Dig & Discover Principles: A Summary Overview

Joe Swords

Content Manager for Communications and Development,
October 24, 2023

We believe that when God’s living Word is faithfully understood and proclaimed, it transforms lives as it spreads across cultures and nations. We envision the Word of God flowing powerfully through every church to every nation. To this end, we strive to see leaders in local churches trained to engage with God’s Word through expositional workshops.

The following “Dig & Discover” Principles form the tools we use in our workshops as we explore the depths of God’s Word. They are designed to help us understand the living Word of God and experience his transformative power. These principles also aid us in communicating the meaning and transformational intent of God’s Word to others.

The Dig & Discover Principles

The Line:* The line represents God’s Word. The preacher or teacher’s task is to stay on the line. We should not go above it, saying more than what God says, nor should we go below it, saying less than what God says. We are to stay on the line by conveying exactly what God says.
Good Questions: A good question leads us down the author’s path of meaning and helps us discover his intent. Here, we ask basic questions about information and ideas (Who? What? When? Where?) and powerful questions about reasoning and intent (How? Why?).
Genre: In literature, genre refers to a specific kind, or type, of writing. Identifying the genre a biblical writer uses leads to a natural and accurate understanding of the author’s message, purpose, and tone. Scripture includes various genres, such as historical narrative, law, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, gospel, parable, epistle, and apocalyptic.
Structure: Structure refers to units of thought arranged in a specific way to accomplish the author’s purpose. Knowing the genre helps us identify the structure, and the structure helps us dissect the parts of a book within the whole.
Traveling Instructions:* This principle relates to the relationship between context and application. Before applying the text, we must carefully observe it in its context. This helps us discover the author’s main idea and transformational intent. Then we can make precise and compelling applications that align with the author’s intent. In other words, we travel from the text to the original context then to our context today.
Main Idea & Transformational Intent: God has a purpose in every book and passage of the Bible. The teacher’s task is to proclaim God’s message and instruct people according to God’s purpose. This principle emphasizes the alignment of the author’s message in the text (the line) and the teacher’s message. Both aim at transforming the hearts of the listeners. In other words, the line of the text is at the core of the message being taught.
Biblical Theology: Biblical theology sees the Bible as one story that finds its focus and fulfillment in Jesus. This approach to reading the Bible is true to its nature and to God’s purpose. We can think of the Bible as a map where all roads in the Old Testament lead to Christ. The main highways are passages from which a direct connection to Christ can be clearly seen. Passages that do not have a direct connection are all the smaller roads, side streets, and alleys that connect to the main highways. Biblical theology helps us navigate those connections as we move toward Christ.
Text & Framework: The text is a passage from the Bible, and the framework represents our understanding of the way things are and how they work. Frameworks influence how we read the Bible, so we must allow the text to challenge and shape our frameworks. Then, in our teaching, we apply the text to the frameworks of our audience. The text is always king.

We hope that this summary overview gives you a glimpse of the tools pastors and ministry leaders are equipped to use during our workshops. If you would like to learn more about these principles and their application, please contact us for additional information.


* Based on original material from The Proclamation Trust with kind permission.

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