Bible study: Practising the 6 W’s

In my previous post, I shared the 6 questions to ask a passage or verse you’re studying. In this post, I’ll show you an example.

Luke 6:13-35  ‘On the road to Emmaus’

Wikipedia – Le Repas d’Emmaüs

1. Who?

This lists important characters in the passage:

Two disciples of Jesus. One is named Cleopas while the other is unknown. They are sad because Jesus died, thus ending their hopes of freedom from Roman rule.

Jesus. He was crucified, buried and risen from the dead. He is kept from being recognized. He has a new body that can walk through walls.

Other people are “the women and disciples” who appear at the end.

2. What?

We trace the flow of events. In a nutshell, Jesus meets these two depressed disciples going towards Emmaus and explains from the Scriptures that Jesus’s death was all part of the divine plan. They invite Him for dinner as it was getting late. Finally, Jesus breaks bread, reveals himself to them and disappears. The two disciples with hearts pounding rush back to Jerusalem to report to the rest that Jesus was alive.

3. Where?

The two men were leaving Jerusalem and heading towards Emmaus village, 7 miles away. You can check a Bible map for a probable location.

4. When?

“Now that same day” v13 indicates it is the same day that Jesus rose from the dead. Earlier in the day, women who visited Jesus’s tomb were met by angels who said that Jesus had risen. As the two disciples left for Emmaus, Jesus met them on the road and as it was late, they asked him to stay for dinner. Interestingly, after Jesus disappeared, they rushed back in the darkness to Jerusalem. They must have been so excited.

5. Why?

Several questions I asked were:

  • Why did Jesus approach these two disciples first instead of the main disciples in Jerusalem?
  • Why were they kept from recognizing Him or understanding Scripture?
  • Why did Jesus pretend to go further? Where was He headed?
  • Why were they going to Emmaus and later rush back to Jerusalem?
  • Why did Jesus explain the Scriptures so thoroughly to these two men instead of the Pharisees or his own 11 disciples?

I’m sure there are many more questions you could think of. I believe asking the right questions would give you the right answers. From these questions we can start to tackle the ‘So What’ step?

6. So What?

  • Why did Jesus approach these two disciples first instead of the main group in Jerusalem?

These two disciples were virtual unknowns. I think this shows that Jesus knows and cares for everyone, even if you think you’re small and insignificant. He knows your feelings, in this case, they were depressed and Jesus reached out to them quickly with hope.

  • Why were they kept from recognizing Him or understanding Scripture?

I believe there are two kinds of blindness in this passage – Physical and Spiritual. They saw Jesus but didn’t really see Him. They saw the Scriptures but didn’t see Jesus written in it. We are much like those disciples. Without Jesus opening our eyes to see, we cannot understand the Bible and fathom what it means. May He open the eyes of our hearts.

  • Why did Jesus pretend to go further? Where was He headed?

Jesus doesn’t force His will on us and lets us choose whether to invite Him into our lives. He’s a gentle and humble Saviour. If we won’t let Him, He’ll move along. Think about it: If they didn’t invite Him for dinner, they would not have realized it was Jesus.

  • Why were they going to Emmaus?

I think after hearing the news that Jesus’s body was gone, they gave up all hope and left Jerusalem. They expected something great to come out of Jesus’s life. Note that they referred to Jesus as “prophet” instead of Messiah. They were totally depressed at that point. But Jesus came alongside them on the road to encourage them. Isn’t that wonderful? Jesus comes alongside us when we’re down and picks us up. Have you left “Jerusalem” and gone somewhere else due to hardship or discouragement? Jesus is coming to bring things back to perspective for you. He wants you back there. God can use a weak Christian but not a discouraged one.

  • Why did Jesus explain the Scriptures so thoroughly to these two men instead of the Pharisees or His own 11 disciples?

This is without a doubt the greatest Bible study ever. Done by Jesus himself! The Scriptures burned in their hearts as they soaked in every word. They finally understood it. It made sense. And we need Jesus too as we study the Bible. As the Holy Spirit teaches you, I pray that a flame is kindled within your heart and like the disciples, rush out to share the good news with those who desperately need it.

 

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