Basic Concepts of Tracking God

"For the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things" John 5:20

The first lesson in learning to track God is observation. Through observation we learn to identify action and notice disturbances—things that appear to be out of place—things that reveal to us that some "event" has taken place in the past.  To enhance our ability to observe, learning to ask the right questionswe need to learn to ask the right questions.  When viewing a Bible scene where any event has taken place, Tracking God explores three basic questions:

We Should Learn to Ask:

What happened in the story we’re reading?

Everything present at a scene is, in some way, connected to the event. We might never understand it all. But the more details we can gather of a given event (a story where God interacts with man) the more we have to work with in determining God’s character. It is incredible that the Bible writers were so helpful. Careful examination of the text shows that they lead the reader to the important details in a story and point us to real subjects and issues we should be considering.

Why did this event happen this way (what other options were possible)?

The Bible has a way of frustrating us when we read it. Why are so many of the details we want to know not available and why are there details included which seem useless to us. Understanding literary structure and selectivity are crucial to knowing God as the Bible writers portrayed Him. The Bible writers were skilled and inspired authors who deliberately constructed their stories to reveal what God wanted us to see about His character. They were purposeful in their selection of what to include in their stories in order to focus our attention on what is really important. Understanding these techniques helps us find God’s actions and reveal His behavior in specific instances. Through this observation, we come to see His true character more clearly.

What kind of God would have done this and for what reasons would He have done (or permitted) this to happen the way it did?

After carefully noting the details of the story, we should ask why the situation unfolded in that particular way. After evaluating these details, it is then possible for us to begin making conclusions as to what type of person would act in such a manner. This is what we refer to as "tracking." By adding up the various instances of a certain behavior for any given individual (including God), one begins noticing habits and motives that help to truly understand the person’s character. Such a means of study bypasses the hearsay and the misconceptions that might have been learned previously (about any individual, but especially about God).

From reading the above explanations you should begin to realize that Bible study can really be an exciting adventure no matter what your past experiences were or how many times you have heard the stories retold. The Bible is a fresh new trail each time you choose to allow the Holy Spirit to take you for a walk.

    "The Bible is not a collection of isolated fragments,  it is a vast system of recurring images, character types, plot motifs, and type scenes.  As we read a given biblical passage, we are reminded of other similar material elsewhere in the Bible.  In this process, the Bible assumes a remarkable unity in our thinking." (Leland Ryken: How to Read the Bible as Literature, p. 179).

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Basic Concepts, page 2

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