Showing posts in 'Spectacles Series'

Crown-shaped specs: seeing the world in the light of God’s sovereignty

Alison Mitchell | 7 Jun 2014

I can’t see without glasses. They’re on my nose from the moment I wake up until last thing at night. Which means I see everything through a pair of lenses. And that makes a difference. A couple of years ago I got my first pair of varifocals. I love them, but they did take getting used to. In particular, every time I moved my head from side to side, the whole world wobbled!

This last pair of glasses is a little different to the rest because they are about more than just reading the Bible. They shape how we look at the world - a concept I find easy to grasp, since my worldview is quite literally shaped by the lenses I see it through.

The crown-shaped specs are about looking at the world through biblical eyes. They take those vital Bible truths that God is good and God is sovereign, and shape how we see the world around us.... continue reading

Heart-shaped specs: How does this apply to me?

Alison Mitchell | 5 Jun 2014

In our recent series of Growing Young Disciples training days, we looked at teaching the gospel message faithfully and effectively to a range of age groups. It’s easy when working on this with leaders of young children to focus on storytelling techniques, so one comment from Tim Thornborough (the boss!) particularly stuck in my mind:

“You’ll never teach a Bible story well if you haven’t first been moved by it yourself.”

This is the danger of storytelling techniques, and also the pairs of glasses we’ve tried on so far - we can focus on how we dig into the passage, forgetting that it’s meant to be digging into us.... continue reading

Time-travel specs: What did it mean to the first readers?

Alison Mitchell | 4 Jun 2014

I’ve admitted before that I’m something of a sci-fi geek, which may be why we made our own time machine to use at our annual holiday club. Children and leaders were “Time Travellers”, entering the time machine to visit whichever Bible events we were exploring that year. (I also made the head of a giant fish once, so that everyone arriving at our Jonah holiday club had to walk through the jaws when they arrived - same idea as the time machine, but a bit more limited in which events we could explore!)

Children love the idea of time travel, but its value doesn’t end there. When we read the Bible in 2014, almost every event (bar the odd bit of prophecy) happened at least 2000 years ago. So that’s where the time-travel specs come in*.... continue reading

Cross-shaped specs: Reading the Old Testament in the light of the New

Alison Mitchell | 3 Jun 2014

It is regularly my privilege to train leaders and helpers in children’s work, and it’s often my experience that they lack confidence in teaching the Bible. In fact, many struggle to think of themselves as Bible teachers at all, telling me they “just” tell Bible stories and help the children have fun.

So I always try to encourage them that every one of them can dig into the Bible a bit more for themselves, and that it’s not hard to do. That’s what my pairs of glasses are about. But I always start with this simple rule of thumb:

  • If the Bible story or passage is about God, then the big idea (the main point) will be about God.
  • If the Bible story or passage is about Jesus, then the big idea (the main point) will be about Jesus.

It truly is that simple.... continue reading

Question-mark specs: Exegesis for beginners

Alison Mitchell | 3 Jun 2014

OK, putting on your question-mark specs doesn’t cover the whole concept of biblical exegesis (“drawing the meaning from” a text) - that can take years - but it’s a good place to start.

We all ask questions as a normal part of talking to someone or discovering information, so it’s an easy way to start digging into a Bible passage. There aren’t any “wrong” questions to ask, but here are a few that might help - and they can be very simple indeed.

  • If it’s a story: What happens? Who is involved? Where are they?

Wear your specs to read the Bible

Alison Mitchell | 2 Jun 2014

How do you read the Bible? Do you set aside some time each day? Find somewhere you can be quiet and think? Make sure the text is big enough to read clearly? (Vital in my case - and the great joy of e-readers!)

Whether you’re short-sighted like me, or have 20/20 vision, I think it helps to wear glasses to read the Bible. Five pairs of spectacles (if you can imagine those all perched on your nose):

  1. Question-mark specs: exegesis for beginners
  2. Cross-shaped specs: reading the Old Testament in the light of the New
  3. Time-travel specs: what did it mean for the first readers?
  4. Heart-shaped specs: how does is apply to me?
  5. Crown-shaped specs: seeing the world in the light of God’s sovereignty

All these help me to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2 v 15) - and I hope they will help you too. That’s what this short series of blogs is all about.

So...are you ready to put your specs on?

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