Simeon Trust Workshop
Several from Milwood went to the first Simeon Trust Workshop in Austin. Simeon Trust is a Bible study ministry. Their vision is "to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world by training the next generation of Bible expositors."
Several pastors from around Texas came to help lead the workshop which has three parts:
Instruction. Pastors give instruction on discovering the structure of the text, establishing emphasis and theme, and then applying the text.
Small Groups. In the small groups of 8, participants in the workshop present their study on a two text and receive feedback on their practice.
Exposition. The leading pastors also preach during the workshop giving example of how to turn the study in into an expositional message.
Our time often feels taken from us because we are so busy. That often means that the time we devote to God's word get squeezed. One of the main things Simeon wants to press is time spent in God's word. Read your text several times. Spend time thinking about your text. Spend time looking for structure cues or key words. I was reminded of the sweet fruit that is grown from time spent in God's word.
In the hustle and bustle of ministry life, it’s easy to sit down with a passage of Scripture and only look at the 4 or 5 verses I am assigned to teach. What was really valuable in our time together at the workshop was looking at context. A passage of Scripture can be mean something completely different or have a completely different tone when we divorce it from it’s context. Looking at where the passage fits in light of the whole book, as well as any Old Testament references it may have, was fascinating to see. It enriches our understanding of the text as we see the author’s true intention. And as we see the proper intention, God does His work of letting the Word bear on our souls and change us.
The three days spent at the Simeon Trust Workshop were priceless. To see that there were such graspable and understandable methods to approach Scripture blew my mind. I’ve learned important truths about expository teaching and the injustice we do to the weight and intent of Scripture when we add or subtract from what God is saying, put our own framework into the text/teaching, we disregard the context, we overlook the melodic path of the book/letter, or forget to point back to Christ and the Gospel. Basic and understandable to any, yet profound and filled with depth.I was immensely thankful for the time spent in our small groups to discuss these methods in practice with our assigned presentation of certain passages. Their encouragements and constructive criticism was so helpful. I would strongly encourage any pastor, teacher, layperson or anyone starting in ministry to sign up for one of their workshops.
The aim of Simeon Trust event was to make sure that pastors/teachers handle the Bible accurately. All of our “homework” aka “Wordwork” was assigned from 2 Timothy. The workshop emphasized tools of Bible study such as:
- Neither adding nor subtracting from the text
- Discovering the immediate, nearby and overall context of a passage
- Letting the Bible shape our view instead of our Theological views shaping the Bible
- Seeing the structure of a text and the emphasis revealed within
- Teaching true Scriptural connections through the cross and to the gospel
- Understanding Bible books as a whole
My “Wordwork” assignments were a joy as much as they were a challenge. I spent much time studying the whole of 2 Timothy before preparing my 5-minute presentations on my assigned texts. Shortcuts on my end reflected in my presentations given in small group. I had a brother direct me to a clearer passage which gave me a proper understanding of an unclear text. The small group environment was a safe, loving and exhorting environment in which to learn. Times when I did not take a shortcut resulted in affirming words and assurance that the text had been handled well.
I bumped into many men who expressed difficulty finding enough time to give to proper “Wordwork”. We can pray for Milwood and other churches that this time be found.
There will likely be a workshop next year in the Austin area, so if you are interested, let us know. As you can see, it is a worthwhile and valuable endevour for any one in any stage of biblical knowledge.