Principle for Bible Reading
This three-part series of labs takes on anxiety by studying Matthew 6:24–34. If the Bible is going to effectively speak to our anxious hearts, we need to learn how to read it well. In this lab, John Piper lays out the arguments and gives three short lessons for our daily Bible reading.
Two Assumptions for Reading:
- Every passage has a main point.
- Every passage uses arguments to support its main point in various ways.
What Is the Main Point? (01:25–06:32)
Main Point: “Do not be anxious.” (Matthew 6:25, 27, 28, 31, 34)
- “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). We know this is an argument because the next verse begins with the word “Therefore.”
- “Is not life more than food?” (Matthew 6:25)
- “Look at the birds of the air . . .” (Matthew 6:26)
- “Which of you can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)
- “Consider the lilies of the field . . .” (Matthew 6:28–30)
- “The Gentiles seek after these things.” (Matthew 6:32)
- “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:32)
- “All these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
- “Tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34)
Lessons for Bible Reading (06:32–09:16)
- The Bible argues. It gives reasons for things. Its thoughts are linked together.
- A unit of thought (or passage) has a main point. Everything else in that unit supports the main point in some way.
- To truly understand a passage we must figure out how the arguments support the main point.
- Read Matthew 6:24–34. What do you think is the main point of these eleven verses?
- Read Matthew 6:24–34 again. How many different arguments do you see that support your main point?
- Restate each of the arguments you identified from the previous question in your own words.
God Doesn’t Want You to Worry (article)
Anxiety: Sin, Disorder, or Both? (interview)
Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life (sermon on Matthew 6:24–34)
Piper: “Jesus gives us help to overcome our anxiety, but we need to learn how to read our Bibles to receive it.”