Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Timeless perspective explained

The timeless study of God's word is focused on the things that the passage reveals that are true for all time. While things like God's character and attributes might immediately come to mind (and should), timeless things also include man's sinfulness, man's broken relationship with God, the battle between God and Satan, certain concepts of heaven and hell, etc.

A majority of timeless perspective ideas focus on things that do not change, but there are changeable things that can also be timeless principles, for example, salvation does not change - it has always been by grace through faith alone, but the manifestation of salvation has changed in that Christ's sacrifice and atoning work on the cross is the basis for our salvation today. It is still by grace through faith alone, but we have a particular object of our faith.

In contrast to the time-locked study, where exclusion is the rule, the timeless study throws off all the time-locked restrictions. We are concerned with digging into the Scripture and finding out what timeless principles and concepts God is communicating to everyone, past and present, through the passage. All of Scripture is available to compare and contrast the things we find in the study target, and we need to make sure that the timeless principles we find are consistent with the rest of the Bible.

Questions to ask in a timeless study:
1. What does the scripture actually say about God?
2. What attributes does God display in the text?
3. What attributes are implied by the text?
4. What does God say about Himself?
5. Does God do something in the passage?
6. What does the text/passage teach about God's relationship/attitude to mankind?
7. What does the text/passage teach about mankind's relationship/attitude to God?
8. What does the passage say about mankind?
9. Does the passage teach a timeless principle or idea?

Timeless study differs from time-locked in that we are not doing an in depth investigation into the time and culture of the book and so, specific questions are not asked and the answers found. Instead, the timeless questions serve to remind us of what we are looking for.

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