Monday, November 5, 2018

Update: October

Hey friends, just an update on what I’ve been doing this past month!

This place is very awake at night!

In my last update, I mentioned that we had studied the book of Philemon. Now, we have also studied Ephesians, Mark, Luke and Acts (in that order)! The staff were gradually increasing the amount of work we were required to do for each book as the weeks went by - so for Philemon, Ephesians and Mark, we weren’t officially graded, and we were given chunks of information that we otherwise would have to do. But for Luke, it was all on us to do all the work! Luke also happens to be the longest book in the New Testament!

Up to this point, we’ve been doing one book each week as we have been learning how to do the work we need to do, but now, we’ll be doing multiple books each week based on book length!

So - what am I actually doing?

I mentioned in my last blog post that we do 5 steps:
1. Pray
2. Read
3. Observe
4. Interpret
5. Apply

I’ll expand a bit more on the last 3 steps as that is where the bulk of the work comes in!  After we do an “out-loud” reading of the book, we go over it again and are looking for observations. How we mark our observations is by using a method of colour coding - using a different colour for different things. Some of the things we look for are ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’, contrast, correlation, figures of speech, etc.

Excerpt of what my colour-coding looks like for Luke

By colour-coding, we can easily see what’s in the text, and visualize relationships between people, places, things, etc more easily.

After we’ve observed the text, we need to make paragraph titles for every paragraph in the book using only words from that paragraph! We then group the paragraphs into segments (~ the same number as there are chapters, but could be more or less). Segments are groups of paragraphs that are similar in content (for example, in the Gospels it could be while Jesus is in one place). Then, segments are grouped into sections, which are groups of segments with a similar theme. After that, if the book is big enough, we might group sections into divisions, where there is a clear divide between two halves of the book! Each of these groupings gets its own title, and we generate a horizontal chart (as seen below):

After the Horizontal Chart is completed, we have to do Vertical Charts. What these are is that each segment turns into a vertical chart with the paragraphs listed, we put observations into it that we found during the observation stage, then we do builds. A build is an Observation, Interpretation and Wisdom from a certain number of the observations we found in the paragraphs. Depending on how large the segment is, the number of builds we have to do varies. At the end of the Vertical Chart, we have to write a segment summary based on the content of the segment, and the information gleaned from the builds. Below is an example of a Vertical Chart for Luke:

After the Vertical Charts are done, we move into the application phase, where we write both a personal application about the book (how has our worldview been challenged, what did we learn, etc) and and external application (how can the church body improve, etc).

And that’s it! It’s a lot of work, very time-consuming, but worth it all. I’ve been learning so much in this school, and my worldview has been slowly reshaped. We don’t necessarily do all the steps for every book, or we sometimes have different assignments instead. For example, for Acts, we didn’t have to do any Vertical Charts. However, we had to make a timeline for the entire New Testament (~10 BC - 100 AD), and draw maps for Paul’s 3 missionary journeys and his journey to Rome. For the maps, we also had to write a brief summary of his 4 journeys.

This timeline is on the classroom wall, it’s similar to what we had to do, but we needed to add a lot more detail!

This past weekend has been a long weekend for us, 3 days of not having to do homework! A typical week for us has us starting Monday morning, and finishing homework Saturday night. So having 3 days not to do homework was much needed!

Also, our class size has grown from 16 to 20, we had 4 more people from India all receive their visas, and they were all able to arrive without missing too much of the school!

Prayer Requests:
- For sleep and energy! Oftentimes during the week, I’m up until about midnight doing homework, then waking up just after 7 for breakfast. Prayer for more efficient time management is appreciated!
- Health - we’ve had a few of the trainees get sick, so prayers that everyone is well and healthy are also appreciated!

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