Written by Rev. Craig Moock, pastor, Rural Chapel United Methodist Church in Galena, OH
I come our daily faith development time today with a great tool for reading the Bible. As we know, reading the Bible for ourselves is the best way to grow in faith regardless of where we are in our spiritual development. However, understanding what we are reading can often be a challenge. The simple tool below can help us navigate God’s word with better clarity for how we can apply it to our lives.
O – Observation – What does the passage say?
I – Interpretation – What does the passage mean?
A – Application – How does that passage apply to my life?
If we look at Romans 8:28 through this lens, it can look like this. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (NIV)
Observation – I observe that there is a man named Paul who wrote this to the church in Rome as an encouragement because they are undergoing persecution. This encouragement says that, in regard to people who love God and who are called according to His purpose, God works everything for good. This includes the suffering that the Roman church is enduring. Paul does not list any exceptions to this statement. Believing this takes a deep faith in God regardless of the circumstances that a person is going through.
Interpretation – I interpret that this passage applies to those in Rome that Paul was writing to and it applies to those who follow Jesus in the present day. I interpret that Paul means exactly what he says and is not saying this as an exaggeration, hyperbole or metaphor. I interpret through the lens of the book of Philippians that Paul lived out this truth while trusting God to bring good even out of his imprisonment. I also interpret that this passage does not say that God causes bad things that happen to us, but that God brings good out of all that happens to God’s people in this broken world that we live in.
Application – As I look to apply this to my life during this season of the coronavirus, I see this as an opportunity to grow in my faith. My goal is to trust that God will bring good out of this crisis and to be actively looking for what that good is. My goal is to go to God in prayer when I get discouraged and cannot see how God is bringing good out of a situation. This allows God to show me how He is a work and God usually calms my soul through prayer. I also want to encourage others with this passage when they cannot see God at work in their lives just as Paul encouraged me.
Church, I hope that you find this tool helpful and that you are taking time every day to engage God’s Word!!!
And we know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28