Have you ever played a musical instrument—the piano, the trumpet, or perhaps the guitar? Learning to play an instrument entails taking time to master the basics—a tedious process. You learn where the notes are and how to play them correctly. You repeat the same exercises over and over … and over, until you get them right. You will never outgrow the basics, but there is more to playing the piano than reading notes, finding the correct hand position, and playing scales. You will eventually think less about mechanics and begin to experience the wonder and beauty of the musical piece. When we talk about the role of the Spirit in interpreting the Bible, we move beyond mere mechanics to the dynamic nature of a relationship. God gave us his Word to communicate with us; he gives us his Spirit to help us understand what he has said.

Our purpose in Grasping God’s Word is to teach you how to discover the meaning of the biblical text and apply that meaning to your life. We spend a lot of time talking about methods, steps, procedures, and the like. We encourage you to analyze words, sentences, and paragraphs and discourses. We emphasize thinking and digging and searching. Some of you may be asking yourself, “Is this all there is to Bible study? Is my relationship to the Bible being reduced to a set of interpretive steps?” Jesus tells his disciples in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all the truth.” “If we have the Spirit,” you may ask, “why do we need to worry about proper procedures?” Otherwise said, what role does the Spirit play in biblical interpretation? This is what the present unit is all about.

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