The more closely we look at and observe the text, the easier it will be to accurately learn what the text means.
Using the triumphal entry passage in John 12, I look at the kind of details that we need to notice as we look at a Bible passage.
The more closely we look at and observe the text, the easier it will be to accurately learn what the text means in the next phase of our study.
So, what type of details are we noticing?
Who is being referred to in the passage? How are they being described? Who do the pronouns refer to? This is the first and, in some ways, the most important detail to notice.
Why? Because the entire Bible is primarily a revelation of God and so noticing who is in the passage should get us thinking about God from the very beginning. (Click here)
Are there any time references in the passage? Perhaps a time of day, or a point on the calendar. But it is not just about explicit time references, there is also the whole issue of tenses.
Is something written with a tense that stands out – perhaps a reference to the past or the future. (Click here)
Does the passage refer to any locations? These could be geographic (i.e. Jerusalem), or circumstantial (sitting on a donkey), or they could be out of this world (God’s throne).
Notice any details to places or locations in the passage. Do you need to check a map to note a specific location? (Click here)
This is a catch-all question! What is repeated? What seems to be significant? What other details are you seeing in the passage?
What key terms are being used? (Click here)
Which other passages are feeding into the passage you are looking at? These could be earlier Biblical content that is being quoted or alluded to in the passage you are studying.
Or it could be earlier passages in the same book that are influencing our understanding of the passage we are studying. (Click here)
How did the writer choose to write the passage? Is it a narrative, poetry, or discourse? At the Look stage, we don’t need to conclude why they did it, but we do need to notice how it was written. (Click here)