The Unfolding of God’s Word with Kayla Ferris
by Katie Haines
I once took a six-mile hike up to a mountain lake with my dad and sister. About three-quarters of the way up, I decided I had seen enough. The trail had been beautiful, and my legs were giving out. But Dad urged us on, so we dug deep and kept going. There are no words this side of heaven to describe the view at the top.
Have you ever sat with a Bible passage and thought you had gleaned all there was to learn and teach? Maybe the passage begins to feel stale and overused. Today, I want to talk to those who desire to teach and communicate God’s Word in fresh ways.
Recently I was doing some research for a Christmas Bible study when I came across a story in Timothy Keller’s book Hidden Christmas. He tells of a Christian conference he attended and a particular session on reading the Bible. The speaker gave them one verse to focus on and 30 minutes to write down at least 30 things they learned. She warned them that after ten minutes, they would think they had reached their end, but to keep going. Keller said this is exactly what happened to him. Yet when he kept with it, new insights began to appear.
Keller writes, “At the end of the thirty minutes, the teacher asked us to circle on our papers the best insight or most life-changing thing we had gotten out of the text. Then she said, ‘Okay, how many of you found this most incredible, life-changing thing in the first five minutes?’ Nobody raised their hand. ‘Ten minutes?’ Nobody raised their hand. ‘Fifteen minutes?’ A few hands. ‘Twenty minutes?’ A few more. ‘Twenty-five minutes?’ Even more. That session changed my attitude toward the Bible and, indeed, my life.”
Obviously, I had to try it for myself. Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” When we unfold God’s Word, layer by layer by layer, it only gets deeper and richer and more beautiful. Does this take extra work, time and patience? Absolutely. But like that mountain hike, the view at the top is worth it.
So, what do you say we try this out together today? Grab a notebook and your Bible and turn to Luke 8:22-25.
For the first 10 minutes, read over the passage several times. Write down your initial thoughts and any major biblical themes or core truths that are present. Keep an eye out for repeated words. Just as a point of reference, I’ll show you my notes after each time interval. After ten minutes, my notes looked like this:
Are you starting to feel like you pulled about all you can from the passage? At this point, I’m feeling the tension. Now let’s go for another 10 minutes. If you have a study Bible, maybe read the commentary. Use a dictionary app to define certain keywords you find. Continue to write down what you learn. Twenty minutes in, my notes looked like this:
Amazing how the Word unfolded more still. So, here is where we dig deep and trust the Holy Spirit. Take 10 more minutes to sit with the passage. Try to paraphrase it in your own words and see if anything comes out. Ask yourself “What is Jesus saying? To his disciples? To me? To the world?” When you are finished, mark the insight that stood out the most to you. Here are my notes after a full 30 minutes.
Astounding. Indeed, for me, it was in the last 10 minutes that the richest insights were revealed.
Now take a moment to confirm what was revealed from the Word. Does it agree with the overall story of the Bible? Does it fit in the context of the Scripture you are in? Can you support this insight with various other scriptures in the Bible? If so, you are well on your way to teaching and sharing God’s Word in a fresh, breathtaking way.
Trust God’s Word to endlessly unfold. Have confidence in the Holy Spirit’s guidance to keep going. The view at the top is worth it.
About Kayla Ferris
Kayla Ferris is the wife of a farmer, the mother of four daughters ages 12, 9, 7, and 4, and a friend to good books, fresh air, and dark chocolate. But first and foremost, she is a follower of Jesus. Kayla has been a stay-at- home mom for the past 12 years, where she has spent her time washing dishes, folding laundry and changing diapers. Kayla also has a passion and stirring in her heart to put words together to share God’s love and truth. Her blogs are honest and heartfelt, with a splash of humor for good measure. You can read more of what God has been teaching Kayla by visiting her website, www.manna2go.com. or by downloading the Proverbs 31 Ministries First 5 app.
June 2, 2020