Recently I learned about a new way to study a passage of Scripture. The pastor of the church I attended that week described it in his sermon. It was an approach he learned it in his homiletics (the process of writing and delivering sermons) class. After reading the section, ask yourself these four questions:
What is the central teaching of this passage?
What is the flaw in human nature (i.e. sin) described?
What is the goal of God in your life concerning this flaw?
What means of overcoming the flaw does God offer?
There may be more than one answer to each question, depending upon the length of the reading. You can choose to focus on just one, or list more than one. Sometimes the answers will be obvious, other times you may have to think and pray because the answer is more subtle. What a great suggestion for journaling if you read a portion of Scripture every day! I plan to try it soon, and hopefully will post some of my results. I would be interested to hear about the experiences of others who might want to use this method.
Of course, we Lutherans know that every good sermon contains both law and gospel, so be sure to check your work against this criteria!