I. Look for The Gospel in every passage by asking the following 5 questions:
- How does this text teach about Jesus and the Good News?
- What does this text teach about God, His character, and His ways?
- What does this text teach about fallen humankind? (More specifically, what am I trusting, or what do I love and serve more than Jesus?) Let the Bible read you!
- What is it that God wants me to know from the text?
- What does God want me to do as a result of this text?
II. Understand the Importance of Distinguishing Between Indicatives and Imperatives
- When you see a command or list of commands in the Bible, don’t be fooled into thinking you have to accomplish them in your own strength. Look for the gospel indicative that empowers us to accomplish the imperatives.
- In grammar, the indicative denotes a mood of verbs expressing simple statements of fact, such as:
- The sky is clear tonight
- She is not content with the outcome
- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7)
- The imperative is a command, such as:
- Take the dog for a walk
- Go to bed
- “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph 4:32)
- The indicative (fact) of the gospel fuels the imperatives (commands). For example, the first three chapters of Ephesians are primarily indicatives telling us who we are “in Him.” The final three chapters are primarily imperatives. If we don’t let the first three chapters fuel the final three chapters, we are likely to fall into a ‘works’ mentality, which is moralism (i.e., behavior modification) and NOT the gospel. In the same way the Beatitudes ‘fuel’ the rest of the Sermon on the Mount.