When reading God’s Word, oftentimes, there are concepts and terms in the verses that can be explored in pursuit of understanding the subject matter better. Though looking up definitions is a great aid in grasping the depth of a word, sometimes, we need to go a little further to grasp the bigger picture or message. To do so, we may need to search through other materials to learn more about a particular subject, topic or matter.
There are all sorts of ways to dig deeper into a concept, but in today’s world, we are fortunate that we do not necessarily have to leave our homes to do so. A careful search online can connect you with valuable resources and information in your quest to understand what God is speaking about in His Word.
Helpful Ways to Learn More
concordance & indexes
In the back of many Bibles is a concordance. Sometimes it is partnered right with a dictionary. A concordance is a list of all of the Scripture that contains a specific word.
So if you looked up the word, mercy, in a concordance, you would find all of the other verses that include that word. It can be tremendously helpful in expanding what God’s Word has to say about the topic of mercy.
Depending upon your Bible, you will likely find multiple indexes. Some of the more useful indexes are on subject matters, notes, and characters in the Bible. For example, if you wanted to research Job more than just reading the book of Job, you could flip to the indexes and find every spot where Job is mentioned throughout the Bible.
the wisdom of those who have come before us.
When struggling to understand a verse, parable, or events, especially when the notes and references are not helping to bring clarity to what lies before you, then consider researching what commentators from days of old have to say. The only caution is that you need to be aware of their theological bent and the dogma that they adhered to.
Within Christianity, there can be vast and subtle differences in beliefs. Being cognizant of those differences will help you better discern the value of their opinions and interpretations, while informing you as to the influences that shaped their thinking.
creation, its complexity and beauty
God created every bit of this world and He speaks frequently of it in His Word. From the The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to animals to how the body works, God’s Word is full of references waiting to be explored.
His words have inspired and led many to discover new parts of our world, new pathways, new understanding about the body, and more understanding about how things are designed and work. When you are in His Scripture and it refers to something specific, take some time to research it. You will find that God has something to teach you through the examples He has purposefully chosen, which will help you better apply the Scripture you are working on. Do not assume there is nothing to be learned; explore what has been learned about His creation and you will be blessed.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.Psalm 32:9
Let’s dig deeper into mercy and condemnation.
- Review your notes on Matthew 12:1-8
- Explore Commentary Links
- Research Matthew 12:1-8, the topic of “mercy”, “mercy and understanding”
- Search for the effects of condemnation on the body and mind; healing effects of merciful actions and words
- Session four will be released next week