Gleaning from Scripture

By Don Strickland

Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

In the first semester at seminary, students were required to take a Bible study methods course with Dr Howard Hendricks. Our first assignment in our first class was to go home and study Acts 1.8. We were to make as many observations of the verse as we could, but we had to make at least 20 observations. We were supposed to take note of who the speaker was, who was the audience, verb tense, and etc.


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At the next class session, we turned in our observations (I think I had made 28), and briefly discussed them. A few of the students were zealous over achievers and turned in 40, 50, 60 or even 70 observations! The rest of us, besides having our sanctification tested because of envy, wondered how we were ever going to match up to the spirituality (and grades) of these “holy” few.

But then Dr Hendricks gave us our next assignment. We were to go back and make at least 20 more observations on this same verse. The “holy few” were stunned and crest fallen wondering how they were going to do it. The rest of us breathed a sign of relief, again being faced with the temptation to sin, but this time it was being thankful for our lack of zealous spirituality.

Through those classes Dr Hendricks led us to understand that no matter how much one gleans from a

Don Strickland

Don Strickland

passage, or even a verse, of Scripture, there is always more to see and learn. And the more one works at it, the more one will get out of it. Yes, we are dependant upon the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and teach us, but we, too, should use our minds and the other gifts God has given us to move that process called sanctification more quickly along the road. We all should be reading the Bible regularly. However, don’t just routinely read the Bible waiting for the Spirit to strike with illumination. Read the Bible with your mind in gear.

So. . . how many observations can you make in the verse above? [Hint: Always read a verse in its context, so the context is fair game for observations if the observation itself refers to the verse.]

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