STOP Bible Study Method on Context

The STOP method illustrated stands and falls on context. This is why Steadfastness and Orderliness are two of the important features of the method. By being disorderly, or lazily skipping over verses, you may potentially fall into one of the greatest dangers of Bible studying.

The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and as such should be handled accordingly. Being careless with it can result in horrid theology, confused applications and potentially un-Christlike actions.

The STOP method is not a topical method nor a systematic method and thus depends on the reading one verse to the next, one paragraph to the next and one chapter to the next without jumping around. Therefore, by skipping around, meanings that are outside of the immediate text wind up influencing the meaning of the studied text and thus ignore the fact that God inspired the text as it stands—not as we have formulated our understanding.

This is why when you are studying in an Orderly fashion you will encounter passages of great difficulty but you will be able to Steadfastly work through them with a Targeted goal of Popping one of the three “GO!” questions into your mind. Ignore the context at extreme peril.

Now, as your STOP method increases in practice (perhaps after going through the entire Bible once) you may seek to widen the scope of it to include contextual verses in the passage—especially after seeing our overview of Jude and possibly drawing some bad theology when not reading anything else.

For example, let’s take the STOP method to {{John 3:16}}. Contextually I would eventually find myself looking closely at John 3:14-18 as a block. 14 as a beginning because Jesus really starts explaining entrance into the Kingdom and 18 as the end of that block because in 19 He explains judgment.

The STOP method would technically first bring us to the first verse and Steadfastly read through it asking question 1. While asking question 1 under the Orderly heading I would be forced to look up the passages Jesus refers to. For instance, Jesus refers to Numbers 21:1-9 in John 3:14 which would make that passage part of the context as well—albeit further off than the immediate passage of John 3. The benefit of this direct connection is that it rounds off the “GO!” questions.

If you recall:

  • Question 1) What does this teach me about God’s person? Well that God has a holy requirement might be something. That God has a way to meet the demands of His holy requirement.
  • Question 2) What does this teach me about God’s plan for His people? Well, the Numbers passage seems to teach that God will condemn His people but the John passage seems to teach that God’s condemnation is not arbitrary but dependant on their unbelief.
  • Question 3) What does this teach me about God’s purposes? Well I would understand that God sent the Son of Man to be lifted up in the same way as Moses’ rod—that the people who would look and live back then would look to the Son of Man and live now—having eternal life. So God’s purpose would be an offer to the condemned by which they are not condemned. Their condemnation remains if they do not believe but it is removed if they do believe.

Be that as it may, I learned something about God (He’s Holy) his plan for His people (very little though important) and His purposes (that whosoever believes has everlasting life while whoever believes not is judged).

So there you have the STOP method. STOP—ask then GO! and write. I hope it’s helpful.

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