I’ve been looking at Judas from an inductive approach. Here is a sample of some questions that I’m asking and looking for you to make comments on:
- What processes cause disciples to not finish well?
- How did Judas become a devil?
- What motivates people to do hateful things to those they love and care about? (Ps 41:9 my familiar friend betrayed me)
- What are the processes that turn an apostle into a devil?
- Was Judas ever really in the Kingdom?
- Did Judas repent? (He was deeply remorseful.)
- Would Jesus have included Judas in the invitation “… and Peter” if he had been still alive? (Mark 16:11)
- What would cause me to become a devil?
For anyone who is inclined to probe further:
- How did evil come to exist? (God did not create evil but it exists.)
- Most theology states that ‘original sin’ came with Adam & Eve in the Garden? Well then, where did Satan get it?
- How come there are any devils?
- How did Lucifer become a devil?
May you be blessed with deeper understanding of our Father so you can expect His intervention as you keep and heed His way. Psalm 37:34 And may you have responses from people who have receptive spirits and hearts to the message of grace that you bring. Romans 10:14-15