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What questions should I ask to aid meditation on Scripture?

Investigate Scripture With Key Questions
observe, interpret, and apply God’s Word

In Scripture meditation, your goal is to understand the passage as well as possible. To thoroughly investigate the passage you have selected, you need to:

  1. Observe what the passage actually says, as opposed to what you think it says or what you’ve “heard” that it says.
  2. Interpret the passage. Determine the significance of the passage.
  3. Apply the passage. Discern what steps of action the Lord wants you to take in response to what you have learned from the passage.

To carry out your investigation on these three levels, it is helpful to ask questions as you look at the passage. Write down your questions and then look for the answers within the verses. If you can’t think of any questions initially, you will probably think of some as you do word studies and look up cross-references.

The Holy Spirit may remind you of another passage or verse that will shed light on the meaning of the Scripture passage you are studying. If He does, then look up those verses and be alert to the truths to which He is drawing your attention. Ask more questions. Look for more answers.

Questions to Ask at the Observation Level

Contemplate the meaning of the passage. Observe the themes and ideas it communicates.

Ask these and other questions that come to mind:

  • Under what conditions did the original readers receive this message?
  • What topics are covered?
  • Would knowledge of the culture of the day in which it was written add new insights about its meaning?
  • What commands are issued?
  • What questions are posed? Are those questions answered within the passage?
  • What facts about God does this passage tell me?
  • What facts about mankind does this passage tell me?
  • Are any specific character qualities mentioned? What are they?
  • What promises are found in these verses?
  • What key words or phrases are repeated?

Questions to Ask at the Interpretation Level

“Remember as you study that a passage of Scripture has only one meaning. The one valid meaning … is that which the author(s) intended. We are not free to inject views of reality onto the page which God and the human author of the text did not intend. This meaning is the interpretation of the passage. There is only one interpretation. However, there may be many valid applications of a text.” (Doug McIntosh, God Up Close: How to Meditate on His Word, Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1998, 97.)

Ask these and other questions that come to mind:

  • What are the definitions of the key words?
  • Do the sequences of lists or topics have significance?
  • Are the key words in this passage used in other passages as well? If so, does that additional usage of the key words provide helpful insights about the passage?
  • What is the significance of words or phrases that are repeated?

Questions to Ask at the Application Level

God’s Word can make a difference in our lives right now, today. The goal of meditation on Scripture is not to accumulate knowledge in our minds, but to apply God’s truth to our lives. Seek to understand the application God wants you to make, and rely on His grace to live according to His truth.

Ask these and other questions that come to mind:

  • What is God saying to me—today—through this passage?
  • How should I apply these truths to my life right now?
  • How should I obey the instructions found in this passage?
  • Which promises from this passage do I particularly need to embrace?
  • What practical steps can I take to avoid failures that are described in this passage?
  • What good examples that are described in this passage can I follow?

Seek answers to your questions by thoroughly studying the passage. Learn more >>

For Further Study

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