Studying Scripture with Dale Ralph Davis

(Taken from the first chapter of The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts)

Deep into our study time the thought occurs to us that we have not looked - not did we think of looking - to the God who breathed out this Scripture to give us an understanding of the Scripture. He will likely give that understanding through the tools we use, but when we use tools while neglecting him the tools have become idols.

in facing Scripture one must take account of two realities: Spirit and Text. This fact forces me to one of my operating presuppositions: God has given his word in the form of literature, part of which is narrative; I should therefore use all available tools for understanding such literature. So I seek the Spirit's aid and use an approach suited to the form of his word. Hence, at the very least, I ask questions of the text.

It is safe to say that usually the writer's purpose is theocentric - he intends to communicate something about God.

Whenever we are at a loss as to what we should preach on a passage, we will never go wrong if we focus on God, his actions and his requirements.

I especially focus on what may be puzzling - it may be a word or phrase or idea which I feel I must understand in order to grasp the passage properly. I want to isolate the conundrums that keep me from understanding the text - and solve as many as possible.