You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6
Many have undertaken to draw up an orderly account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4
Who, What, Where, When, Why and How are sometimes called the 5W1H questions to ask when you want to gather information or solve a problem. So, HOW might that help us when we read the Bible. It seems to me that the easiest way I can explain it is to give my own experience reading and studying the Bible this way.
WHO? Me, Carolyn Schmitt.
WHY? I want to learn to know God, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit in their relationship together and with us people.
HOW? By moving around in the scriptures and getting acquainted with the people through their stories. I want to know WHO they are, WHERE they are mentioned, WHEN they lived and WHAT their culture, landscapes, and actions were. Especially, I want to know about their interaction with God.
In our time I have the advantage of the written Word, the internet, and a multiplicity of written, audio and visual helps in the process of using the 5W1H words to find out information. Don’t know a word, a quote, a name? Just Google it and I’ve got it. But… HOW to move from information to life? I have to be willing to slow down; to imagine living in the time and at the walking pace of scripture. Then I need to be creative in using my ordinary day to live in relationship with WHO I’m learning to know.
Soon we will be through Halloween and Thanksgiving and into Advent, Christmas, Lent, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost. The majority of these are special times for the church whose one foundation is Jesus Christ. In the process of Advent to Ascension, Jesus’ time on earth is about 6 months. There are clues in the whole Bible about the years Jesus lived before his baptism, especially Matthew 1:18-2:23, Luke 1:26-56 and Luke 2. Also Philippians 2:5-8 and Hebrews 4:14-5:10.
In Matthew 1:1-17 there are the names of 42 generations from Abraham to the Messiah, Jesus. Pick a WHO and learn about them, using the 5W1H questions. Imagine living in their time and culture. Think creatively HOW what you learn relates to the dailiness of your life, relationships and responsibilities.
By Carolyn Schmitt