Study Tip Tuesday is back! Often little words carry great weight, and today's tip looks at some important small words that can be a big help during our study time.
One key to understanding a passage of Scripture is getting a handle on the sequence of events presented. Some signposts to watch for are "now", "then" and "when".
For instance, I flipped open to Matthew chapter 2. Here's a sample of sequence markers (the "trail" markers):
V.1 "Now after"
V.3 "when Herod"
V.4 "when he had gathered"
V.7 "Then Herod"
V.9 "when they heard the king"
V.10 "when they saw the star"
V.11 "when they had come into the house"
"When they opened their treasures"
V.12 "then being divinely warned"
While these sequences are especially important studying the narrative sections of Scripture like the Gospels or some of the Old Testament books, they also figure in other books as well.
1 Corinthians 15:54 "So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
1 John 3:2 "Beloved NOW we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that WHEN He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
Other times they introduce a condition or a contingency:
Jeremiah 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me WHEN you search for me with all your heart."
Ezekiel 36:23 "…[A]nd the nations shall know that I am the Lord, WHEN I am hallowed in you before their eyes."
2 Chronicles 7:14 "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.
Watch for these trail markers as you read, and take a moment to consider what truth they are highlighting.
Do you have other examples?