CCOG Newsletter

Weekly Updates

Reflections from Pastor Jennifer

We were created - male and female - in the Imago Dei (the Image of God). He alone provides purpose and identity. The struggle begins when we attempt to look more like the world than like Him. The search for meaning, purpose, and identity is normal. There are seasons in each of our lives that we wonder, "Who am I?" You are strong, you are creative, you are beloved by your Creator - I AM!

Study Guide

The 5 W's and the H

In elementary school we teach the kids a reading tool called "The 5 W's and the H". Some of you may remember this tool or be familiar with it. For the rest, I will explain. There are some key questions that we are able to ask of any text to gain better understanding. They are, "Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?" Some, if not all, of these questions will be answered as we read a book, article, passage, etc. But if this is an elementary school tool, how can it work for us?

Who? As you are reading the Bible, find out who wrote the book and to whom that person was writing. For example, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. His audience at the time was the group of Israelites that God had brought out of Egypt. In his writings, we notice a history of the Israelite people and laws that they must obey as a nation.

What? What is the main idea of this passage, chapter, or book? What themes do I notice? In the book of Ruth, we hear an excellent narrative about Ruth and Naomi. But are there themes? Absolutely! We notice a theme of provision (famine in Bethlehem ["The House of Bread"], Ruth gleaning in the wheat field, Boaz filling her cloak with grain, the kinsman redeemer).

Where? A great question to ask is, "Where is this taking place?" The setting of a story greatly affects all parts. The books that Moses wrote were written in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land. The book of Daniel was written in Babylon, when the Israelites had been exiled for their disobedience to God. Knowing where a book was written helps us to understand the frame of mind of the author.

When? This question is also part of the setting of a book. When was it written? Was this at the height of Israel's greatness (I and II Samuel)? or when they were being punished for their sins (Lamentations)? Is this the Old Testament (approx. 1450 B.C. to 400 B.C)? Or is it the New Testament (approx. A.D. 0 to A.D. 96)? We must consider the cultural context of the books to gain a better understanding of the language being used and the references being made.

Why? What was the reason that the author wrote this book? The Gospels were written to give an account of the life and ministry of Jesus. Acts was written to show the work of the early church. The Epistles were written to encourage and correct the issues within churches that had been established at that time. We must read each book through the lens of purpose. We will notice a sharp contrast between the purpose of Paul's letter to the Corinthians (to correct MANY issues within the church) and his letter to the Philippians (to tell them how grateful he was for their love and generosity).

How? Understand that how these authors wrote was by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we notice that the Spirit allowed each of these writers to use their own style and voice. The style of Solomon differs from the style of David. The style of Hosea differs from Jeremiah. The style of Matthew differs from John.

A good study Bible, or a reputable book or website will provide insight into each of these questions. Knowing about the author, the setting, the purpose, and themes of the books will greatly improve our understanding of God's Word.

Lioness Arising | Lisa Bevere