How To Study God's Word | Day Two

By: Kate Downing | To Download this series in it's entirety to your phone or printer, Click Here. 

I stood there paralyzed by fear.

He is probably standing right outside. He must think I am a complete idiot!  How could I have been so clueless?  Well, it could be worse. At least no one else is in here. What do I do? Should I stay in here until I know he’s gone? Or should I just walk out? What if someone else walks in? I’ve been in here too long. I need to get out of here now!

I grasped the doorknob, heart racing. Here goes nothing.

Any ideas as to what this story is about? You could probably make some solid guesses, but there is no way you could specifically name my freshman year nightmare. You just heard a snippet of my tragic and embarrassing saga of talking to a cute guy, walking into the boy’s bathroom, and walking out only to find said cute boy laughing hysterically at me.

This story is unfortunate for my 9th grade self. But, it is equally an unfortunate story of how most of us often read Scripture. It’s easy to read a small portion within a chapter or book of the Bible and walk away confused or unaffected. We cannot and will not understand the purpose of what we are reading unless we understand the context of the passage. 

ŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸŸStop and thank God for the opportunity to study His Word.  Ask Him to speak clearly to you today.

This week we’ll be looking at a story of a man who asked a lot of questions and because of his willingness to ask those questions, came to know the truth about God!

 Read John 3:1-21 out loud.

 Now let’s get to know the purpose of this story! 

What type of literature is this passage?  The Bible contains seven different types of literature within its’ 66 books. [Don’t stress if you don’t like literature; you don’t have to spend a lot of time here. It’s just important to know what type of writing the passage you’re studying is.] 

o   Is it a set of laws? (Law Literature)

o   Is it a recounting of a historical event? (Historical Literature)

o   Is it a poem or song? (Poetic Literature)

o   Is it a wisdom teaching/Proverb? (Wisdom Literature)

o   Is it a Gospel? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four Gospels.  They are books that contain the stories of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. “Gospel” means “good news.”)

o   Is it in a letter? (Epistle Literature – the letters written by Apostles to the early church.  Ex. Galatians & Ephesians)

o   Is it prophesying something? (Prophetic Literature)

Who wrote the passage? ( Hint: check the name of the book)

Who was the passage originally written to? As a general rule, the Old Testament was originally written to the Jewish people, and the New Testament was written to the early church.  It’s important to know who the original recipients of the passage are because it helps us understand the purpose! 

What is the setting of this passage, time & location? (Hint: Check out John 2:23-25, and John 3:2)

Who are the main characters of this passage?

The Pharisees were Jewish religious leaders who did not like Jesus. They did not believe He was the Son of God and did everything they could to stop His ministry. 

What is happening in Jesus’ life when Nicodemus comes to visit Him? (Glance at the first two chapters in John. If your Bible has section headings, it’s super helpful!)

Why do you think Nicodemus went to see Jesus at night?

Are there any references to Biblical stories or Biblical quotations within this passage?  (Hint:  Check out John 3:14) 

John 3:14 references Moses lifting up a serpent in the wilderness.  This is a reference to a story in Numbers 21:4-9.  Many Bibles will have a footnote leading you to where the reference originally comes from.  However, if your Bible doesn’t offer you a footnote, feel free to Google where to find the original passage!

Read Numbers 21:4-9.

 How did the people of Israel sin in this passage?

What did God send to punish their sin?

Did the people of Israel repent of their sin?

How did God provide salvation?

Read John 3:14-15

How did referring to Moses lifting up a serpent in the wilderness explain to Nicodemus what Jesus came to earth to do?

Spend the next few minutes thanking God for making a way of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.