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C.O.M.A

This is an inductive Bible study framework, but helps us grapple with skills that enable us to understand more about the Bible, it’s background, as a piece of God-breathe literature. For a more detailed article, check out this post by Ronald JJ Wong.

As ever, begin with prayer. For this framework you are going to want a journal, or maybe a document on your laptop or a tool like Evernote that will keep notes organised well. Why? Because this framework is both about personal application but also about growing in confidence with Scripture.

1. Context

Before you read, begin reflecting: What genre is this book? Is it historai account, prophecy, Gospel, a letter…? What’s going on in this book of the Bible? What has already been said – this helps give context for a snippet you’re about to read. Explore the history – who wrote it, and when? In what cultural context?

A great resource for answering some of these is the Bible Project YouTube channel. Here’s a playlist that might be helpful, but do explore. We advise sticking to things written by Bible scholars and pastors rather than any source on the internet.

2. Observation

Go through, verse by verse, line by line, making oberservation. Who’s involved? Are there key phrases that stick out? “Who, what, where, when, why?” Any surprises? Ronald JJ Wong’s article (in the introduction to this page asks more helpful questions)

3. Meaning

What’s the key idea here? How does it fit with it’s broader context? Are there things for us here? Reasons to praise God, promises to hold on to, commands to obey, sins to confess etc?

4. Application

Does this passage re-shape some of your view of God? What emotions do you feel from this passage, and why? Are there any attitudes you need to lay down before God? Finish with one clear ‘goal’ or item to change in your life. Commit it to the Lord in prayer.

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