After you’ve studied a few passages you will start to notice some common themes and topics popping up. This is when you will need to startputting your findings together. Today I’m going to talk about why, when, and how you need to put everything you’ve learned from examining individual passages together.
Why do I need to do correlation?
It is important to correlate your findings otherwise everything you’ve learned ends up being disjointed and compartmentalized. Until you’ve put it all together you will be unable to see the continuity of scripture.
As Christians there are two overarching reasons why we study the Bible. First we study it in order to grow closer to God. Second we study it so that we can understand how we God wants us to live. Correlation is the means by which we accomplish the second reason for studying the Bible. It takes our Bible study lessons and turns them into a comprehensive Christian philosophy for how we are to live life well.
When should I start putting it all together?
You probably will begin this step of interrelating everything together as soon as you start your study. Whether we are studying the nature of the Universe, a symphony from a famed composer, or God’s Word it is a natural process for us to connect the dots and recognize the patterns.
So as you’re studying your passage make a short note when you notice that it relates to some other passage you’ve studied. When you are completely done with the steps of observation, interpretation, and evaluation then it is time to put together everything you have learned from this study with the others.
How do I put it together?
Putting together what you have learned is the process of doing theology. Theology is a summarization of the teachings of scripture on a particular topic such as (but not limited to) God, sin, or salvation.
When you put together what you have learned from a particular book of the Bible or a particular author it is called biblical theology. When you put together everything you’ve learned from the whole of scripture it’s called systematic theology.
We all come to the Bible with a system of theology in place. We have some notion about God, what sin is, and what it means to be saved among many other things. It is important to study scripture and see what God has said through human authors about all these topics and how we are to live.
Once we have studied a passage we are either able to correct what we thought we knew or confirm and build upon that knowledge.
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