Ben and Ryan explaining their "observations."

Well, I’ve been here in Lakeside for a exactly 2 weeks and I sure know more now than I did when I first got here.  We’ve been

in what they call “seminar” this whole time and will be for the next week.  After that, we divide into two groups of about 25 each for the rest of the 9 months.  It’s been slow but steady.  They started us in the book of Philemon to show us the “Method”, then moved us on to Titus, and right now, we’re half way through Ephesians.  Well, there’s not really a “half way.”  There is a start and an end time with teaching and work in the middle.  You work at your own pace and in your own way but the book is due at 5pm Tuesday.  We have been trained to put each book through a 12 step process.  It starts with an out loud reading, moves to making paragraph titles much like the ones in most Bibles, and continues on with a method of observation that would make middle school grammar teachers proud, complete with color pencils and pronouns.

After that, it’s good old, conventional research right from the Bible and the old fashioned kind from the library.  You more or less write a mini-research paper with info about the author, date of writing, and contextual stuff about the original author and original “hearers.”  Then there are charts, charts, and more charts.  Inside charts and outside charts, all consisting of observations, interpretations, and applications from the themes we’ve drawn out of the text.  You think you would have absolutely every insight and interpretation possible after that much dissection, but  I’m finding that the deeper I get into it, the more questions I actually have.  The themes I think I know like, “…by grace you have been saved through faith…” from Ephesians 2:8, (Yes, Hallelujah! preach it brother!) are surrounded and supported by things like, “…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” v.7  Riches of his grace in kindness?  Wait. What? Then there is more and more…literally, no end to it.  The Word of God is like a deep well.

I am so grateful to be able to take the time to work like this for 9 straight months.  We have had tons of time to finish each book so far but according to the schedule, it ramps up quite a bit, so I am fastening my seat belt.  The staff are such great teachers and so patient with us.  It’s fun to be surrounded by this caliber of people. Everyone here is amazing…  I don’t know what it would be like to be in seminary, but to be surrounded by a group of future ministers must be something like this.