One of my favorite things about teaching is getting to share something that might be familiar to me, but completely fresh to my listeners. It makes me stop and consider what I’m teaching, and come up with a way to interpret all the ‘jargon’. Next time you study one of your favorite verses or passages, break it down word for word. Ask yourself what the significance is of each word choice the writer used. What idea does that word convey? What difference does that word make in the rest of the passage?
Here’s an example. Yesterday, I got to break down the gospel for the kids at church camp. We used 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 as a framework.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
Since we weren’t studying Paul or Corinth, I skipped the first part and concentrated on the gospel as Paul defined it.
Christ: Paul doesn’t call Him Jesus here. He wants to draw attention to His title – the chosen Son of God, born for this purpose
Died: Even though He was God, Christ allowed Himself to die a physical death
For: The reason it happened
Our: Christ’s death is sufficient for the sins of every individual person
Sins: Everything we say, do or think OR fail to say, do or think that is contrary to God’s perfection
According to the Scriptures: It is recorded, not made up and God’s reputation is staked on its absolute truth.
Buried: The fact that Jesus was buried is proof that everyone there was thoroughly convinced He was dead.
Raised the third day: Resurrection is awesome enough, but it means His death was acceptable to God as payment for sins and whoever accepts that payment to cover his or her own sins gets to raise from the dead as well, just as God promised.
Dear God, may we never get so familiar with Your word that it loses its meaning and impact in our lives. Like Your compassions and mercies, Your word never fails. It is fresh and new every morning.