BY Femi Awodele
I got lots of advice, as I transitioned from corporate to full-time itinerant ministry, one of such advice from Uncle Bunmi (Dr. Dada), was make sure you know everything the Bible say about marriage (that I did).
For those who don’t know, I do not have any title in ministry – I prefer the appellate “Brother”. My background is B.Sc Geography (transportation), an abandoned M.Sc in transportation eng. (after 12 credits) and 13 years in logistics/Int’l Express industry spanning two continents, and rising to senior leadership.
So, in terms of qualification for full-time itinerant ministry – I had none, much like the disciples later apostles. I’m also under instruction, not to have one.
I did set out though to study – I watched Dr. Dada study (he was a professor of anatomy, now a clinical physician) and that was not me, but I picked his diligence. I sat under Dr.OkeyOnuzo for couple of years and observed his style of teaching as well. I finally came up with mine.
First, I discovered the Holy Spirit is the best TEACHER – so I never read without asking for “revelation” some insight that i’ve not seen nor observed before. Your intimacy and ability to “hear” the Spirit speak to you internally is crucial as a teacher (I hear a lot in the bathroom, shower and doing #2).
Second, I read the Bible – over the years i’ve fallen in love with some devotions and I repeat them annually (Leader’s Daily Bible read, Utmost for his Highest, and Devotion for God Guys). Then I study the Bible – History and Context is essential here.
History – understanding the history (and culture) of the Jewish people and the history of the “church” (in the past 2000 years) is very crucial to a good study of the Bible. Just this morning, I got side-tracked looking over again, the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties (based on a question from someone). I would recommend a timeline study of Bible authors – tons of lessons therein.
Context – the authors of Bible books have different things going on in their lives (their nature and nurture), Luke as a Physician is different from John, a pheasant who sees himself as the disciple Jesus loved (he repeated that a few times, but Jesus Himself never said that). Not understanding context, often lead to wrong or misleading teaching or preaching.
Understanding that there has been translations and manuscript differences is also very crucial to a good Bible study. There are older and newer manuscripts (older is more accurate – most scholars agree), then there are word-for-word and word-for-thought translations (different from post-modern PC translations), finally there is the etymology issue (original Greek and Hebrew) – understanding what is meant, by looking up the root.
Personally, I rarely use commentary – since it is someone’s opinion. I do only when I desire to know what other people think, when it is not conclusive within me.
Thirdly – TIME – I have been blessed for the past 16+ years to have a home office, i’m naturally inclined to study than pray (I could be in a room for hours studying with no pee break – especially if I have a Goal, WORD study or for a Book, etc.). Devoting such time is essential (not taking it away from family).
I thank God daily for the internet, what took time going through Greek and Hebrew Bible is now a click, whatever information is needed is at a finger tip (one just must check multiple sources). I read a lot of books as well (secular and faith-based authors – initially I devoted time to them, now I mostly read when i’m traveling – which could be a lot too).
Please note, I’m not asking you (anyone) to study like I do – I however believe we have to study, our nature and nurture would affect our study style, what is important is INTENTIONAL studying God’s WORD. If you have questions – ASK those you respect, you don’t have to agree with them, and don’t be afraid of not taking any position – just understand the argument from both sides.
Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc., a marriage ministry with chapters worldwide based in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States
-The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer/author, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Headline News Nigeria.