As you may know, I teach Inductive Bible Study to 4th-6th graders. What is unique about my class is that I have parents not only help the kids with their homework, but also attend class. It makes for a great “vibe” in the class because the kids see the value of Bible study in the example of their parents, it makes the class feel more grown-up, and we often get deeper, richer discussions. Everybody wins.
Right now, my class is studying Revelation. I’ve been writing my own material because I want to do (and not do) some specific things with this study. There are some basic principles I’m using the frame up the class. They are:
- We’re going to be patient, and be careful.
- We’re going to leave a margin for mystery.
- It’s more important to see what we can learn about God than it is to connect every dot.
We are now ten chapters in, so we’re almost halfway through the book. This seemed like a good time to stop, back up, and take a big picture look at our study. We did this several weeks ago and made a list of what we were learning about God, but this time I wanted to make a list of what we were learning about God’s Word. In Chapter Ten, there is a passage describing John taking a small book from an angel to eat, and the angel tells him it will be sweet to taste but bitter in his stomach. In the homework, I had the kids go back and read a similar passage in Ezekiel, where he is told to eat a “sweet as honey” scroll, too (Ezekiel 3:1-3).
At the end of class, I wanted the kids to stop and reflect on the importance of God’s Word and how much they were really learning about it by doing this study. Here is our incredible list. Some of these were from the kids, but most were from the adults. What a great time of discussion we had as a group!
What we are learning about God’s Word
- God uses figurative language to help us understand.
- It’s not always happy and cheery.
- It nourishes us.
- It’s as sweet as honey. It can also be bitter.
- It’s consistent across the Old Testament and New Testament.
- It’s alive.
- It’s always true.
- It’s always relevant, then and now.
- It’s not just about God’s Word; it’s also about God’s people.
Now THAT’S a great list! By focusing on lots of Observation (the first of the three steps of Inductive Bible Study), we’re moving carefully through the text and picking things up we would definitely miss if we were focused on timelines, extra-biblical intrigue, and end-times views. It’s easy to get jammed up in the details, symbols, and cross-references of Revelation, so you have to make a point to take an aerial view from time to time.
I’m thrilled because we still have twelve more chapters to go! Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted on other lists we do as we go along!