Galatians 5:16 – 18
Step 1: Grasp the text in their
town. Use your observation skills to read the text carefully and discover
what the text meant to the biblical audience. Use a good study Bible along with
Bible dictionaries and commentaries to find out about the background information
on this text.
Summarize the text in 75–125 words. Identify the literary
context of your text. Summarize the main point of the paragraph before your
text, the paragraph that contains your text, and the paragraph that comes right
after your text. State what your text meant to the first-century audience.
Step 2: Measure the width of the river
to cross. Find out what the differences are between the biblical audience
and us today. Write 25–75 words describing the differences that define the width
of the river you need to cross.
Cross the principlizing bridge. In light of how our situation is similar
to and different from that of the biblical audience, try to identify the
theological principle(s) reflected in the text. Write out the principle(s) in
25–75 words using present-tense verbs. After writing the principle(s), ask
yourself the questions below to determine whether you have truly discovered a
theological principle. Is the principle(s):
- Reflected in the biblical text?
- Timeless rather than tied to a specific situation?
- Culturally bound?
- Consistent with the teaching of the rest of Scripture?
- Relevant to both the biblical audience and the contemporary audience?