Better Bible Study Tip #14: Pay Attention to the Details

Sometimes the Bible doesn’t give us many details. Think about Melchizedek. We know almost nothing about the guy. We don’t know anything about his family. We don’t know how he became a priest of the Most High. We don’t know hardly anything about his reign as king. Very often, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we want to know. But when the Bible does give details, pay close attention.

The fact that Melchizedek’s genealogy isn’t mentioned might at first seem quite insignificant. But that tiny detail was very significant to the author of Hebrews (Heb. 7:3).

There’s other times when tiny details in the text actually end up being very significant. When Jesus confronted the Sadducees about the resurrection (Mt. 22:32), He based His argument on something as simple as a verb tense. In Exodus 3:6, the LORD says “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” He didn’t say “I was the God of Abraham…”. The fact that God spoke in present tense implies that He is still Abraham’s God, even though Abraham is dead, which implies that there will be a resurrection of the dead. It’s a tiny detail, with huge implications.

In Matthew 22:44-45, Jesus bases an argument over something as seemingly insignificant as David addressing Psalm 110 to his “lord”. It’s a tiny detail, with huge implications.

In Galatians 3:16, Paul develops an argument based on the fact that God made a promise to Abraham’s “offspring”, rather than to Abraham’s “offsprings.” It’s a tiny detail, with huge implications.

Yes, it is critically important to understand the gist of what is being said in Scripture. But it’s not just the main idea that matters. When God spoke through prophets, He put specific words in their mouths (Jer. 1:8, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”).

In 2 Timothy 3:16 it says that all Scripture is “breathed out by God”. Notice it doesn’t say that God simply breathed into already existing words. He breathed out the words themselves. Although the process of inspiration was very earthly, using human writers, who wrote to human audiences, in response to very earthly situations, the end result is the same. All Scripture came into existence as human authors were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).

Every word of Scripture was breathed out by God. When the Bible includes details, pay attention. Tiny details can have huge implications.