Five Simple, Essential Questions to Ask of Every Text

I have developed these Five Simple, Essential Questions to Ask of Every Text by teaching and training myself over years of daily Bible reading, study, and meditation. These are the questions I have asked of the text as I sought to better understand the mind and will of God through His Word and apply its truths to my life. I just instinctively ask these questions and am searching for the answers to them as I read the Scriptures.

Yes, at first, I read the Bible mainly just to know and familiarize myself with the content of Scripture: historical, theological, doctrinal, etc.

But the more I read, the more I came to recognize and experience the immediate Personal interaction God has with us through His words [Hebrews 4.12-13; 1 Peter 1.23-2.3; et. al.]. Also, 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, was a pivotal and transformative Scripture to that end.

I have adopted these five goals that I’m always asking God for:

  1. Reading
  2. Understanding/Interpretation
  3. Application
  4. Implementation
  5. Obedience

I have shared these Five Questions at least verbally with every ministry of the Word I have ever been privileged to have. But only recently have I written them out. This is only a brief sketch of all the exercises that go on in my mind and heart as I read the Scriptures.

I share them with you with the prayer to God that it will help you to “Do you understand what you are reading?” [Acts 8.30].


#1 / What do the words say?

  • Exercise: Reading [w/Praying & Meditating]

         Read 1 Corinthians 2

  • Look for:
    • Lead words & follow words
    • Primary words & subordinate words
    • Main words & support words

#2 / What do the words mean?   

  • Exercise: Understanding / Interpretation
    • Hermeneutics & Exegesis
    • Contextual ‘re-creation,’ Linguistics, & Logic
    • NOTE: we are not asking “What do the words mean ‘to me’?” but rather “What do the words mean ‘to God’?” because God says what HE means, and HE means what HE says – and that’s the meaning we must seek [see 2 Peter 1.19-21]
    • Pray & ask God for His Divine Authorial Intent

         Read Acts 8.26-35 [always look for the ‘Christ Key’]

#3 / What will it look like when I do the words of this text?

  • Exercise: Application

         Read 1 Thessalonians 2.13 & Acts 1.1

#4 / Am I doing what this text teaches?

  • Exercise: Implementation

         Read James 1.22-25

#5 / If I am not, when am I going to start?

  • Exercise: Obedience
  • NOTE: NOT “If I am not, WHY not?” because there is NO excuse, reason, or justification for disobedience; but rather “WHEN am I going to repent and start obeying?”

         Read 2 Timothy 3.14-17

HERE IS AN EXPANDED VERSION OF THE ABOVE OUTLINE SUMMARY. I was asked to deliver it in a service and prepared these Lesson Notes…

Here it is in a 2-sided, printable pdf format suitable for handout. You are free to use it in any way that will be helpful.

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