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Learning How to Ask the Why Questions of Scripture
When we read Scripture, we usually focus on the obvious “who, what, where, and what does it say and what does it mean” questions. But what is often overlooked are the vital “why” questions. And learning how to ask the “why” questions takes some time. It is not something that comes naturally. You almost have to train your brain to look beyond the obvious and force yourself to try to understand the “why” questions that come with every passage of Scripture.
Not, “why did God choose to put this statement in His Scripture?” Or, “why is the Song of Solomon included in the Bible?” But “why did Paul write this letter to the church at Phillipi in the first place?” What was the problem that needed to be addressed or the ministry that needed to be encouraged? And how would I feel if I was a member of that church, listening to Paul’s letter being read publically? What impact would it have on me?
For example, consider the following well-known teaching from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Now, let’s ask some questions about the text in order to better understand “why” Paul wrote this letter to them.
What was the setting for this statement?
Where was Paul when he wrote the letter?
What worries or fears did the church at Philippi have?
Next, begin to make it personal.
What worries and fears do I have?
What keeps me from experiencing His peace or robs me of experiencing His joy?
And what worries and fears do I have that rob me of my joy?
The Importance of the Why Questions in Bible Study
As you read Paul’s letter (or any passage of Scripture), imagine you were in the church in Philippi listening to this letter being read. How would you feel? What would the words mean to you? And what impact would they make on your life if you were living in the early days of the New Testament?
Then go deeper. What impact are these words having in your life today? And why is that?
As you look at each verse, ask yourself the “why” questions in order to understand (and feel, experience) the power of these words. And when you do, the Scriptures, every Scripture, will come alive to you in ways you may not now fully understand.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
And why is that?
2 Timothy 3:17 – that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Join us as we learn how to understand the importance of asking the “why” questions in Scripture.