To the guys at Highpoint Church, this place was heaven on a weekday morning. They met at a local diner that opened early enough to get everybody off to work in good time. It was one of those places where the menu was a breakfast Britannica. Where the three egg omelets were served on heavy plates with cheap silverware, and the syrup never left the table.
“I don’t get it,” said Rich. He and Andy were not in a hurry and so they had warmed up their coffee one more time after the group officially broke up.
“What?” smirked Andy, “How your Bucks could lose in the first round of the playoffs? How your golf swing could still be so very bad after all these years?”
“That too. But I was thinking of something else just now.” Rich was smiling but serious. “We all read the same Bible passage, but you always get more out of it. It’s like you see more! If you’re cheating, I want to know how you do it so I can cheat too!”
“Well . . .” Andy started, but was immediately interrupted.
“And another thing,” continued Rich, “whenever the guys have differing opinion about what the verse means, you’re able to provide actual reasons for a certain understanding. It’s not just that old tired ‘what it means to me is . . . .’”
Andy laughed. “Any cheats I’ve got, I’m more than happy to share with you. In fact, I can get you off to a good start before you even finish that cup of coffee. It begins with learning to observe as opposed to just seeing.”
The look on Rich’s face said enough for Andy to know he had to go on. “Okay, last Friday when we went to your son’s basketball game—I saw it, and enjoyed it. But you observed it. Remember when we talked about the game afterward?”
“Sure, I remember,” replied Rich. “I wasn’t sure whether you’d seen it or not! You didn’t even see how they were killing us when they switched from zone to man defense!”
“No, I saw, but I didn’t observe. You watched the game on an entirely different level than I did. We watched the same game, and yet we didn’t. Sound familiar?”
“Observe instead of just see,” Rich said, as much to himself as to anybody. “I think I get what you’re saying! But how?!”
“It’s both art and science—and it takes practice,” answered Andy. “But I know you can do it. My first recommendation? Read with a pencil in your hand.”
Again, the blank stare, So Andy continued: “When you read the passage the night before our study, do it with a pencil in your hand. That usually works as a trigger that signals you to start noticing things. You can mark in your Bible or start jotting things down on paper. In fact, you jot down 10 observations about the passage next week and I’ll buy your cinnamon roll.”
The story of us all:
The Bible is God’s message, requiring diligence to grasp what he intended to say. When we study the Bible, we pay careful attention to what he says about himself, what’s really real in life’s experience, and to find guidance for our daily lives.
One important Scripture:
Psalms 119:18 (ESV) 18 Open my eyes, that I may beholdwondrous things out of your law.
Your own story: You’ve heard Rich’s story, you know the story of us all. Now, let’s talk!