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The text will be illumined by the context, or scripture immediately preceding and following.Every occurrence and utterance should be studied in its surroundings.
The Bible is unlike any other book for it is essentially a "love letter" from God to mankind. You have probably received a letter from your sweetheart when you were dating or courting. You kept checking the mailbox to see if the mail had arrived.We live in a fast paced society and honing the vital skill of observation is not the natural inclination for most of us.We want answers fast (How many times have you heard someone say "Just Google it"?Observation is the means by which the data (Ed: Don't let that word "data" discourage you - observation should never become a mechanical, pedantic exercise, but should always be like a much anticipated journey which eventually leads to the matchless joy of discovering for yourself what God has said in a particular passage of the Bible) of a passage becomes part of the mentality of the student. Zondervan) You may be surprised and maybe even a bit insulted by the suggestion that most of us have never really been taught how to read a book, much less a divinely inspired book.It supplies the raw materials upon which the mind may operate in the interpretative process (Ed: As led by the Holy Spirit - Jn , 1Jn ). (Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book is a recommended secular work and makes for fascinating reading on this topic).
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And slowly the appetite will re-assert itself, and you will come to esteem the Word of God more than your necessary food (Job -note) . (Ps 1-Spurgeon note) George Sweeting once said "Prayer is the "open sesame" to the Bible.