Remember how I said we would be putting our minds to work soon? It's time to bust out that study bible gals. Like I've mentioned before I love using the ESV Study Bible, but there are many other study bibles which are also wonderful!
Now that we have read through 1 John in it's entirety and have a better understanding for how it fits into the Big Story, we are going to back up and collect some information. This week we will come to know and love this piece of scripture by appreciating it's context.
This week read through the (entire if possible) Introduction to 1 John in your study bible and take notes with the following questions from Jen Wilkin's book: Women of the Word.
Wilkin calls the questions we are going through this week "archaeological questions" because we are using exegesis to dig into the text to understand it's historical and cultural context. Wilkin says "Exegesis asks us to be archaeologists as far as we are able, and to call in the help of more able archaeologists [study and commentary resources] where we need it. It gives us the perspective we need to properly interpret Scripture." (Wilkin, 63) Answering these questions helps us to understand the original audience and the author. That old adage "you can't know where someone's going until you know where they've been"...that's kinda like this. We have to go deeper and answer these questions in order to have context for the meaning involved. Only then can we uncover deeper study and deeper applications to our lives.
Five Basic Archaeological Questions
- Who wrote it? (expand beyond the name, list some facts about the person)
- When was it written?
- To whom was it written?
- In what style was it written? (Historical narrative, prophecy, parables/storytelling, Law, poetry, wisdom literature)
- Why was it written? (Consider major themes and repeated ideas in the context of our archaeological findings above to help you answer this.)
Use 1 John paired with the introduction to 1 John (in your study bible) and commentary in your study bible to help you answer these questions. Remember, patience is your friend. If you can't figure something out, give yourself grace and use this community! Post your questions in the comments section for this post, or if you were surprised by new information you found share it here!