Arming ourselves with the Word of God
In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul urges us to “be strong in the Lord” and “put on the full armor of God”, including “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This week in our Proverbs 31 online Bible study, we were challenged to do this by “verse mapping” one of the Scriptures mentioned in Chapter 4 of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.
Heather Blier talks about verse mapping on her blog. These are the steps she suggests going through when you read a verse or passage:
1. Personalize it…cross out words like “you”, “we”, “whoever”, “them” and write your name above it.
2. Highlight parts that jump out at you.
3. Read the verse in context – the whole chapter or passage.
4. Read the verse in at least two other translations. Note on the card words or phrases from other translations that help you understand or apply the verse. If you don’t have other translations laying around the house a couple of good resources for several translations are BibleGateway and YouVersion.
5. Find cross references and note anything brings new meaning. Cross references are verses that have similar words or phrases. My Bible has them listed in the center column. Other’s have them in footnotes at the bottom. Bible Gateway and YouVersion both can help you find some.
6. Circle a word or two and do a word study on it.
● Look up the word in your dictionary and see if the definition gives you any insight
● Use a topical index and/or concordance in the back of your Bible to find other verses
where the word appears
● Look up synonyms (same meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning) in a concordance or online Bible tools site to find other verses.
The passage I picked to take a closer look at is 2 Corinthians 5:14-18:
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (NIV)
Here is my paraphrase of the passage after I went through the verse mapping process:
The love of Christ strongly urges, even forces me (see I Corinthians 9:16 and Jude 1:3) to live for Him. You see, I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and rose again. When I chose to follow Him, I died to my old sinful self along with all my selfish desires. I no longer see things the same way. My perspective, goals, and desires are new. Instead of seeking for pleasure and happiness, my ultimate goal is to honour and obey Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my sin and made it possible for me to have a restored relationship with God the Father. I’m no longer a prisoner of sin, but a child of the King. It is now my desire and obligation to share the good news of what God has done for me with those around me so that they too repent and choose to have fellowship with God.
Do you have other suggestions on ways to study God’s Word? Which verses or passages have you been studying lately? I look forward to hearing what you’re learning in your walk with God.