First of all, thank you to everyone for the affirmation and discussion on Women of Faith, it has been really great to talk with you all about the challenges, quirks, and opportunities found in being a woman of God. That's the kind of thing that I find encouraging and challenging.
On a related note, I'm wrist deep into my study on being a woman of God and am excited to get in up to my elbows (weird images...okay, I'm good). For the first time in about four years I thought to myself: I need to dig out my huge Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. I usually access all of this digitally, but I lose some reverence when my Strong's weighs 4 oz, as if the heft of the book symbolizes the value of the contents.
Speaking of bible studies, this week my ladies started a study of 1st John with Good Morning Girls (a spin-off of Women Living Well). Good Morning Girls excites me because they really emphasize studying the bible thoughtfully. We studied the book of James this winter. If you haven't visited Good Morning Girls or Women Living Well, do that now. There are some really cool ladies hanging out over there who are great at digging into God's word.
In case you're unfamiliar with an inductive bible study, the principles are really pretty basic (though not necessarily easy). There are a few different systems out there, but the goal is to, 1) think as critically as possible, and, 2) discover a practical application of what you've learned. Thinking critically is not as intuitive as you might first imagine and, honestly, it can get kind of tedious after a while, but this has been one of, if not the most valuable skill I've ever learned as a Christian. Seriously, this is the stuff that keeps Christians from getting crazy, it's important.
GMG and my church use the SOAP acronym to study the bible which stands for: Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. I personally prefer using the OICA acronym: Observe, Interpret, Correlate, and Apply, which is the one I learned in school. I prefer this method for two reasons, first I like that Observation (literal) is separated from Interpretation (subjective). Secondly, I love the idea of correlating your subjective interpretations with other scripture. Like I said this is what protects us from screwy theology that leads to horrible things like genocide and polygamy.
Really, either method is great. Maybe I'll patent the hybrid, SOICAP.
I've really missed this kind of bible study *brushes off self-condemnation*, the kind that feels a little bit like running a 10k. I love it because it is not about checking something off of your list or skimming some kind of spiritual affirmation from the bible. This kind of study requires that you ask yourself again and again, "What does this really say?" and "What does this mean about God and about me?"
Which is the point of all of this, isn't it?