“Oh, is He a Galilean?” Pilate asked. When they said that He was, Pilate sent Him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time. Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about Him and had been hoping for a long time to see Him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on Him and sent Him back to Pilate. (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)Luke 23:6-12
Now isn’t this an interesting short passage. Not the least of all because it is all coloured green in the middle of a sea of the rainbow colours given to the other surrounding passages. You know what that means so you ought to be able to interpret it correctly. I am not going to immediately comment on this segment. The reason is that I combine the Gems and the Deeper Bible course together. I started the idea of Deeper Bible and Gems around the same time. One is meant to explain or illustrate the other. Hence I don’t just give you the answers, the idea is that you work at finding the answers for yourself. Some people love it and some people hate it. But at least both can live together harmoniously. If you don’t wish to do the work, you can sit back and wait for the answers. So today’s Gem will effectively be a “holiday” for you. You can just wait until Ian gives you the “answer” in the next Gem. The others of you have some time to work on it for yourself. There are hordes of people who tell me they love the Gems because it is like I am there helping you with the search and the answers along the way. Guided Bible study as one person told me. That’s great if you think that but remember you have the Guide of all guides in you, not beside you. Namely the Holy Spirit Himself. As I have told you before, the Bible is the only book you can read where you have the author with you at all times. Utilize and maximize the potential. That’s what Deeper Bible is all about.
Give a person a fish; feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish; feed them for a lifetime. I am in it for the long haul. I don’t do this primarily for you, I do it for me and will continue to do it long after I stop writing Gems. (Oh that day will come). It is my daily routine when it comes to the Word of God. I just believe that God had me share it with you via Bible Gems and Deeper Bible.
I have also told you many times, you will get the most out of your Bible study when you begin to ask the right questions. So take some time now to read this passage carefully. Pay attention to the big picture as well as the details and then come up with the questions that you want to ask. What things puzzle you? Which parts of the text if any, confuse you? What underlying questions do you have? Is there more information you think you need? Are elements of the text unclear? Are there other related questions you wish to ask?
I was taught early on in my Christian life to learn to ask questions of the Bible text before me. Don’t be afraid to put question marks in the margin of your Bible to encourage you to come back to that question later. It is all to do with asking the right questions. Learn to ask questions of the passage you are reading.
- Why did He do that?
- Why did He say that?
- Why did that happen?
- What is “that” there for?
- Why did he miss that out?
I feel to share with you all today what I shared with the Deeper Bible students in the final 101 class this week. It is not a secret, it’s public knowledge. Here are four different approaches you can take to understanding the Bible.
The Standard Method:
- What is the verse saying to me?
- What is the meaning of the verse?
- Is there anything I don’t understand?
- How can I apply this verse to my life?
The Traditional Method:
- Is there a truth to be grasped?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there an example to follow?
- Is there a sin to forsake?
- Is there a promise to claim?
The Bob Gass Method:
- Is there a point to ponder?
- Is there a verse to remember?
- Is there a question to consider?
- Is there an action to take?
The John Piper Method: (IOUs)
- Incline my ear/heart to Your Word (Ps 119:36)
- Open my eyes to see the wonder in Your Word (Ps 119:18)
- Unite my heart to fear Your name (Ps 86:11)
- Satisfy me with your Steadfast love (Ps 90:14)
John Piper’s method is even more poignantly focused on your interaction with God in the process of your Bible Study. Don’t forget what John wrote. Not John Piper, but John the Apostle, the one Jesus loved.
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life.”John 5:39-40
I have heard God’s audible voice twice in my life. The first time was when I was in the middle of having my Quiet Time in my study in Matamata, NZ in the 1970’s. I had been going through my prayer list. My prayer list was on a piece of graph paper with the days of the week across the top and the list of the people or items I was praying about regularly down the side. The graph paper grid squares I used to tick off when I prayed for that person so that through the days of the week I would not leave anyone out. There were too many people on my list to pray for at one time. I had just read John 5. As I settled back into my ROUTINE, I heard a voice behind me which said, “Ian, what are you doing?” I turned around to see who had come into the room; it was that clear a voice. But there was no one in the room. I puzzled about it, even prayed about and then settled back into MY ROUTINE again. Then I heard the voice again and the same words as before only this time the intonation had changed. “Ian. What ARE you doing?”. At that point I started to cry. I realised I had left God out of my Quiet Time and I was just searching the Scriptures daily thinking that they testify of Him. But I had failed to come to the God of the Bible and talk to Him, interact with Him. Don’t leave God and especially the Holy Spirit out of your routine. Make your routine integrally and intimately connected with Him.
As you go through this exercise related to these seven verses in Luke today, list your questions. If you wish to, share them with me. Who knows, I may include your questions in a compilation of the questions I receive and answer them in the Gems to follow. That may or may not happen now. I am currently posting the Gems I wrote on Luke in the past to my website. So that when the new website is fully functional everything will be accessible to you. So this is not live like it is when I am truly in the midst of gemming a Bible book. But if you came up with a doozy of a question I probably won’t be able to resist including it. In fact I will turn this gem into a live one by delaying posting any other Gem today to the website and just share this one. Meaning I am open to the questions you contribute FOR ONE DAY.
When I start working from the new website I will begin gemming Philippians. May God bless you all you richly, excite and amaze you with His closeness.
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life.Jesus
(I couldn’t resist giving John 5:39-40 to you again – repetition for emphasis)
You don’t have to be perfect, but you must be genuine.Bob Gass
Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package! Have you?Rick Godwin
Jesus taught profound truth in simple ways. We do the opposite. Many “deep” teachers are actually just muddy!Rick Warren
The quality of your Bible study is set by the questions you ask yourself. The more honest & real the questions, the more you’ll grow.Ian Vail
When all is said and done, more is said than done.Anon