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Bible Study Methods—#3 character study

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Based upon Rick Warren's excellent book, Bible Study Methods, this presentation offers a simple way of deepening your Bible study by examining a specific character attribute.

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Bible Study Methods—#3 character study

  2. 2. An important goal of being a disciple of Jesus is to develop Christ-like character. This method helps you to see good and bad character habits and to understand them. 3
  3. 3. 3 You can then work on strengthening your good character points and putting away your negative ones.
  4. 4. In this method we aim to discover what the Bible says about a particular characteristic of a person, with an emphasis on personal application. 4
  5. 5. 4 [Warren says it is in fact a combination of three other study methods: Word Study, Biographical Method and Cross Reference Method.]
  6. 6. Why this method is important 5
  7. 7. To develop good character we need to know what it is/ is not. We need to understand what the quality really is. This method helps us in this task. 6
  8. 8. The Tools you need 7
  9. 9. This method is the first one to need anything ‘extra’ apart from a Bible. You will need: Bible (preferably a study Bible) 8
  10. 10. 8 Exhaustive Concordance Bible Dictionary / Word Study book Topical Bible English Dictionary
  11. 11. Tips—how to do it well 9
  12. 12. Take ONE quality at a time. It takes concentrated effort to change your character; build one characteristic solidly before you move on. 10
  13. 13. 10 This is not to say you can’t STUDY other topics / passages even while you’re working on this one characteristic that you have studied.
  14. 14. Don’t Rush! Developing good character takes time—months or even years! 11
  15. 15. Stay with one quality until you get a victory in that area It is better to concentrate on one area and get a real victory rather than try to look at many different areas and not do any of them well. 12
  16. 16. Some negative qualities are wrongly used positive qualities For example, being legalistic, rigid and unbending might show a self-disciplined person who needs to balance that with love and grace. 13
  17. 17. Trust the Holy Spirit It is the power of God that will build the qualities of God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, into your life. 14
  18. 18. 14 Php 2:13, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
  19. 19. Nine Steps for doing a Character Study 15
  20. 20. Step 1) Select the Quality 16
  21. 21. Look up the definition in an English dictionary and write that down. List synonyms and related words—these help you to understand the quality 17
  22. 22. synonym—a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language 18
  23. 23. Step 2) Name the opposite quality 20
  24. 24. 20 antonym | a word opposite in meaning to another (e.g. bad and good).
  25. 25. Write down the opposite(s) —there may be several. Faithfulness— unfaithfulness. 21
  26. 26. 21 Faith has a number of possible “opposites,” Faith—doubt Faith—fear Faith—apathy
  27. 27. Step 3) Do a simple word study 22
  28. 28. Look up the Bible definition of the word using a Bible dictionary—this tells you how the word is/was used in the Bible. 23
  29. 29. 23 Try to look it up in the original language. Find it in biblical context using a concordance.
  30. 30. Check Bible dictionaries / encyclopaedias to see how the word was used in Biblical times. Did the word mean something different than it does today? 24
  31. 31. 24 For example, “meek” in biblical times meant “breaking something and bringing it under submission.” Now it means “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on.”
  32. 32. “The word was used to describe the training of valuable horses, which were brought under submission to their masters. A stallion would still have all the power and strength of its wild days, but it was now under its master’s control. 26
  33. 33. Meekness, therefore, is not weakness. As a Christian character quality, meekness is strength that is in submission to Jesus Christ.” 27
  34. 34. Step 4) Find cross- references 28
  35. 35. Cross references help to get insight from other parts of the Bible —“Scripture interprets Scripture” 29
  36. 36. 29 Use your concordance / topical Bible to look up the word and its synonyms. Write down all / some of the verses, along with a brief description of each verse.
  37. 37. 29 trait | a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person
  38. 38. From those verses, ask some of these questions relating them to the quality you are studying: What are the benefits this trait can bring me, or others? What are some bad consequences this trait can bring me, or others? 30
  39. 39. 30 Is there any promise from God related to this trait? Is there any warning or judgment related to this trait? Is there a command related to this trait? What factors produce this trait? Did Jesus have anything to say about this quality? What?
  40. 40. What writer talked about this trait the most? Is this trait symbolised by anything in Scripture? Is that significant? Is this trait listed with a group of qualities? What is the relationship between them? What does this suggest? 31
  41. 41. 31 What Scriptures tell me directly what God thinks of this trait? Do I want more or less of this trait in my life?
  42. 42. Using these questions as a basis write a brief summary of the Bible’s teaching on this quality. 32
  43. 43. 32 Or, to improve your understanding try to paraphrase one or more of the key Bible verses.
  44. 44. 32 Include any questions or difficulties you have as you might find as you investigate further that the answer comes through other Bible verses.
  45. 45. Step 5) Do a brief biographical study 33
  46. 46. Find at least one (preferably more) Bible character who showed this quality. Write down Scriptures that refer to him/ her and to how they showed this quality. Ask: 34
  47. 47. Find at least one (preferably more) Bible character who showed this quality. Write down Scriptures that refer to him/ her and to how they showed this quality. Ask: 34
  48. 48. i. What shows this quality in his/her life? ii. How did this quality affect his/her life? 35
  49. 49. 35 iii. Did the quality help or hinder his/her growth to spiritual maturity? How? iv. What results did it produce in his/her life?
  50. 50. An Example: Jospeh showed different qualities of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life (Gal 5:22-23)—these are seen at different times, under different circumstances: 36
  51. 51. 36 Love in a difficult family situation (Gen 47) Self control in the face of temptation (Gen 39) Hard work and patience in difficult circumstances (39:19-40:23) Faithfulness to a difficult task (41:37-57) Goodness, gentleness and kindness in difficult family reunions (42:50)
  52. 52. 6) Find a memory verse! 37
  53. 53. Choose a verse that will be helpful when God provides an opportunity for you to work on your character quality. 38
  54. 54. 38
  55. 55. 7) Select a situation or relationship to work on 39
  56. 56. Time for application! What area of life do you feel God wants you to work on? Do you need to avoid the temptation to respond badly (show poor character) or choose to show a good character quality? 40
  57. 57. Situation–Anticipate what you will do if a situation arises. If you are lazy what actions can you take to stop your being lazy? 41
  58. 58. 41 Relationship–Decide ahead of time how you will respond in interactions with that person. Remember your study and memory verse, and what you have chosen to do before / when you meet the person.
  59. 59. 8) Plan a specific project 42
  60. 60. This is the second part of step 7-practical application. Think of something specific you can do to build a positive quality and/or remove a negative one. 43
  61. 61. 43 For example you might choose to work on thankfulness / gratitude. You might choose to write 5 notes of gratitude to people who have been a blessing. They need to be personal in nature, “I am thankful for you because…”
  62. 62. 43 Or you might choose to take time to thank God, and people, for their kindness. Applications are: personal, practical, possible and measurable.
  63. 63. 9) Write out a personal “Illustration / story” 44
  64. 64. A few days after doing step 8 write down how you accomplished it—this makes it provable. You should include how you failed as well as how you succeeded. This will build up as you work on different areas and you can then see how God is working in your life. 45
  65. 65. Also when you get discouraged later, you can read back and see how you’ve grown and what you’ve accomplished. It also means you’ll have great illustrations/examples to use if you’re mentoring another Christian. 46
  66. 66.  “God often builds character in our lives by putting us in situations where we are tempted to do the opposite. For example, God may teach you honesty by placing you in a situation where you are tempted to be dishonest.” 47
  67. 67. Assignment 48
  68. 68. Study some of the lists of qualities found in New Testament passages. Positive qualities are found in: Matthew 5:3 – 12 — the Beatitudes 49
  69. 69. 49 Galatians 5:22 – 23 — the fruit of the Spirit Philippians 4:4 – 9 — admirable qualities 2 Peter 1:5 – 8 — qualities that should increase in our lives
  70. 70. 50 Negative qualities—so that you can work on ridding these features from your life: Galatians 5:19 – 21 — a list of the works of the flesh 2 Timothy 3:1-5—have nothing to do with these
  71. 71. Positive Qualities 1. Servanthood 2. Honesty 3. Humility 4. Determination 5. Diligence 6. Faithfulness 7. Availability 8. Teachability 9. Forgiveness 10. Generosity 11. Loyalty 12. Fairness 13. Cooperation 14. Discipline 15. Sincerity 16. Contentment 51
  72. 72. Negative Qualities 1. Laziness    2. A critical spirit 3. Pride    4. Selfishness 5. Unfaithfulness 6. Disrespect 7. Rebelliousness 8. Gossip 9. Being unloving 10. Dishonesty 11. Worry 12. Fear 13. Lust 52
  73. 73. How do you fill in the forms for this study? 53
  74. 74. The End