How To Study God's Word | Day Three
By: Kate Downing | To Download this series in it's entirety to your phone or printer, Click Here.
To give instructions to little kids while babysitting, you might need to mention a time or two: Now what did I just say? Truthfully, your mom may have said that to you today!
The reason we ask this question is to make sure the person we are talking to is listening and hearing us correctly. Likewise, when we paraphrase what we read in Scripture, we are forcing ourselves to listen to the passage fully and grasp what it is saying.
Take a minute to ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word today. Ask that your mind and heart would be focused completely on Him!
Today we are going to look back at the story of Nicodemus’s meeting with Jesus in John 3. This time, we will practice paraphrasing the story in order to understand it better.
Read John 3:1-21 out loud. I know you did this yesterday, but the more you read it, the better you will understand and remember it!
Before we begin paraphrasing, let’s look at some words specifically.
Take a minute to identify the following things. If you write in your Bible, circle, underline, or star the following:
o Key People (main characters)
o Conjunctions (ex. and, for, because, so that, since, therefore, yet)
o Repeated key words
o Emphasis Words (ex. truly, behold, only, indeed)
o Proper nouns/titles
If there is a word you don’t understand, take a minute to look it up. Blue Letter Bible is a great website for looking up words in Scripture.
Now, let’s practice! Look up the word Rabbi here. Since you now know the title of a Rabbi, why is it significant for Nicodemus to call Jesus by this name?
When paraphrasing a passage in Scripture, it can be helpful to break up the passage into smaller sections. These sections can be as short as a phrase or as long as several verses.
Take a minute to break up John 3:1-21 into different sections. Write down verse numbers for each section on a sheet of paper, in your journal, or in the notes of your phone. Since this passage is a conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, your sections could be broken up according to the statements or questions each one makes.
Now that you have written down your smaller sections of verses, go back to the passage and read your first section of verses again.
Write down what you just read in your own words. How would you explain this section to a third grader?
Here is an example of my paraphrase for verses 5-8:
Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again in order to be saved. He then uses a figure of speech to remind Nicodemus it is impossible to be reborn physically. Instead, Nicodemus needed to be spiritually born again. Just like he could not see the wind, yet knew it existed, Nicodemus’s salvation would not be physically seen, but spiritually felt.
Now repeat this last step for each of your sections of John 3:1-21.
As you were paraphrasing these sections into your own words, did you come across sections or words you did not understand?
Write down the questions that you came across and ask the Lord to help you understand the answers to your questions over the next few days of study.
In the last few minutes of your time with the Lord, thank Him for the opportunity to study His word and ask Him to help you keep the story of Nicodemus on your mind today.