During November we’re focusing on advancing the Kingdom. Please see the Monthly Prayer Focus page to read our strategic prayer request for this month.
By Lindy Pate
It can be hard to study the Bible. Sometimes just reading a story is not enough. Without knowing who the people are and where they live, their responses and actions don’t make sense. For example, why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh? And how off the route was he when he went to Tarshish?
Resources such as cross-references and maps can help, but only if you know how to use them. One of the modules we teach at Gandep Bible College focuses on teaching how to use the extra material in the Bible. It can be tedious, but it is a helpful skill for future pastors and teachers.
But how can you convince someone that doing the tedious work of digging through glossaries and indexes is worth the effort? By writing a Bible Study that guides students through using these tools. I did this to help students better understand Jonah.
Reading the cross-reference 2 King 14:25 informs you that Jonah was from Gath-hepher, Israel. Using a map, you can chart the route Jonah should have taken (no boats were needed and Joppa was in the opposite direction). Reading the book introduction lets you know that Nineveh was part of the Assyrian kingdom. The Assyrians and Israelites were enemies. Jonah didn’t want to go on a long journey to visit his enemies, so he ran away and went the opposite direction.
After several guided Bible studies, including Jonah 1:1-3, some of the students began to appreciate the benefit of using these resources. One student said during the closing ceremony, “I used to think that all the stuff after Revelation was useless. Now I know that it is good and can help me understand better.” That is advancing the kingdom one map and cross-reference at a time.
Lindy serves as a Bible translator.