It is a habit of mine that when I begin the study of a new book, I work through some “overview projects” to help me to slow down my reading and force me to see more of the logical connections, themes and threads of the argument of a book. For years three particular projects have dominated my reading. One, I make a list of all of the names and terms for God that a biblical writer uses. Looking for these names and terms slows down my reading and often yields some fascinating discoveries. (Did you know that Isaiah uses over 120 names and terms for God? You can learn a lot about God and his character by studying these names.)
Two, I make a book chart of the major themes and sections of the book. Three, I write a short summary of the book that helps me to set the book in my heart and give me an easy handle to talk about the content of the book in a brief but helpful way to others.
For years, I have made these available to the congregation but honestly, I have begun to question if I wasn’t hindering people from finding their own treasures in the Scripture by giving them lists of mine.
So, in the interest of helping Bible students mine the treasures of the word of God, I am going to add another file to those available on my BLOG. For each book, I will give a list of ten projects that you, the diligent student of the word of God might use plumb the depths of the word of God. Pick and choose the ones that work for you. A year from now, pick another one. There are endless delights in the Word of God. Enjoy.
These and other files will all be under the Bible Books Basics pull down menu on the BLOG which is under the Books and Resources tab.
Projects for Multiple Readings of the Book of
- Find three key words per chapter.
- Find all of the disciples that Paul names. Make a chart of how he describes them.
- Locate on a map all of the geographical reference points no matter how small.
- Identify all of the references to the second coming, not just the words, but whole paragraphs in which it is discussed.
- Identify all of the structural markers of logic in the book. (Look at key prepositions like, “for”, “therefore”, “because”, “through”, “to” and words and phrases like, “that”, “so”, “in order that”, etc.
- Make a list of all the terms and names used to describe believers. What does this tell you about how Paul was training young believers to think of themselves?
- Read the entire book in 7 consecutive days using a different translation each time. (Suggestion: Use these in order, KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, Message, CSB, ESV). This order will help express the historical progression of our understanding of the text by teams of translators.
- Read Acts 16:1-17:15. Now, before you read 1 Thessalonians 1-5, remember that this letter of Paul’s was written probably within three months of Acts 16ff. What does this tell you about how Paul followed up young believers?
- Make a list of all the commands in the book, chapter by chapter. Where are the most? Where are the least? How will you build obedience to these commands in to your life?
- What doctrines are addressed? Make a list.