Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

Bible Study – Part 2 – Paraphrasing


PSALM 36:7-12 (AMP) How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 
          They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of Your pleasures.
          For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light.
          O continue your loving kindness to those who know You, Your rightness (salvation) to the upright in heart.
          Let not the foot of pride overtake me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
          There the workers of iniquity fall and like prostrate; they are thrust down and shall not be able to rise.

One method of Bible study I have used often is just simple paraphrasing.  Writing is a good study tool no matter what the subject.  Writing Bible verses word for word can also help them penetrate your thoughts.  However, writing them in your own words causes you to think about what the words actually mean.  If forces you to look up words you don’t quite understand.  It provides insight into your own situation.  When I am paraphrasing, if I have thoughts that occur to me which are more an extension of the verse rather than part of the paraphrasing, I go ahead and include those.  I don’t censor what I am writing because often a nugget of truth will penetrate my consciousness, and I will realize that God has addressed something I have been questioning or praying about.

Writing a paraphrase is a good method to use on scriptures that at first seem cryptic.  I usually try to do this before I read other interpretations.  If I find my paraphrase is inaccurate, I can always go back and adjust it to my new understanding.  But even if I glean thoughts that are not directly related to the scripture at hand, if they are God’s truth (if they can be supported by other verses in Scripture), then they are just as valuable to me.  That was the case with the last two verses of this passage from Psalms.

God’s love is precious and constant.

His children can find refuge in His presence.  They can trust in His presence.

His children find that His house is a house of abundance.  They find great pleasure in and celebrate God’s abundant provision.

God provides His children refreshing drink from all that He has, sparing nothing, filling them to completeness.

His children acknowledge that God is the True Source of life and pleasure.  God’s light, wisdom, and truth allow His children to also perceive light, wisdom, and truth.

When God’s children feast at His table, His abundance fills more than their physical hunger.  His food gives everything needed to live a successful, fulfilled life that overflows with blessing.

Lord, please continue Your love and kindness to Your children—those those who truly know You and understand the abundance that is available at Your table.  Continue to provide Your righteousness to Your children (through Christ) so that we are fit to sit at Your table. (Only Your righteousness makes us fit for these benefits in the first place.)

Let us not be fooled by pride into thinking that we ourselves are responsible for any of this blessing.  Do not let evil thoughts of self-sufficiency drive us away or separate us from Your blessing and provision.

When we start thinking we can manage things on our own, we fall and fail miserably.  We fall so hard, we are not capable of getting ourselves up on our feet again.  (We can only stand when we are relying on You, Lord.)

I realize I have taken some liberties with the last two verses.  These verses more likely are David’s prayer to be protected from his enemies.  But when I was reading about God’s provision, it struck me how our own pride in thinking we can handle things ourselves is often the wicked or evil that makes us fall.  Proverbs 16:18 is very clear.  “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

I hope you find paraphrasing a valuable method of Bible study.  I look forward to sharing more on this topic.

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