The following questions
are intended to increase our awareness of the depth of Godís word as He
speaks to us. Use them as guides to increase your Bible study potential.
As you read through the Bible text, your questions may not be the same as
the ones suggested here. Tools for this study will include any
comprehensive Bible concordance (Strongís, Youngís, Crudenís, etc.),
and/or theological word books and Bible dictionaries
(Brown/Driver/Briggs/Gesenius; Harris/Archer; etc.), and Bible
commentaries that give definitions of original language words.
The fundamental issue of how
we study the Bible gives rise to varying interpretations of what the Bible
means, which leads to varying positions on such things as abortion, womenís
ordination, homosexuality, polygamy, divorce, war, racism, cultural mores,
etc. All Bible study should be approached by searching for what the verse
Ė in context Ė is saying. The technical term for this method of study
is called "exegesis." The converse of this method is called
"eisegesis," which is reading into the verse oneís own
opinions, interpretations, ideas, and assumptions.
As you study the Bible
watch for repeated words or phrases, subtle meanings (irony), and Godís
personal intervention in peopleís lives. Keep in mind the four concepts
God is trying to teach His people : (1) knowledge of God; (2) the meaning
of community / relationship / fellowship; (3) blessing; and (4) rest
(consider "blessing" and "rest" in their literal [now]
context and also their spiritual and eternal aspects).
In verse 1,
what does the word "knew" mean in the context in which it is
used here? Find other uses of the same Hebrew word and read them in
context (for example cf. Genesis
42:8). What does this word tell us
about Godís character, if anything? Is the meaning different from
what you have always believed it meant?
How can we
be sure there were no
children born to Adam and Eve before the Fall?
the name "Cain" mean? And what does "Abel" mean?
Do the meanings of the names give any insight into what the story is
about, or about the two menís characters?
comment ("now I have gotten a man") indicate that
Adam and Eve previously had female children but NOW
this one is a "man"?
and Abel twins? (cf. Genesis
25:21, 24-26; 38:18, 29,
30). What does
the word "bare" mean?
much difference in being a shepherd and being a crop farmer? Does the
choice of vocations tell us something about the personalities of Cain
and Abel? Find other persons in the Bible who had similar vocations
(crop farming and sheep herding). Does the "but" in verse 2
have any significance?
Jesus call Abel a prophet (Luke 11:50,
51)? What does the word
"prophet" mean? Does Abelís "status" as a
"prophet" lend any insights as to why Cain may have felt the
way he did toward his brother? (cf. Genesis 37:5-20).
Cain and Abel bring sacrifices to God? (cf. Numbers 18:12,
Leviticus 3:16, Revelation
13:8, and any other verses that apply).
Abelís sacrifice" more acceptable"? Was Cainís sacrifice
a "wrong" sacrifice? ("illegal" or offensive to
the word "respect" mean in verse 5 as God used it?
Able called "righteous" (Hebrews
11:4)? What did he do that
was so "good"?
verse 7, was Cainís sacrifice a sin or did it just open the door to
sin? Why or why not? (cf. Psalm
1 Samuel 15:23).
was God talking in the last sentence of verse
7? Cain or Satan? Think
about who wanted what, and about who would/should "rule"?
the word "wroth" mean in verses 5 and
6? What about
"countenance" and "fallen"? (cf. 1 Samuel
consider Cain a "pious" man? (remember he did bring a
sacrifice to God). Did his "religion" prevent him from being
depressed, jealous, murderous? Why not?
verses 10 and
11, what do you think Cain did with Abelís body?
God approach Cain asking where Abel was? (cf. Genesis
3:9). Does God
not know, or does God have another purpose in asking Cain about his
brother? (cf. 1 Samuel 15:12-25).
Cain say "my punishment is greater than I can bear"? What
does "punishment" mean in this context? Does Cainís
comment indicate a repentance or remorse for his sin?
contrast the "mark" placed on Cain with other
"marks" found in the Bible. What was Godís purpose in
putting this mark on Cain? Is the "mark" punitive,
destructive, or protective?
the "Land of Nod"? For an answer, look up the meaning of the
name "Nod," and cross reference your findings to verses 12
Cainís wife come from? (are you an evolutionist or creationist? do
you use the historical-critical method, the historical-grammatical
method, or the proof-text method of Bible study?).*
the founder of citiesódoes this give us any clues about how God
wants His people to live? Based on verses 12 and 14 and your
definition for question 18, was the building of a city contrary to Godís
will for Cain?
life of wandering bad for Cain? What was Godís purpose in
commanding a wandering lifestyle for Cain (punitive or
Cain have been safer if he had stayed as a wanderer?
urban life tend to limit our comprehension of God and His will for
us? why or why not?
urban living increase opportunities for evil? why or why not?
Bible dictionaries, define all the names found in this narrative. Do
the definitions give insight into the characters of the individual
What is the
meaning of the final phrase of the last verse in this chapter?
method = sees the Bible as a "casebook" to study to gain
insight for application of principles to our own lives. It approaches the
Bible as a dynamic (as opposed to "static" or fixed) literary
volume which guides us in knowing the "spirit" of what God wants
for His people, and which must be read in a changing format based on the
prevailing customs. It generally denies the full inspiration, reliability
and authority of the Bible as Godís word.
method = views the Bible as a
"codebook" to study to learn Godís literal intentions for His
people in all times and places. It approaches the Bible as a static,
literal (unchangeable) "letter" from God to His people which
reveals Godís will and unchangeable character. It accepts the Bible as
the fully inspired, reliable, and accurate word of God which has authority
for all people in all times and places.
method = generally uses an
isolated text for supporting oneís point, taking passages out of context
in order to apply them to the individualís preconceptions. This method
emphasizes the practical, devotional application of Scripture to the
readerís own personal needs. It is inadequate because it fails to take
into account the historical and literal context of each passage of
Scripture, thus engaging in a superficial interpretation which can lead to
misguided conclusions. Proof-texting can lead to
"spiritualizing" of Bible verses and assumptions of true meaning
due to the tendency of the individual reader to "add to" the
interpretation. (For example: read the following consecutively Ė Matthew
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