Discussions and Dialogue

When you’re studying a letter you’re really listening in on one side of a conversation. The author refers to people and event that he and the recipients know, but that you and I don’t. However, there are times when you can study both sides of the conversation. And that’s in studying dialogue.

Dialogue shows up in history or linear writings, such as the gospels and Acts in the New Testament. It happens within a story and adds depth and credibility to the story – it help us to understand the focus and point of a passage, so let’s talk about how to handle dialogue.

The first thing is to continue using your colored pencils to keep track of who is talking to whom. Assign a color to each participant.

Next, you need to keep in mind that the pronouns are important in dialogue. If the speaker says “you,” it’s  referring to the listener that he’s talking to. That’s pretty obvious, but it helps to hear that rule. Look at Mark 5: 30 where Jesus has several conversations going on at the same time: Jesus says, “Who touched my garment?” The disciples answer, so they assume that He’s talking to them. They then say, “You see the crowd pressing around you (Jesus), and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'” The next thing Jesus says is to the woman who has touched his garment, “Daughter, your (woman) faith has made you (woman) well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Then later the servants say, “Your (Jairus) daughter is dead” In these few verses, the word “you” referred to Jesus, the woman with the issue of blood, and Jairus. It’s up to us to use context carefully to determine the owner of the pronoun.

The other thing to pay attention to are the eaves-droppers. Who is standing around listening to the conversation? The reason we pay attention to that is because they are still part of the story – their perspective should still be considered when interpreting the Bible passage. For instance, in these same verses, Jairus is standing there, wishing Jesus would hurry up and forget this woman – his daughter is home dying! But Jairus saw and heard it all – the recounting of a twelve year health battle, her story of her own bravery in touching Jesus’ garment, and the pronouncement by Jesus that she’s healed.

The importance of eaves-droppers in this story is that Jairus was a first-hand witness of the kind of miracle for which he’d sought Jesus. You have to feel his impatience first, then his hope, then his despair as his servants come and tell him that it’s too late and his daughter has died.

Look for other instances of dialogue in the gospels or in Acts. Color code the participants in the conversastion, pay attention to the owners of the pronouns, and look for the presence of eaves-droppers to consider their reaction and aquisition of knowledge. It’s fun!


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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


Paul’s Use of the Old Testament

As we’re beginning a study of the letters to the Thessalonians we need to get a little background about the author and the recipients. First the author:

Paul wrote both of the letters to the Thessalonians. He’s a guy who’d had a fabulous conversion experience, transforming him from a Christian Murderer to a Christ Follower and Disciple Maker. At the time of Paul’s conversion, Jesus said, “He is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9: 15) As we follow Paul’s ministry career, we see that he did, indeed, carry God’s word to each of those three groups!.

When speaking to the children of Israel (Jews), he spoke in a language that they would readily accept – the language of the Old Testament. Acts 17: 2, Paul goes to the Jews in the synagogue and reasoned with them from the Scriptures (Old Testament), explaining and proving that 1) it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and 2) it was necessary for the Messiah to rise from the dead and 3) that Jesus is the Messiah.

We don’t know which Scriptures Paul used to persuade the Jews, but we can guess. Isaiah 53 gives detail about the manner in which the Messiah would suffer: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

Paul used Scripture to prove that it was necessary for the Messiah to rise again after three days. In Matthew 12, after asking for a sign, the Pharisees were told, “Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Paul knew the connection between the Old Testament story and Jesus’ fulfillment of it, so he may have used the Jonah story in his evangelism endeavors!

Lastly, Paul used the Old Testament to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah. He showed  that Jesus fulfilled the Law, that the prophets spoke of him, and that Old Testament was full of references pointing to him. Jesus himself said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5: 46)

We 20th Century Gentiles find it strange that anyone could be saved by an evangelist who uses only the Old Testament. But Paul proved that it could be done. Acts 17: 4 says, “And some of them (Jews) were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks (Gentiles)!” Paul demonstrated that both Jews and Gentiles can be evangelized using the Old Testament!

Recognizing the value of the Old Testament will create a desire to study it! We won’t be able to stop ourselves from digging in when we realize that it is the base of our Christian faith!


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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Some Ideas for your Marking

Marking suggestions

After you’ve bought your pencils and markers, after you’ve pulled sheets and are ready to go, sometimes you may get stalled by wondering what symbol to use for a word.

There’s no right or wrong way to mark a word. However, your marks should mean something to you. I use purple for the Trinity because it reminds me of royalty. I use a triangle (and its variations) to remind me of the triune nature of God.

Prayer carries requests from me to God, and carries the answer from Him to me – so I use a simple bucket shape to mark “prayer.” “Rigthteousness” is a big deal, so it’s a great big blue “R.”

Remember that each character gets a color. Scribble Paul with his Paul color, then while that color is in your hand, put a box around his verb. Verbs are so great to mark – they tell you what the character did! God verbs are extremely important, and are easy to mark while you’ve got the purple in your hand.

As you begin, use my suggested marks, then let your imagination run wild and come up with your own. You have 12 colored pencils and any number of shapes that you can use, so your choices are limitless! There’s no way you can do this wrong, so don’t be afraid. You can do it!

Janine Bear is a wife, a mom of four teenagers, and a Pastor in Elk River, MN. Her passion is teaching people to study the word, and does that whenever she gets a chance. She’s available for conferences, retreats, seminars, and Bible studies.

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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Chapter Three of Titus

You’ve done a really great job of doing the overview of Titus, then the chapter studies for chapters one and two. Now it’s time to move on to the third and final chapter of our book.

The Inductive Green Dotted Line

One of the things that helps in inductive is to outline the commands with green dotted lines. The first thing we see in chapter three is a command: Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

Put a green dotted line around all of that, reminding yourself that this is a command.  There are a few questions to answer about this command. First, who is commanded to remind them? Furthermore, who is the “them” in verse one?

In writing this letter to Titus, Paul was telling Titus to do some things in Crete – remember he was to set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city? In Chapter 3 verse one we see another thing that Paul tells Titus to do – to remind them to be subject to rulers. Paul used an “implied” you when talking to Titus – he didn’t write “Titus, you be sure to remind them to be subject to rulers” but he implied that it was Titus’ job to do that.

Now the question of the “them” – who is to be subject to rulers?  We have to remember that Paul didn’t put the chapter divisions in his letter. Those divisions were put in much later in an attempt to help the reader more accurately understand the letter. However, sometimes chapter divisions confuse the reader because we assume that the writer’s thought has ended and he’s moved on. In this letter, Paul’s thoughts in Chapter Three are a continuation of what he had been saying in Chapter Two.

Look at chapter two again. Paul had told Titus to address several groups of people: Older men, older women, young men, and bond-slaves. Then he moves on in Chapter Three to talk to all the groups together – Remind them all to be subject to rulers.

Mark the commands throughout all of Chapter Three, making sure to use context to decide the subject of the command.

Cross-References in your Bible

One thing we haven’t talked about yet is using the cross-references that are in your copy of the Bible. Most Bibles come with some cross-references already done for you that are listed in a center column, in the margins, or below the text. The Bible publishers have done what we did with the Strong’s to find what the Bible says about a subject. There are a lot of topics that can be further studied with cross-references in Chapter Three, and a good place to start is with those in your Bible. Just remember that there are more – the Bible publishers don’t have room to make note of all the possible references, so they chose a few. Start with those and then move on to what you can find in your Strong’s

Finishing Up

I hope that you’ve had fun studying Titus. The method that you learned can be applied to any book of the Bible, and should be applied to any book of the Bible! I want to encourage you to keep studying – the thing I’ve found is that studying the Bible is very habit forming – once you start studying the Word, you quickly develop a habit of studying, and when that happens, it’s easier to study than to stop studying! That’s a good place to be in!

Janine Bear is a wife, a mother of four teenagers, and a Pastor in Rogers, MN. Her passion is teaching people to study the Word, and does that whenever she gets a chance.  She’s available for conferences, retreats, seminars and Bible studies.

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Posted by on April 15, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Older Women Teaching the Younger Women

There is another “so that” for us to give attention to. Remember that “so that” means “here’s why,” and this one has to do with the older women’s lessons to the younger women.

Inductive always sees “so that”s!

Our next “so that” occurs in verse 5 in Chapter Two. It says that the older woman is to teach the younger woman to love her husband and her children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, be subject to their own husbands SO THAT the word of God may not be dishonored. Now that is amazing, when you slow down, study, and realize what that verse says! It says that what a young woman does in her house, while she’s alone, has an impact on whether or not the Word of God is dishonored!

What you do while you’re alone matters

Younger women love their husbands and kids at home. They are sensible, pure and workers – at home! They are kind and submissive to their husbands – at home! All of the things the young woman is to do, is done in the privacy of her own home; no one is watching. But yet the Word says that what she does when no one is watching keeps the word of God from being dishonored. “How can that happen?” you ask, and I tell you emphatically, “I don’t know!” but it does happen – the word of God says it does!

Let’s look at another scripture that reinforces the concept that what we do in private matters – 1 Peter 3: 1

You wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

We see here that – without a word and by her conduct, the wife is able to win her disobedient husband to the Word. We need to notice, too, that this verse is for all wives, not just the wives married to unsaved husbands. None of us has a husband who is completely obedient to the Word, so all of us are to act this way – chastely and respectfully.

Then God goes on to talk about women’s adornment: Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it (adornment) by the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Notice that her adornment is to be the “hidden person of the heart” which is precious in the “sight of God.” We learn from this that what’s hidden on the inside of us is what God looks at! Yes, He has the hairs on our heads numbered, but is not concerned with how they look – He’s concerned with how our insides look – and that is what is precious and imperishable to Him!


We need to learn from this, ladies. There are a couple of thoughts that come to mind: It is the job of the older women to teach the younger women. It seems that today the older women have left the younger women to fend for themselves, or to find their help at Barnes and Noble. There are books on marriage, parenting, organization, exercise, self-improvement and household management, but books are not anointed of God to teach the younger women how to act! The older women are anointed of God to teach!

Another thought is the emphasis on the  importance of what I do in my house to love my husband and kids and to be a kind pure, sensible worker at home. What I do here is important. In ways that I can’t understand, God’s reputation in the world is affected by how I conduct myself when I’m all alone. I can’t explain it, but I believe it, and knowing it will govern my conduct in my home.

Janine Bear is a wife, a mother of four teen-agers, and a Pastor in Rogers, MN. Her passion is teaching people to study the Word, and does that whenever she gets a chance. She’s available for conferences, retreats, seminars and Bible studies/

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Posted by on March 27, 2009 in Uncategorized


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On to Chapter Two!

Thus far on our inductive journey we’ve done a book overview – we read through the whole book several times, marking Paul and the recipients, along with some key words. We then narrowed our focus and concentrated on Chapter One, looking for things key to just that chapter. Now we’ll move to Chapter Two, working through it the same way we did Chapter One. Are you ready?

Look at Titus Chapter Two

Once again, remember that we are always looking for things obvious.  The most obvious thing to me in Chapter Two is that there are several groups of people to whom Titus is to speak things fitting for sound doctrine. Look through your Titus sheet and make bracket marks in the margin, separating the sections devoted to each group of people.

You saw that there are instructions for Older Men, Older Women with  a subheading of Younger Women, Young Men, and Bondslaves. Make a list for each section of people, writing down how each is to act.

Your Inductive Lists

Older Men: temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, sound in love, and sound in perseverance. Do you wonder about the definitions of any of those words? If so, do a word study before you look the word up in the English dictionary.

Older Women: likewise (that means in addition to what the Older Men are to be) reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, not enslaved to much wine, teach the young women what is good: how to love their husbands, how  to love their children, how to be sensible, how to be pure, how to be good workers at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their own husbands.  

Notice things that make you go “hmmmmmm.”

How interesting is the list for the Older Women. They are to behave in a certain way “so that” they can encourage the young women. So the reason for the list of behaviors for the Older Women is to enable them to teach! That’s what an Older Women is to do!

We’ve seen the importance of  “so that” in the first chapter of Titus; the Elders’ qualifications ended with “so that.” I love “so that,” because it means “here’s why.” The elders were to meet certain qualifications in order to be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict. The Older Women, too, are to meet certain qualifications in order to be able to teach the young women.

The things that they are to teach the young women are interesting, too. Teach them to love their husbands? Don’t women already love their husbands – especially young women? Young women think that  love just happens, that it’s the easiest thing in the world, and that their love will never die out.  Any of you who have been married a while know that the “in love” experience eventually gives way, and it’s at that point that a young woman gets to choose to love. She gets to choose to love through conflict and routine and life’s hurdles, and the ability to make that choice needs to be taught! It is not natural to put your husbands needs first, to put your own self down, to keep acting nicely when you feel wronged – but a young woman can be taught to act that way, and it’s the Older Women’s job teach her!

What about the “love their children” thing? Why would anyone need to be taught to love their children – that, more than anything, comes naturally, doesn’t it?  Well, a new parent needs to be taught how to discern what is best for their kids- most parents find that discipline does not come naturally, and so they need to be taught how to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Look at all the parenting books at your bookstore – obviously parents feel that they need help! Paul tells Titus that it is the job of the Older Woman to teach the young women to love their kids.

Continue listing the instructions to the groups of people. See what you find out about thier jobs and how they are to behave – do word studies if you wonder about a definition, and check back tomorrow for some more discussion!


Janine Bear is a wife, a mother of four teen-agers, and a Pastor in Rogers, MN. Her passion is teaching people to study the Word, and does that whenever she gets a chance. She’s available for conferences, retreats, seminars and Bible studies.

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Posted by on March 26, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Finishing Up Chapter One of Titus

Titus 1: 16 They (bad guys) profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.

This is a very sobering verse. The implications of this verse are staggering – especially for a girl that grew up in the Word of Faith doctrine. The thought that what we do is more important than what we say is in direct contradiction with all that I’d been taught, but that’s what the Word says! It says that these bad guys said that they knew God – that they were close with him, that they prophecied in His name – but just saying it didn’t make it so. What they did proved them to be liars.

Inductive’s Question – what does the Word say?

All of us are capable of lying. We could lie all day long if we wanted to. But, if someone was interested in what we really believe, they’d look at what we do – and that’s what God does, too. He knows we can say things we don’t believe, but that we can’t act in ways we don’t believe.

Man on a unicycle

There was a guy who had the unique talent of being able to ride a unicyle on a tightrope. He set up his rope over a  deep canyon, hopped on his unicycle and rode across, to the amazement of the many onlookers. As they watched, he turned around and crossed  over to them. Their applause was loud and enthusiastic. As it died down, he asked the crowd, “How many of you believe that I could perform that same trick with a passenger on my shoulders?” They all shouted “I believe!” and “You surely can do it with someone on your shoulders!” He then looked at them expectantly and asked for a volunteer to be the passenger. Not one of the spectators stepped forward.  The silence was deafening.

Just like those spectators, we posses the ability to say that we believe  a lot of things. But our actions show what we truly believe. If the spectators believed that the unicyclists could cross the ravine with a passenger, they’d not hesitate to jump right on. But no matter what they said, they didn’t believe that he could. Our actions show what we believe.

James 2: 17 – 26 . . . faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show ou my faith by my works. . . You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

We all understand, I hope, that these scriptures aren’t saying that our salvation is as a result of works – what scripture is saying is that anyone can say they know God! The way God knows if they’re telling the truth is by what they do – because beliefs automatically lead to works!

Inductive Study’s most important step – Application

Titus 1: 16 causes me to reflect when I read it. Are there things I do that contradict my professed love of God? Would someone look at my actions and decide that I believe something other than what I say I believe? Can God believe me when I talk? Does He see my words and actions lining up? Those are the important questions to ask ourselves. Now that I know that it’s possible to deny God with my deeds, I need to be careful to examine my deeds and my words.

Janine Bear is a wife, a mother of four teenagers, and a Pastor in Rogers, MN. Her passion is teaching people to study the Word of God, adn does that whenever she gets a chance. She’s available for conferences, retreats, seminars and Bible studies.

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Posted by on March 3, 2009 in Uncategorized


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