Pattern Study Method
This method could prove to be one of the most difficult because, instead of looking at words, verses, or themes, we are looking at patterns. Since patterns are not identified in a concordance, we will have to look a little deeper to locate them.
Patterns refer to those areas that repeat themselves throughout the Bible. When the Lord tells us something two or more times, we know we have a pattern to follow or to avoid. Patterns can be found in parables, the lives of different characters, or teachings. These patters will always align themselves with Godís word, but they may not be stated in specific terms. Therefore, the key to this type of study is determining a pattern and then locating supporting scriptures.
For example, we might read about David and look for patterns in his life that pleased or blessed God. We might look for patterns that show us how to make Godly decisions.
Or, we could do a word or topical study on "forgiveness" using our concordances and topical study Bibles. However, we can also do a pattern study on forgiveness. For this study we will be using our topical Bible and our study Bible.
If we were doing a pattern study on "forgiveness", we might look at Esauís forgiving Jacob, Lotís forgiving his friends, Hoseaís forgiving his wayward wife, the fatherís forgiving his prodigal son, and Jesusí forgiving those who crucified Him,
Now, how do we find these passages? We can recall them from previous studies, from our Bible readings, or from a topical list.
Select a "pattern" that you would like to study. This may come from a list of topics or from a previous study. A pattern can be difficult to state in a word or two, but do not let this discourage you. Write out what you would like to discover so that you can spot the scriptures that contribute to the pattern. This might look like the following:
How did David make decisions?
How did David pray (look at Psalms)?
What constitutes spiritual maturity?
What does it mean to serve as Jesus served?
Once you have chosen a pattern or area of study, you need to identify the scriptures to study. You might try a topical Bible to locate passages. However, we are not necessarily studying the topic but a pattern that illustrates how we can live this topic. For example, we might want to do a study on making Godly decisions. If we look in a concordance, we will find all verses that contain the word. If we look in a topical Bible, we will find verses related to the idea of making decisions. Using these two lists, we want to locate passages that illustrate people making Godly or ungodly decisions.
Another way to identify a pattern is by reading through a passage or a book of the Bible. As you read, look for patterns in behavior or words or thoughts that can help us better understand God and His word. For example, as we read the gospels, we can pay very close attention to all of the times Jesus prayed. From these episodes, we can look for patterns that can help us with our prayer lives. For example, we might notice the following patterns: Jesus prayed early in the mornings; he often went to be alone; he was constantly giving thanks; he was constantly giving thanks.
Read the passages carefully, being sure to read all the verse associated with that idea. After reading the passages, we look for patterns: reoccurring events, words, or actions that can teach us. Jot these patterns down, making sure that your scripture reading supports those conclusions.
From these passages, we look for "guidelines" that can help us. Be careful. We are not looking for a list of rules, nor do we want to reduce something as alive as prayer to legalistic teaching. However, we can summarize the patterns to help us. For example, using Jesus as a pattern for prayer, we could come up the following:
UPray early in the morning
UAt times, we need to go off alone to pray
UGiving thanks should be a part of all our prayers
As you continue reading, keep revising your patterns so that everything you write down is supported by the scriptures.
Finally, we look for ways that we can learn from this pattern. We look for ways to apply what we have uncovered.
Pattern Study over the Kingdom of God
One complicated aspect of Jesusí teaching centers around the Kingdom of God. What exactly is the Kingdom of God? How do we enter into it? We can learn a great deal by looking for patterns that deal with the Kingdom.
This study may prove to be a little more difficult than the others, but it can be very rewarding.
Use a topical study Bible to look for the Kingdom of God. We are going to focus on the book of Luke.
Read several passages before you begin to list the patterns that you see. Remember, we are looking for truths that repeat themselves. As you continue reading more and more passages, refine your list.
Also, your list may be more than simple statements. You may need to explain them because all patterns cannot always be stated in a simple sentence.
Have fun. I am looking forward to learning what the Lord reveals through this study.