Bible comprehension is all about learning how to correctly read the Bible. Of course, context is key. We always want to be careful that we consider the context of every passage and that we are tracking with what the writer of the book or letter intended to get across to his audience. A general understanding of biblical history (like a good Bible timeline) can help with that. An understanding of the differing genres of writing using in the Bible is also helpful. In addition to reading with context in mind, last week, I introduced you to four major themes that I look for when studying the Bible: creation, fall, redemption and restoration. If you focus on finding these themes, you’ll have a better understanding of the meta-narrative (that’s a big word meaning overall story) of scripture. What you’ll discover is al of the wonderful ways that individual books and stories of the Bible point back to God and his plans. Welcome back to Bible Comprehension 102!
Bringing the Bible to Life for Mom
A Vulnerability to Sin!
Our second theme is important because it teaches us quite a bit about humanity and our broken nature. As you read through the entire Bible, there will be many times that you see the writers refer back to the time that Adam and Eve disobeyed God. We call this the Fall. Just like creation is an important theme in the Bible, so is the fall. The Fall reminds us of our vulnerability to sin. It reminds us that our nature is to disobey God and do our own thing. It shows us how broken we really are.
Learning About Humanity in The Fall
The Fall is an important theme in the Bible because it’s where look into a mirror. Culture would tell us that we are basically good. And that’s probably true if the measuring stick we are using is other wicked people. But that’s not the measure that God uses. Because God is perfect and holy, his standards of “goodness” are far superior to our standards. We would rather be graded on a sliding scale! The interesting thing about The Fall is that mankind was given only one rule to follow, just one. But in the face of temptation, and a selfishly flawed thinking process, mankind couldn’t even follow that one rule.
There are a few basics about man that are established in the account of the Fall. It’s a good practice to make a list of some of the things you learn as you read. Remember that none of these things were present prior that one grave decision by Eve. Here is the list I compiled as a result of the Fall:
- People felt shame.
- They blamed others for their own disobedience.
- Mankind became fearful of God.
- Humanity tried to hide from God.
- The perfect relationship with God was broken.
- Mankind was banned from the perfect garden God had created for them.
- Work would be harder because of sin.
- Women’s pain would increase in childbirth.
- Sin was now a permanent part of their world, along with the knowledge of evil.
That’s quite a list and one that we can all identify with! Life on earth as we know it has always been influenced by sin. We have never known anything other than a world tainted with evil.
As you read through the Bible, look for these basics! This is all part of Bible Comprehension 101!
Bringing the Bible to Life for Kids
Let’s Pick Up with Genesis 3
Let’s see what we can learn about mankind as we read Genesis 3. That’s Bible Comprehension 102. Choose a translation that is easy to understand. I use the NIrV version. Now talk through the following questions. Let your children make the discoveries, that makes learning fun for them.
- Ask what your child learns about humans from this passage.
- Make a list of what you learned.
- What surprised you in this account? (one thing that surprised me was how readily Eve listened to the voice of a stranger!)
- Did you learn anything about God in this story? Make a list of those things, too!
Now Read Romans 1:20-22
Next, with your child read Romans 1:20-22. Here is the text in the NIrV version:
“20 Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. I’m talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So people have no excuse for what they do. 21 They knew God. But they didn’t honor him as God. They didn’t thank him. Their thinking became worthless. Their foolish hearts became dark. 22 They claimed to be wise. But they made fools of themselves.”
Make Some Connections Back to Genesis
Now, help them make the connection back to what they just read in Genesis 3. In this way, you will model for them how to read the Bible as a whole, not just separate parts. Now talk about the following questions:
- What are some of the things in these verses that remind you of what you have just read in Genesis 3?
- Can you name a quality of God that we see in creation?
- What do you learn about people from these verses?
- How did Eve dishonor God in Genesis 3?
- In what ways to people dishonor God today?
- Are there any instructions to live by in these verses? What are they?
- Give an example of how you can live this out.
Wow! How wonderful to read Romans 1:20-22 and have a better understanding of the passage based on what we learned in Genesis 3 about the Fall. This is just one small example of how God reveals to us what we are like and what he is like in the words of the Bible. Keep asking questions!
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