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Bible OIA Project

1. Observation: What does the text say?Remember that not every observation detail will be present in every passage; therefore, feel free to use theappropriate Bible study tools to carry out this step.• Context. What is going on in the verses before and after this verse?• Genre. What kind of writing is this?• Continuity. What key terms, topics, or themes are repeated or emphasized—in the verse and in the context?• Proportion. How much space is devoted to each topic in relation to other topics?• Structural details. How are the ideas connected to one another? What are the relationships among the ideas?• Grammatical details. How do factors such as sentence type, verb tenses, and modifiers contribute to the meaningof the text?• Figures of speech. What figures of speech did the author use, and why?2. Interpretation: What does the text mean?• What issues or problems does the text address?• What meaning did the text have for the original audience?• What general principles does the author describe or imply for the original audience?• What principles in the text apply to our situation today?3. Application: What does the text mean to me?• What do I have in common with the original audience?• What response did the author desire from the original audience?• What response does God expect from me?• What am I going to do about the truth of this text?This is an outline of the project Step 1: Astute ObservationRead the passage of Scripture with a discerning eye, looking for clues to the writer’s intentions. Here are a few of thethings that skilled interpreters are careful to notice:1. Context: the flow of thought surrounding the passage• the immediate context of the passage: the verses before and after the passage• the background and purpose of the whole book (see Luke 1:1–4)• the historical and cultural context: what was going on in the society of the writer and his audience2. Genre: the kind of literature, such as narrative, poetry, or epistle3. Continuity: repetition of key terms or important topics4. Proportion: how much space is devoted to a certain topic (for example, how much text the Gospel writers devotedto the last week before the Crucifixion)5. Structural details: the way ideas are connected in the passage• rhetorical question• principle and illustration• comparison and contrast6. Grammatical details• pronoun reference• sentence type• phrases and clauses that modify words or other phrases7. Figures of speech: Which ones did the writer use and why?metaphorsimilehyperboleironyanthropomorphismpersonificationeuphemismStep 2: Balanced InterpretationAfter carefully gathering all the data you can find in the text, you as a skilled interpreter will articulate the generalprinciples underlying the text. To identify those principles, the skilled interpreter asks three important questions:1. What problem or issue does the text address?Biblical writers did not just deal with problems unique to their times. They addressed timeless issues like money,power, God, life after death, sex, and family relationships.2. What light did the text shed on those issues for its original readers?Remember that in reading the Bible, you are looking over someone’s shoulder. The words on thepage before you were originally intended for another person or persons. You must be careful to discover whatthe text would have meant to them in their circumstances before you try to apply those principles to your owncircumstances.3. What general response does the author describe or imply for the original audience—and for us today?Step 3: Conscientious ApplicationNow that you have determined (as much as possible) the meaning for the original audience, you must determinewhat that same text means in your own life. Again, the following questions:What do I have in common with the original audience?What response did the writer seek from the original audience?What response does God expect from me?What am I going to do about it?This is the bottom line. All the work done so far is futile if you fail at this point. The Scripture can have no place in yourlife until it has an impact on the choices you make in everyday life.

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