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      Basic Tracking God Principles

Tracking God has developed specific principles to follow when reading and studying your Bible. These principles aid the Bible student in seeing more of God as He has revealed Himself  as He interacts with His creation throughout Scripture. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" and "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Further we know that "these things happened unto them for ensamples: and were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Corinthians 10:11).

      How much we know about someone or something is directly related to the quality of the commitment we are willing engage in to explore everything that can be known about the subject. The more facets we examine of a person’s life, as we would a precious jewel, the more we understand them, appreciate them, and trust them. The same applies to our knowledge of God.

      To begin this process, we need to start with good methods of observation. For example, the deer has a great way of quickly finding potential dangers. It has been labeled, “splatter vision” (Tom Brown Jr., The Search, p. 211). It consists of taking in all of a scene, like a wide-angle lens, without focusing immediately on anything particular. This allows the deer to notice anything that is moving or which seems to be out of place (disturbances and irregularities). After identifying any movement or irregularity, the deer then focuses upon the points of disturbances he noticed to determine what he should do about what he has observed.

      Applying this process to Bible study, we first read through the entire section of Scripture, noticing (observing) "disturbances" or things that seem out of place in the story. Then we can begin the process of tracking. Let's begin by looking at some basic principles. Then go to the next page for an exercise in applying these principles.


Table of Contents

Principle One: Observe

Principle Two: Track

Principle Three: Reflect

Principle Four: Behold

Basic Principle: Observe

Look at the whole story and note anything that reveals action, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.  At this stage, avoid focusing too closely on a single subject.  Focusing at this point in the study tends to create tunnel-vision which limits your awareness and sensitivity to the hints in the text.

What Do You See?

Read the story all the way through (may take a couple chapters or only a few verses in a chapter).

Observe God: "In the beginning of this story, God was. . . ."

Observe people: "At the beginning of this story _______ (the main character) was ___________" (describe actions, thoughts, places, conditions, etc.).

Observe transition areas where people are forced to make decisions or take actions.

Observe recurring patterns or themes

  1. Cause to effect

  2. Plot development that leads to a crisis or climax

Observe details that help focus on the high point of the story

  1. Use of repetitive words or phrases

  2. Descriptive details, either expressed or seemingly left out

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Basic Principle: Track

No event in life exists independently.  Everything is related to some other event.  Tracking is following the action of the story from point to point as it moves along.  Each point is a disturbance or irregularity that reveals that something has happened, which in turn, means someone or something caused it to happen.  By examining the action we begin to ask questions that will help us understand the whole picture and why the story evolved the way it did.  The goal is not to see how much detail we can see in one action; it is to see how each action is related to all the other actions in any given event.  Therefore, the goal of Tracking God is to see how each event fits in with all the other events to paint a larger understanding of God.

How Did it Happen?

I. Track each scene of the story

  1. Notice the movements of the characters from scene to scene
  2. Determine what story elements link the different scenes together into a whole story

II. Track an individual character throughout the story

A. How is their character described?

  1. Their physical appearance
  2. Their speech
  3. Their actions

B. How do they interact with other people

C. How do their actions compare with God's character?

D. From what point of view is the story told?

  1. Are key words the main focus?
  2. Is the story told in dialogue or narrative?

E. At the end of the story, how has this person changed?

  1. What has caused the changes?
  2. What was the process of change?
  3. What would have happened if the person had chosen a different path than then one taken in the story?

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Basic Principle: Reflect

The Bible is ultimately the story of God.  When we search for the meaning in a certain passage, it is important to allow God Himself to explain what He is doing and why He is doing it.  This process is done by reflecting upon God's instruction and promises, and matching them with those events or situations elsewhere in the Bible or history that reveal their fulfillment.

What does it mean?

A. Reflect upon the story from the viewpoint of God's Everlasting Covenant (i.e.: how does this set of events fit into His overall design for saving His people and restoring earth to its original Edenic purity?).

  1. Blessing/deliverance—power given to God's people to be overcomers and live righteously through faith in Him
  2. Knowledge of God—from seeing how He interacted with people we learn specific character traits of God as revealed in the story
  3. Community—evidence that God is re-creating a society in which selfishness and self-centeredness are overcome
  4. Rest—learning to live by faith in God's promises to save and restore us brings us physical and spiritual rest

B. Reflect upon the elements of the story that contrast God's ways and Satan's ways of dealing with people.

  1. Compare God's design with Satan's alternative as revealed in the story
  2. How did Satan seek to sabotage God's plans?

C. Reflect upon the characters in the story and how they illustrated either God's character or Satan's character.

  1. How did the individuals reveal their inner lives through their choices and actions?
  2. What factors were at work to influence them to serve God or serve Satan?

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Basic Principle: Behold

Beholding is the process of seeing God as He has revealed Himself in a given story, and comparing one's self to that view.  By beholding God's character, we learn to appreciate Him and desire to be like him.   We are drawn to respond intelligently to the power of the Holy Spirit who will re-create us in harmony with God and His ways.

What have I learned?

Behold God Himself: "According to this story, I now understand God to be ______" (a character trait).

Behold God's methods: "According to this story, I have seen that God uses ____________ (specific methods) to accomplish His will when faced with ___________" (a crisis or situation described in the story).

Behold yourself: "I have seen myself in this story as being similar to ________" (a character from the story).

Behold your own actions: "The way I usually face a situation like was described in the story is to ______________" (specific method you use when faced with such a situation).

Behold God's solution: "I have seen how God dealt with ________ (the situation or set of events).  How then shall I live?
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Overview Chart

Applying the Principles—go to next page for an exercise in applying these principles

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