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Newsletter  -  Friday, March 26, 2010


Is the Sunday message enough to grow in God?

I was reading Ephesians 4 today and some of the scriptures jumped out as a foundation to what I wanted to share about studying the Bible. Anyone who ministers in dance, or any other form of worship, is a leader in the body of Christ and that carries a personal responsibility to know God and walk in constant revelation of who He is. The second part of our responsibility is to help the Body of Christ grow healthy and strong by sharing the wisdom of God and teaching those around us how to go after God. What I want to look at is in verse 12 & 13 – “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ”. Verse 16 – “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love”. 


What I want to share is often called “exegesis”, a Greek word for explaining or interpreting a text. We believers should be in a continual growth state into maturity, and even when we think we have reached maturity, there is still a whole lot more to learn than we can ever do in a lifetime. Our growth comes from knowing the Lord more and more, listening, obeying and loving Him face to face rather than from a distance. One of the ways we grow is by digging into the Scriptures to really understand them and to see how they apply to us personally. As leaders, it is our responsibility to “equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ”. What I am going to show you can be done as assignments for the group so that when everyone comes back together they all have something to share. Watch how fast growth happens then and a hunger to dig into God’s word.


This first exercise will require you to use a dictionary (book or online). Select a portion of scripture; I find that God is usually laying one on my heart at that time so I go with it. Now begin to rewrite the scripture by using the definitions for each word. It is often helpful to include the synonyms of the definitions. Here is an example from my book Worship Steps:

Psalm 91:1 - He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty

I began to look up the definitions of the words in the dictionary; here they are:

dwell      a. have one’s habitation (home, one’s own place, residence)

                 b. linger as in speech or thought

in -            surrounded or contained by

shelter -    something serving as a protection (defends and preserves)

most -       greatest amount, to the greatest extent

high -        a. being far up or reaching far up

                 b. superior

                 c. notably large in amount

will -          a. power of conscious choice or action

                 b. determination

                 c. desire, wish or want   

rest -         a. sleep, repose (place, tranquility)

                 b. inactivity after work

                 c. support, base

shadow    a. darkness of a shaded area

                  b. slight remnant or trace (something left over, faint signal or trail)

                  c. shade (I loved this definition because the shade provides evidence that something    is there)

almighty -   totally powerful God

 

So now I rewrote Psalm 91:1 using the definitions like this:

He who has his habitation, the home where he lingers, remains and stays in his thoughts and speech, surrounded and contained in the protection, defense strengthened preservation of the superior being who is far up to the greatest extent, desires, wants and chooses a place of tranquility and support in the shaded sign of the totally powerful God. 


Now I wrote a response to the scripture:

I choose, desire and want to have my home, (that place where I linger in my thoughts and the things I say), in the most secure of all places. I will dwell surrounded and contained in God’s protection, defense and preservation. He is superior, the highest to the greatest extent - the Most High. Because I choose to make my dwelling place in His shelter, I will have a base of support in total tranquility. In my peaceful, safe home, I will always be in the shadow of the totally powerful God. His shadow reminds me that He is always there.


I guarantee you will begin to see the scriptures in a whole new way. What I usually hear from those who begin to do this is that they felt the Word opened up to them and they didn’t want to stop even after finding they had been in the Word for over two hours. Now imagine the dance or worship team coming together and sharing what God had revealed to them as they read their scriptures and responses.


Another thing you can do with a dictionary is dig into a single word. When we are ministering to a song, we want to understand exactly what the message of that song is saying. If the Holy Spirit has given us a word to minister to the congregation, then we need to know fully what it means. Again here is an example from Worship Steps book:

I looked up the word awesome in Webster’s Dictionary and wrote down the definition:

causing over whelming respect, reverence, etc”. I then looked up the definitions of these words.

over whelming- rendered powerless

respect - esteem, honor

reverence - deep respect, revere and honor


You guessed it; I looked up the definitions of those words too, and so on.

render - submit, give in return

powerless - inability to act, no personal ability, no authority

submit - offer, as in surrender, yield oneself

esteem - evaluation, estimate the worth of

honor - high respect, integrity, bestowed distinction (difference, high rank)

integrity - intactness, firmness of (undamaged) character

Now, I put the definitions all together and it came out:

awesome - causing me to be over whelmed, rendered powerless, giving up all my power in return for His, submitting, surrendering and yielding myself so that I have no personal ability or power to act due to the respect and reverence and esteem of God’s worth, His honor, His high respect, His distinction, His difference and high rank, His purity and integrity, His undamaged intactness and firmness of character

That is a lot to look at, but it helped me understand that “awesome” has to do with my reaction to God and the magnitude of whom He is.  By the way, after researching this, I don’t use the word “awesome” to describe anything but God now.


The next exercise is using a lexicon or concordance. There are now many free lexicons and concordances online if you do not have access to a software  or book. This can be done looking for specific words, finding their many meanings and where they are used in scripture through using the lexicon. You can take a scripture and find out what each word means and other places that word is used by using a concordance.


In the lexicon you may type the word and find several words in Hebrew. Begin to click and discover what they are and where they are found. Here are some examples of the word “dance” that all dancers need to know:

karar” - to whirl, dance, move in a circle, to exult, leap, to run
2 Samuel 6:14 & 16

raqad” - to skip about, to dance, leap, to stamp
1 Chronicles 15:29

mekolaw” - the feminine noun for dance that denotes the celebration women led to meet the returning champions after a battle.
Exodus 15:20, Judges 11:34, 1 Samuel 18:6

machowl” - the masculine noun for dance in praise to the Lord (yes, men are called to dance)
Psalm 149:3, Psalm 150:4, Jeremiah 31:13

chagag” - to move in a circle, to observe festival, celebrate, dance, leaping and dancing in sacred dances
Exodus 12:14 & 17, Psalm 42:4, Luke 15:25

macholah” - a dance company, dances
Exodus 15:20, 1 Samuel 18:6, 1 Samuel 21:11, Judges 21:21

Doing this as a group, assign each team member a word and have them share what they found in their research. 


One last thing I want to share combines all the resources I listed above. The Lord told me to rewrite a book of Romans in my own words, using the help of resources, because He wanted to reveal something to me. I will never look at that book the same again. I understand so much more about God’s hate for sin and how it pulls people out of relationship with Him. But I also am grasping the lengths He will go to in order to save one who turns to Him because of His love and desire for us to be united with Him. This is something you can do on your own or as a group. The group can divide up the book of the Bible and each week one person can study and put a chapter in their own words, then share it with the group. The person assigned to do the next chapter has the foundation of the previous ones on which to build.


Let’s grow in knowledge of the Lord, His word and all that He has called us to do. Learning and exercising exegesis of the Scriptures is fun, heart pounding, and a great way to mature individually and as a group. Let me know what God reveals to you through your studies so I can grow and we will share it with others so they can grow too.


*Extra Bible study note*

I highly recommend getting a Chronological Bible for personal reading. These Bibles put all the scriptures in order of occurrence during time rather than dividing it into separate books. It is a lot easier to read the Old Testament in a continuum without the book breaks that often repeat some of the same stories and laws. The four Gospels are put together into an eye opening flow that magnifies Jesus immensely. Also, look for Bibles that have historical information included so that the big picture of what God was doing through time becomes even clearer.  

 
 

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