Step 3

make believe

In “Sum­ma­rize”, we learned how to cre­ate sum­maries which are ba­si­cal­ly crude, zoomed-out maps of the larg­er sto­ry. In Step Four, “Make-Be­lieve”, we are go­ing to en­gage our imag­i­na­tions to fill that map with gran­u­lar de­tails. The goal of “Make-Be­lieve” is two-fold:

  1. To help you iden­ti­fy and pay at­ten­tion to the de­tails in the pas­sage you have been read­ing.
  2. To en­gage your mind and your imag­i­na­tion when read­ing The Bible. (This can be real­ly help­ful es­pe­cial­ly when lead­ing your fam­i­ly or small group.)

Sil­ly as it may sound, when read­ing The Bible, it is im­por­tant that you make-be­lieve and pre­tend by us­ing your imag­i­na­tion. By us­ing your imag­i­na­tion when read­ing The Bible, you are obey­ing God’s Com­mand­ment to love Him with all your mind. How­ev­er, if you do not pre­tend in this holy way, your knowl­edge of Christ will be lim­it­ed and, as Pe­ter im­plies in 2 Pe­ter 1:3, you will be spir­i­tu­al­ly crip­pled and un­able to glo­ri­fy Him with all He Has Giv­en you. And be­sides, when you read The Bible, you will in­evitably imag­ine some­thing. Why not use your imag­i­na­tion to glo­ri­fy The Sto­ry­teller and hon­or The Sto­ry in­stead of dream­ing about the bas­ket­ball game?

But be­fore you go off imag­in­ing or act­ing, you first have to iden­ti­fy the char­ac­ters in the pas­sage you are read­ing. For the sake of prac­tice, turn to Matthew 7:24-29 and read it at least once. Write a sum­ma­ry of what you’ve read per our in­struc­tions in the pre­vi­ous step. Now, look through Matthew 7:24-29 and make a list of the peo­ple, places, things or ideas present with­in the pas­sage. Your list may look some­thing like this:

Peo­ple: Je­sus, the one who hears and obeys, the wise man, the fool­ish man, the one who hears and dis­obeys, the peo­ple in the crowd, the scribesPlaces: the house on the rock, the house on sand, the moun­tain where Christ spoke to the peo­ple.Things: the words of God, the house, the rock, the rain, the floods, the winds, the sand, the as­ton­ish­ment of the peo­ple, the au­thor­i­ty of ChristIdeas: hear­ing, do­ing, build­ing, the in­evitabil­i­ty of tribu­la­tion and storms, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the foun­da­tion and the house, with­stand­ing the storm vs the great fall, au­thor­i­ty

Have the fire­works be­gan yet? Have you be­gun to see things in the pas­sage that you didn’t no­tice be­fore? I pray this is so.

Make Be­lieve

Let us con­tin­ue to make-be­lieve by us­ing our imag­i­na­tion to en­ter the pas­sage. Choose one char­ac­ter from the list of peo­ple, places, things and ideas you just made made. You can de­cide to be the wise man or a scribe or even the flood. Now that you’ve cho­sen your char­ac­ter, set the scene. In your mind’s eye, try to see the crowd, the motes of dust in the moun­tain air or the mist of the rain. En­gage your ears to hear the crack­ling light­ning of the com­ing storm, or the whis­pers of awe among the peo­ple. Use your heart to feel the awe and won­der of His Word. En­gage your hands to feel the hard­ness of the rock, the grit­ti­ness of the sand and the ache in your arms as you build your house.

With the scene now clear in your mind, you have to get into char­ac­ter. This is best done by ask­ing ques­tions to help ful­ly en­gage your mind and heart. For ex­am­ple, let’s say you chose to be a scribe. Ask your­self ques­tions like these:

  1. Are you hap­py, sad, en­vi­ous or con­vict­ed when you watch Je­sus Christ teach­ing the peo­ple?
  2. Are you still an­gry be­cause He Point­ed out your sin in Matthew 6?
  3. Do you feel di­min­ished be­cause you are hear­ing the peo­ple com­pare you to Je­sus?

Or let’s say you’re pre­tend­ing to be a rock. Ask your­self these ques­tions:

  1. How does it feel to be a rock? Are you soft like mud, hard like gran­ite or do you crum­ble like sand­stone?
  2. What makes you dif­fer­ent from sand?
  3. Rocks are a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent el­e­ments. Since you are the rock upon which a wise man builds his house, what are you made of?
  4. How does it feel when the wise man builds his house upon you?
  5. As a rock, how does it feel when the storms hit you?

With a clear scene and a clear char­ac­ter, you are fi­nal­ly ready. If you’re read­ing The Bible by your­self, you will have to imag­ine your­self as this char­ac­ter. If you’re in your fam­i­ly or church group, each one of you will act out their char­ac­ter!! As we said ear­li­er, the goal of this imag­in­ing and act­ing is to get into the pas­sage. Just re­mem­ber to hon­or The Sto­ry­teller and His Sto­ry in your imag­i­na­tions. Ig­nore any thought or ac­tion that is not sup­port­ed by God Almighty in His Holy Word.

We have giv­en in­struc­tion about many things but there are real­ly only two things you need for ef­fec­tive make-be­lieve as you read The Bible:

  1. Make a list of the peo­ple, places, things and ideas in the pas­sage that you read.
  2. Pre­tend to be some­one or some­thing on the list you just made.

Feel free to prac­tice with Matthew 7:24-29, The Book of Proverbs or any of The Para­bles of Je­sus Christ. As you do this, you will dis­cov­er many valu­able in­sights. But most of all, God’s Word will be­come your world.

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“… for from the first day that you set your heart to under­stand and hum­bled your­self before your God, your words have been heard …”
- Daniel 10:12

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.