Always start your study by spending time in observation. This is a step that students of the Word tend to rush through, because we are so interesting in finding a meaningful interpretation (and then application.) In order to keep from moving into interpretation before you are ready, stick to the exact words that are in front of you as you work through the passage. Don’t interject meaning into what’s there in black and white. Not yet, anyway. There is work to be done before you jump to the next step!
There are many tools to aid observation. They aren’t hard—anyone can use them! Today’s tip:
The writers of Scripture often set two things side by side, begging for us to compare them. Seeing the contrast can unlock the point the writer is trying to make. A simple way to do this is to make a chart. Note the ways they are the same. Then note how they differ. Remember, stick to the exact words of the text!
Read Luke 7:36-50. Luke contrasts Simon the Pharisee with the “Sinful Woman.” Make a chart, with one column for Simon and the other for the woman. Write down everything you see to compare the two.