Observation: What Does It Say?
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11
The step of observation involves examining God's love letter and looking for "signposts." Ask the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? In the process of observation, it is important to notice grammatical signposts. Here are several to look for:
Therefore explains that what is going to be said is based on what has already been said.
For explains the purpose or reason.
If makes a statement conditional upon another stated truth.
And connects two thoughts together.
When denotes time.
But shows that what is being said is in contrast to something that has been said.
In observation you are like a crime scene investigator. You examine the scene, check the context, and see whose fingerprints are in the verse. You scrutinize the passage, look for clues, and gather information. In the next step of interpretation, you take the evidence back to the lab, see how it fits together, and discover meaning.
As you read your Bible today, look for these words and apply their meanings.