I'm studying Ephesians right now. Right now I'm concentrating on the first three chapters. J
The first three chapters are fantastic, they have so much foundational reality of Christ in them. You may be familiar with the criticism that "grace" people only look at those first 3 chapters and yet will avoid the rest? Haha, I have come to spend a little more time in chapters 4&5 in the past couple years and have enjoyed them as much ... maybe even more. It is a totally bogus, legal viewpoint that thinks the second half "balances out" the grace of the first half. No, no, truthfully, it keeps pushing it way into freedom. I'll tell you more about how I view that if you have any questions. But enjoy the first half, and don't let the fear of that bogey man of the "responsibility" chapters hinder you from basking in the freedom you discover. :)
I have an Inductive study Bible, so that helps me to put things in context by asking questions like who, what, why, when, how, and where. J
Yes, excellent questions to be considering all the way through. Just keep in mind that even the best study methods will never replace the reality that is taught by God alone. I don't say that to put a damper on reading these writings through a watchful eye so that you are not reading something in that just isn't there because I encourage you to do so.
I figure I need to just study for myself... J
As you are driven to it then go for it, bro. Be prepared to gain more questions than answers. :) The funny thing is that in having more questions you might discover that asking the right questions is more revealing than finding the right answers. In the asking you will find that you are listening more, and in listening more you will hear some obvious stuff pop up right in front of you and you will then wonder why you had never noticed it before. :) It's great.
I'm trying to approach it without bias, but I know that every time I read the Bible I read it with bias. J
Do you realize the incredible insight in understanding how biased you are? Don't be afraid of it, instead call it for what it is and the contrasts will teach you more than the effort to become unbiased. When you see that you are biased you begin seeing past your biases because of having recognized those biases. Does that make sense? If not, tell me. :)
Jim, thanks for encouraging me so much with your responses... J
No problem at all, bro, it has been my pleasure.
Next I'm going to study Romans. Do you recomend using a comentary to study with? J
Well, I'm not much for commentaries. That doesn't mean there aren't any good ones, but truthfully, I'm just not much of a reader. Yeah, really. I mean, there are some really crappy ones out there and they can sidetrack you into meaningless trivia and legalism. Sometimes you will find one or two things in a commentary that make the whole thing worthwhile without using it to guide you. Sometimes you can read a viewpoint that helps you realize how much it is like your own flimsy viewpoint and it will force you to dig deeper to uncover something more real. This is stuff I have found, and I treasure how a former viewpoint I held was seen to be so contrary to the very verses used to support it. That's the stuff that really seals it for me because I have seen it for myself.
Later, dude. :) Jim