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Observation 4
Posted on August 25, 2010

We have been looking at increasing observation skills. We have looked at using the seven questions; looking for repeated words, concepts, and phrases; finally we looked at using structural markers as an aid to observation. How can these be used together to wring out observation of the text?


At Dallas Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks, Prof, taught and introductory class on Bible study for many years. I had heard messages on cassette tapes that were taken from this course early in the 70’s. I tracked down a Dallas grad and copied his notes from that class. I used those notes and messages as a foundation from which I built first my habits of study and what I equipped others in our ministry to do.


In 1987 when I started at DTS, I took the course. One of the assignments for which Prof has become famous is Acts 1:8. It was simple. Come up with 50 observations on Acts 1:8. The next class, come up with 50 more. The next class… You get the pattern. The record number of observations, last time I heard, was north of 650.


The point here is that we met as a class one night a week. So that number of observations took 13 weeks roughly. Obviously that is a stretch of time. Observation takes time. It takes repeated reading. The student that came up with the 650+ did not read 1:8 one time and write down 650 observations. It took multiple readings. We have to soak ourselves in the text. Read it over and over.


Everything in our culture conspires against this. We microwave our meals. We go out to eat and get antsy when the meal has not arrived more than 15 minutes after we order. We expect issues to be resolved in 30, 60, or 120 minutes depending on the medium we are watching. We do not like to, well at least I don’t, in lines. We are not a patient people. We expect results and we expect them now. Our lives are lived in the midst of incredible noise and distraction. Through the internet, smart phones, mp3 players, we are in constant contact with data of one sort or another. It takes effort to slow down, take time, and just observe. Jesus called it abiding in John 15. The writer of Hebrews called it resting. Without abiding, resting in Christ and His Word, we will not progress in our knowledge of or relationship to Him.


PS. One of the things that we really covet is your prayer for this ministry. We send out on Mondays a weekly intercession request. If you would commit to pray for us please click here to join our intercession team.


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