New Sunday School Series: First Principles for Bible Reading

New Sunday School Series: First Principles for Bible Reading

Have you ever listened to a Bible teacher and wondered how he ever got to those conclusions? Or you know that what’s being said is wrong, but you’re not sure why? Perhaps you’re reading your Bible, and you’re not sure what to do with what you’re reading. Whatever it is, we all need to grow in our understanding of God’s Word, and we want to do our best “to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). We do not want to mishandle God’s Word. Instead, we want to be faithful readers and interpreters of it, so that we might know the truth, guard the truth, and accurately share it with others.

This Sunday (April 21) we will begin a new Sunday School series that will walk through Simeon Trust’s First Principles for studying and teaching the Bible. The content covered in this series is beneficial for both beginners and lifelong readers of the Bible. While Simeon Trust as a ministry is focused on equipping pastors in expositional preaching, much of their content is helpful for everyone who would like to grow in reading and understanding the Bible.

Simeon Trust and Charles Simeon

Simeon Trust is rooted in the preaching ministry of Charles Simeon (1759-1836), who played a significant role in restoring expositional preaching to the Church of England. His ministry experienced incredible opposition and hostility, but the Lord enabled him to persevere in ministry and he has left behind a legacy of faithful preaching, having preached at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge for 54 years. To learn more, an additional biography by John Piper can be found here.

In addition to his preaching ministry, Charles Simeon met with a small group of men two times a month to instruct and mentor them in preaching. His attitude toward reading and interpreting Scripture can be seen in a letter to his publishers:

“My endeavor is to bring out of Scripture what is there and not thrust in what I think might be there. I have a great jealousy on this head, never to speak more or less than I believe the mind of the Spirit in the passage I am expounding.”

One extension of his legacy is the ministry of Simeon Trust which seeks to equip pastors in expositional preaching. This introductory First Principles series is good not only for pastors, but for all believers as we seek to grow in our understanding of God's Word. As we go into these next eight weeks together, we pray that this Sunday School series will help us to grow in wisdom and faithfulness as readers and interpreters of Scripture.

Our Class Schedule

Week 1: Staying on the Line – How do we stay on the line of Scripture? We do not want to read more into the text, or minimize what’s saying. If we add more, this can be the trap of legalism. If we subtract, this can be the pitfall of liberalism. Instead of these, we want to stay on the line of God’s Word.

Week 2: Pathway for Preparation – How should we approach a text in the Bible? Where do we start? Is there a particular order of steps for interpreting a passage, and how we assemble our conclusions?

Week 3: Structure – What should we look for in the way that Scripture is written? We will consider helpful ways to identify the author’s argument and points of emphasis in the text of Scripture.

Week 4: Context – We don’t want to be out-of-context readers who misinterpret and misapply Scripture. How should the context shape our understanding of Scripture? What contexts are there?

Week 5: Melodic Line – Do you know what the big idea is of the book that you’re reading? And how the chapter/verse you’re studying fits in with the whole?

Week 6: Text and Framework – Are you aware of the theological framework that you’re bringing to the text as you read and interpret Scripture? We need to be conscious of our framework, and understand the relationship between the text of Scripture and our theological framework.

Week 7: Seeing Jesus – How does what you’re reading point you to Christ? We will consider how all of Scripture rightly leads us to Christ.

Week 8: Bible for Life – We do not read the Bible for knowledge alone, but to be transformed by it. In this lesson we will focus on how we move to applying the Scriptures to life.

Benjamin Purves