So, in an effort to respond to his question, I have written this post.
Even though this process mostly happens unconsciously for me, and my brain sometimes feels as cluttered as my desk (see the image on the left), I still hope to extract (without explaining) the key components of how I think about and look at a passage of Scripture.
As a result, you will know what's going on in my head, and I'll be able to ask: Do you see what I see?
It's a win-win!
13 Questions I'm Always Asking about the Text
After reading / hearing the passage, I ask:
1) What stands out?
a word? a phrase? a person? an action?
2) What does this passage say about God?
3) What does this passage say about the people of God?
4) What is the social situation of the writer and intended audience / recipients of this passage?
5) Are there any contemporary parallels to what's happening in the text?
6) Are there any biblical parallels to what's happening in the text?
7) Why did the biblical community tell / retell this idea / story?
8) Why did the biblical community tell / retell this idea / story in this way?
9) Could the biblical community have told / retold this idea / story in another way?
10) What would the world or the church look like if it lived contrary to this text?
11) How should this text be used in the present setting?
to inform? to challenge? to critique? to inspire?
12) Is there a "flash point" between this text and our lives today?
13) What would a non-Christian girl/lady or guy/man think about this text?
Once my mind has flown through those questions and made whatever assessments it makes, I share what I think the text wants to say. It's not much simpler (or more complicated) than that.
I hope that helps!
Some Discernment Required (Always)
Keeping It Together: How To Read the Bible