I know that I’ve told you this before, but…I have a fantastic group of couples that my husband and I are part of that get together twice a month. We started a few years ago as a beer brewing life group and have grown into a real family. I don’t mean that in a cheesy, over the top, fake way either. I mean, we are a group that varies in age and life seasons who carry each other through rough stuff, rejoice during the good stuff, speak truth and hold each other accountable, and use all of our talents and abilities to work together to serve our community, mostly through one amazing Children’s Center. One Sunday a month, we fellowship and study over dinner at each others house, rotating each month. Then another Sunday, we go on an outing at a local restaurant, preferably one with a wide beer selection since that’s obviously a shared interest. But once a month we also get the guys together and the girls together in what we call Gospel Life Groups. In these groups we spend some time digging deeper into the Word. Sometimes this means picking a bible study, book or just a book of the bible to read and discuss.
Well, a few months ago, I volunteered to organize a bible study of sorts for my girls to help us focus as we read through Ephesians. It did not go very well because we lacked structure, commitment and, truth be told, I could have been better at LEADING. I’ve got the studying, reading and writing part down but doing the leading…it’s not my spiritual gift. Especially if I’m already struggling with my own insecurities about how others will view my perspectives and my writing ability.
However, I found that I actually really enjoyed breaking down Ephesians and diving deep into what God is saying to each of us. Writing this little study forced me to look at what I was reading in a variety of ways to understand how what I was reading really pertained to me personally. I was also excited to help others dig deeper and figure out how relatable it was to them, as well. One of my dear friends even suggested that I post the study on my blog so others could tag along. That idea was interesting but it wasn’t until the other day when we were discussing our next book’s questions that it really sank in. The Author of the current book we’re studying, Linda Dillow, asked us “How are you filling your mind and heart consistently with God’s Word so that you can worship in truth?” My answer was simple…I’m not really making it a priority right now…and I should be. But the second part of her question was what struck me more…”What can you do to add to your current knowledge of God’s Word?” I thought, you know, maybe Jen was right and I should keep studying this way and share my study notes on my blog. So, when she brought the idea up again while we were eating our dinner the other night, I had to look up and think ‘Okay God, I read you loud and clear. So, here I am…sharing my studies on the blogosphere.
Before I start, though, I want to give a little insight into the methods I used in diving deep. The first thing I did was read each chapter in full…it’s not hard cause Ephesians is only like four sentences long. I jotted down any notes I had or questions and then I’d turn to my old tried and true NIV Study Bible from confirmation class. I read all the notes and cross references, again marking anything to further study. I then go back to older translations, look up origins of words and biblical usages, and consult multiple google results for Ephesians studies as well as a couple video bible studies to get a few different perspectives. Another thing that I really liked doing, which I’ve never really done before, was that I research the author and time frame a little bit. I was born and raised Lutheran and still attend a Lutheran church…therefore I believe wholeheartedly that the bible is the inspired Word of God breathed and written by God, through His servants. That can be found in any “what Lutheran’s believe” article but I also believe that while God is the TRUE author, He has an amazing way to utilize the authors unique personalities and spiritual gifts to share His message. This is true in bible authorship and in everyday life, as well. Therefore, I’m also, interested in investigating the authors a bit to see how their lives and past influence the way they write. This is hard to do with the Bible since authors are often disputed but, I try to dig into the history a little bit a least.
So, after all that…The next few blogs I bring you will be my thoughts and interpretations on the Book of Ephesians. I love to get feedback and hear your thoughts as well so if you take this journal with me, please feel free to comment on the posts. The best part of being human is our unique perspectives. We may not always agree but sometimes you see things differently than your friends or family and can bring out some ideas they never considered. For you guys I’ll post in two ways…first just my normal post but then I will post just the chapter intro questions that I made for my study group, just in case you want to read along with me and jot down your thoughts. I’ll mark them accordingly so if you want to join me on this journey, you can do it however you prefer. I challenge you to read the chapter yourself and then take those questions and any others you may have and really dig into the words and yourself along the way.
Join me on my journey through the bible…also help me think of a cute little name for this series because I’m not totally sold yet. 😉