Essential to living the Christian life is studying the Bible at what I call the inspirational level—with the end-goal of applying what we are learning to our daily lives. At this level we can read a story or a verse in the Bible and not understand its context but still take away a meaning or message.
The danger in taking Scripture out of context is ending up in error. This is why we should not stop at the inspirational level and also begin to study at a more intentional level.
I call this second level the "theological or doctrinal" level. This level is less about me and my life and more about understanding the key doctrines about God, His character and His ways. At this level we may do topical studies, whole book studies or learn apologetics—how to answer questions and accusations against Christianity or the Bible. This is important for our spiritual maturity and effectiveness in ministry to others.
However, we should not stop there: we should learn to read at the 3-D level. That is the level of study I encountered when I first went to Israel on a summer study program as a Bible major in university, and I have never been the same. My Bible came alive—it stood up, took on flesh and bones, and became three-dimensional for me. I was studying in the very land where it all happened, surrounded by the Hebraic and Jewish culture it reflected and the Jewish people that it was about. I was looking at ancient prophesies fulfilled!
Maybe one day you, too, can go to Israel and experience this for yourself. In the meantime, join me on this week's podcast, where I offer tips and tools to prepare you for a journey together into the story and world of the 3-D Bible.
Dr. Susan Michael is USA director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and host of the Out of Zion podcast.
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