Let’s Rethink This!

Let's Rethink This!  "Rethink" Common C.O.R.E. Bible Study www.shellytiffin.comWhat is the point of spending so much time gaining an understanding of the scriptures if we don’t do anything with it? After spending a significant amount of time in the academia of Biblical text, we should have not only knowledge of the scripture, but understanding as well. Now, it’s time to move that to wisdom. This week, we are looking at the R. in the C.O.R.E. method of Bible Study. If you haven’t read the first three parts in this series, it will definitely add context to what we are talking about today.

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.

Part 3: 3 Ways To Observe Biblical Text takes us through methods of observing text using best teaching practices and visual aides.

As I considered this post throughout the week, I kept coming back the concept of head knowledge verses head knowledge. I asked myself many questions including how do these two worlds of Bible Study and Common Core come together here where it seems the most logical place for them to part ways. In all of this contemplation, I was literally living out the R. in C.O.R.E.

R is for Rethink

In the classroom, we don’t engage minds in such a lengthy process of understanding for the sake of students being bale to recall facts for a test. Rather, it’s to push them to think beyond the text. In this process, we ask them to devise their own higher level questions in which they themselves seek to answer and engage each other with in conversation (aka Socratic Seminars).

The process of formulating the questions is difficult. Why? It requires the students to connect text with meaning and with life. It requires them to realize the words on a page serve a much larger purpose. Finally, it requires them to ask themselves why the text matters.

And ultimately, we read the Bible because we know it matters. We know that there is treasure trove of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to be gained. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t read it.

Now, I think many people start Bible study on this step. They start here at the idea of reading for application before they’ve read for knowledge and understanding by spending time looking at the context and observing all the text has to offer academically. The danger in skipping the other steps is that we may fail to see the complete or most accurate application.

Think like scholars then Christ followers- "Rethink" Common C.O.R.E. Bible Study www.shellytiffin.com

We should read and think about Biblical text first like scholars, then reread and “Rethink” about it like Christ followers. (Click to Tweet)

How Do We Rethink the Text?

1. Pray

This step in the process of studying Biblical text is one that is done by the work of the Holy Spirit. Now, I realize every time we approach Biblical text we should first approach the throne asking the Holy Spirit to guide our minds and illuminate our hearts. But in the transition of reading the text for knowledge and understanding to reading it for wisdom purposes, we must claim God’s promise:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

2. Ask the Right Question: How does this apply to past, present, or future circumstances in my life?

When it comes to the Common Core curriculum, we can see this step in a Depth of Knowledge level 3 task: Apply a concept in a new place.  Hmmm, kind of like applying Common Core to the Bible? :)

What is the motivation behind asking such questions? Our love for God!

Where the Lord is fully known, He is intensely loved.  -Charles Spurgeon

If we look at our example of 1 John 1 again, we can see this laid out.

 1 John  1 "Rethink" Common C.O.R.E. Bible Study www.shellytiffin.com

3. Search For the Answers/Engage in Conversations

Many times when we read the Bible we are left with questions. The problem is when they remain just that: questions. If we are to sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron, we must do our best to answer the questions. Whether this is through asking them of others and engaging in conversation about them or doing the research on our own, we must act upon these questions.

We must also be willing to let others speak honestly into our lives when it comes to the application process. I know from personal experiences that many times my closest friends see the application for my life long before I do. I can save myself  a lot of time and heart ache by allowing myself to be vulnerable and just ask them.

And in tying this back to the Common Core once again, we see this in the following anchor standard:

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Let’s Rethink the “head to heart” thing also:

Many of us have heard of the concept of moving knowledge from our head to our hearts in the Christian world. We may have also heard it said that people miss heaven by 18 inches, the distance from the head to the heart.

What I don’t like about this idea has more to do with our culture than anything. Today, people equate the heart with emotions. Even when I hear this phrase, I think it’s something I need to feel. And to be honest, sometimes I read the Bible, and I just don’t feel it.

However, if we look up the word heart in the Bible that’s not what it refers to. The word heart is used 855 times in the New Testament. And, while there are several different meanings, but it primarily has one particular meaning.

“Most often the word heart expresses the totality of a person’s nature and character and includes all 3 of the traditional personality functions of man: emotion (or affections), thought, and will. An example verse is Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.”  (C. Micheal Holloway)

When the Bible refers to our heart, it’s referring to the totality of who we are as human beings.

Instead, of thinking about moving the knowledge and understanding we gained in learning the Context and Observing the text from our head to our heart, let’s think about it this way: in the Rethink process we convert knowledge and understanding to wisdom.

And what is wisdom? It’s the ability to arrange, articulate, and apply knowledge and understanding to the circumstances that arise in one’s life.

And this definition leads us right back to the question we need to ask: How does this apply to past, present, or future circumstances in my life?


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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