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Introduction

Unit 1 of Grasping God’s Word delves into the whole issue of Bible translation. How did we get our English Bible? What are the various ways the Bible has been translated into English? What are the two main approaches to making a translation? And which translation is the best?

Next, we introduce you to the process of reading, interpreting, and applying the Bible, a process that we refer to as the “Interpretive Journey.” This journey starts with a call to careful reading, because this is where we determine what the biblical text meant in its original context (their town). Before we are ready to apply that meaning to our lives (our town), however, we need to measure the width of the river that separates us from the world of the text. Once we have crossed the river, we will be able to apply the meaning of the Bible in relevant and reliable ways.

Then we will start learning how to read with more insight and understanding. Superficial reading needs to be replaced by serious reading. We will show you how to observe smaller sections of text, looking for things like repeated words, contrasts, comparisons, lists, figures of speech, influential verbs, nouns, and conjunctions. Here we will learn how to read carefully at the sentence level. Then we will move beyond the sentence level to the longer and more complex units of text—paragraphs and discourses. We will learn to detect things like dialogue, questions and answers, tone, connections between episodes, and story shifts. This is important to know if you really want to hear what God is saying through his Word.

In these first units of Grasping God’s Word you will get your hands dirty as you learn about Bible translations and dig deeply into the process of biblical interpretation. The theory can wait for a few units as we learn how to read carefully and thoughtfully. This becomes the foundation for understanding what the Bible means and how we can live it out.


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