Part 1: Understanding Scriptures Through Common Core talks about the why and how I developed the C.O.R.E. method of Bible study.
Part 2: C is for Context walks through the first part of the C.O.R.E. method of Bible study.
So, picking up where we left of last week, after we have completed the investigation into the context of what we are reading we move on to the next step of comprehension. This means, if we use the 1 John 1 passage from last week that we’ve answered all the questions and ideally read the entire book of 1 John before settling in on the first chapter. Now that C (context) is complete, it’s time to move on to O.
O is for Observe.
When we observe, we look for and engage in different activities each time we read. At this point, if you haven’t already, I would use the computer to copy and paste the Biblical text you are studying into a document that you can print and write all over. This is what I do. Then, when I’ve completed all of C.O.R.E., I try to go back and mark up my Bible in “final draft” fashion.
The Steps to Observe:
Step One: Circle Key Terms.
What is a key term?
It can be a word that is repeated over and over. Maybe it’s a word that the author defines. It might also be dates, locations, or specific events. It just depends on the reading. This step is easy to engage in on the first read through the text.
After the first read, if we observe any word being used repeatedly, it’s a good idea to look that term or those terms up in their original language. You can use an online interlinear Bible such as biblehub.com for this. This will give a further depth of understanding when we understand the original meaning of these key terms.
I would also include that we should observe pronouns in this section. This will not be necessary in all passages of scripture, but we should be very cognizant that when the pronoun “he” is used, it could be referring to God, Jesus/Christ, or the Holy Spirit. I find it very helpful to find the antecedents (the word the pronoun is replacing) and write them in. This leaves no question as to whom the text is referring to.
HOWEVER… while this works most of the time, Greek and English or Hebrew and English do not always share the same rules. Using the Interlinear translations are the only way to know for sure.
We can also see how this process is part of an anchor standard in common core:
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Step Two: Underline the Instructions, Claims, and/or Bottom Lines
Now, starting from the top, we will reread the chapter, but this time we will look for or observe the instructions, claims, and/or bottom lines.
The nature of the text, as in if it’s narrative in genre, a persuasive letter, or lyrical, will determine what we underline. This is a step that we should not overdo. Think special. If we underline every word or even most of the words, then the most important information will not stand out. It’s okay to only have one or two things underlined in this process.
Sometimes I ask myself, “What is the one thing that I’m supposed to take away?” Then I will underline that. If it’s not explicitly stated, I will underline the things that support the take away and write the take away in myself.
Step Three: Write in the Margins
This step is easiest to do when the Biblical text has been placed in a document. At that point we can change the margin sizes to allow us room to actually write in.
Six ways to ways we can write what we observe in the margins include:
- Visualizing: We can draw images that help us see the concept or use symbols that help to represent it.
- Summarize: We can restate in our own words either what the author is doing or what the author is saying.
- Respond: We can write down our agreements or disagreements. Typically I write down what my mind literally responds with as I read it, especially if there is an emotional response.
- Question: We can ask questions in the margins regarding things we don’t understand or the questions about other things that are further prompted by the reading.
- Clarify: We can define terms terms or concepts. We can analyse the ideas of a paragraph in context to the main idea.
- Connect: We can find ways that this connects to our experiences or other things we’ve read and write those in the margins. Here we might answer how this relates to us or the world around us.
Here you can see an example of what steps 2 and 3 might look like using our sample passage of 1 John 1.
I’m sure we can all see the value in spending this kind of time in a text and analyzing it for different things. I will tell you that I discovered a new appreciate for this text, even after I have studied it in inductive Bible Study, after examining the key terms of light and sin in the Greek. I made note of it in the margins.
This process in the classroom is called CLOSE reading a text. I walk my students through the C. and O. of a text every time we read regardless of the genre.
When it comes to anchor standards here we can see how these last two steps really play in to the following anchor standard especially as we analyze and make notes:
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Again, I understand this all takes time, but I’m certain it’s worth our time. And again, as we train students to make this a natural part of the reading process, it will become their norm.
Imagine the possibilities of a generation that truly studied their Bibles! (Click to Tweet)
That’s a pretty exciting thought, especially when we compare it to the many in our generation who barely find time to read it. It’s my honor and privilege to create a generation of students who can critically think and analyze text, knowing that for many, the Bible will become a part of that for them.
It’s not to late to be a part of changing not only ourselves but the next generation for the better. Join me by engaging yourself and others in the C.O.R.E. today.
Next week we will learn about the R. in C.O.R.E. Yes, there’s more
What About You?
This is place of community and conversation. A dialogue is taking place. Here are some ways you can participate:
- Leave a response in the comments below. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? If you’re still not sure what to say try answering these questions: What are your thoughts about this process? Do you think you could do it yourself? How would engaging in just the C and O of C.O.R.E. change your time in the Word? And, is the Common Core looking any better to you at this point? I’d love to know.
- Did you like what you read? Did you learn anything? Gain any insight? Then share that with others. Let your friends know. Use the share buttons as a way of engaging others in this dialogue.
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