“We sit in the same padded pew, week in and week out, listening to stories about Jesus calming the wind and the waves. The disciples had a totally different experience. They were in the boat on the lake when the skies grew dark and hurricane winds started to blow. They walked beaches, climbed mountains, and trekked across the wilderness with Jesus. Their experience was four-dimensional, while ours is one-dimensional. So when we read the Bible, we tend to focus on theology, overlooking the Meteorology, the psychology, and even the geology that shaped the stories we read.” “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson.
When I first began my ministry I spent a lot of time studying proof texts for what I believed. I wanted to be prepared to take on all comers and be able to wow them with my rapid fire quoting of scripture. I love to read those of our fellowship who seem to have all questions answered and knew exactly the right way to present their case for their cause. For a while I missed the real power of Scripture. I missed the experience of Scripture.
Today my study is very different. I have such a hunger to taste, feel and experience the world in which this powerful book was written. I want to try to see what they saw and feel what they felt. I know this has it limitations, but there is a wealth of information out there for anyone who wants to add new dimensions to their study.
Ray Vander Laan has done a wonderful job putting together study helps that bring the scripture alive. There are wonderful videos where he takes you to the places the scripture speaks about and brings them alive. If you are not aware of his site you need to go there and spend some time looking around. It is called “Follow the Rabbi”.
I am presently teaching the Gospel of John on Wednesday nights. One of the helps I am using in class is the movie, The Gospel of John. This movie is word for word based on the Good News Bible translation of the American Bible Society. The acting is filled with reality and very well done. While obviously not perfect (I didn’t direct it (-:), it is a great help to add another dimension to your teaching. Many in the class have bought their own personal copy. (I bought one for $5.00 at a local Family Christian Book Store.) We are becoming more and more a visual society. People learn more and more quickly when you can allow them to experience the scripture and not just see it as words on paper.
I still remember my early days growing up in church. The teacher gave us a booklet with a story for each week. We were to read the story and then fill in the blanks at the end. More often than not, I would give the story a quick read on Sunday morning as I was getting dressed and then filled in the blanks as quickly as I could. When class time came I was ready. The teacher then proceeded to ask each question and if discussions arose they were often not about the story at all, but some rabbit someone wanted to chase.
We live at a great time in history with so much at our disposal. Let me encourage you to take advantage of it. It will truly add new dimensions to your study and understanding of the Scripture.