Book Study on Ruth
Each student will write a book study, on Ruth, The paper should have the following five parts of about equal length.*There should be no research or extra helps in this book study whatsoever. Do not use a study Bible or commentary or Bible dictionary. Do no research at all outside of reading this Scripture carefully and repeatedly. (Re-reading will be the key to your success, and reading different translations may help.) What are you quite sure about, and about what are you uncertain? Always indicate what it was in the Scripture that led you to your conclusion.
1. Deductions about audience and setting. Describe whatever you can learn about the audience and setting of the book (writer and audience) just from reading and re-reading Ruth carefully. When was it written? What did the audience know and not know? What kind of relationship exists between the writer and the audience? In what kind of situation does the audience find itself? (Do not make an outline from these questions – they merely illustrate the kind of questions you should ask.) For example, the first line of Ruth says that the story happened in the days of the judges. From this you know that the writer and his or her audience do not live in the days of the judges, rather sometime after, but both writer and audience know about those days. Read through the whole book looking for clues like that, and summarize your findings in this section.
2. Deductions about God. If this book was your only source of information about God, what would you know? Don’t look for things you want to find. Rather, pretend you knew NOTHING before you read this book, and now you know only what you learned from this book.
3. Deductions about purpose. Based on your reading, why was this bookwritten? Assume that the writer wants to correct his/her audience, or scold, or help, or encourage, or comfort, or speak for God in some way. What does the writer want to accomplish? In different words, what response does the writer hope for in the audience? Always indicate what it was in the text that led you to these conclusions.
4. Outline. Provide an outline of the book. Do not simply use the headings supplied in English translations, but write your own outline with headings. For each heading, write a brief description, in sentence form, of what that section is about. Together, the outline and descriptions should clearly convey the overall structure, progression, and contents of the book.
5. Word to your church. Based on parts 1-4, what would the message be to your church? Assuming that God was speaking to your faith community by this writing, what do you think he would be saying? If you were the one to present this to the church, what would you say?
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