Personal ministry is not just about gathering the necessary information, but about making biblical sense of it…people do not live life based on the facts of their experiences, but on their interpretation of those facts. [p185]
Why would God put the world’s most significant, demanding, and difficult human relationship (marriage) smack dab in the middle of the world’s most important process (sanctification)? [p185]
Biblical personal ministry thrives when good biblical exegesis of Scripture leads to an accurate exegesis of the person’s life…We cannot properly understand people without accurately exegeting Scripture, and we cannot properly apply Scripture without accurately exegeting people. [p186]
Knowing a person biblically [p188]
Situation – list was is/was going on.
Responses – list what the person do in response to what is going on.
Thoughts – list what the persons thinks about what is going on.
Motives – list was the person wants out of what is going on.
What about emotions? They are a significant aspect of all four categories of enquiry. The bible paints our emotions in all their varieties with a healthy degree of realism.
What to learn and put into practice.
I’m reading this chapter at the same time as preparing to speak at church on the life of Jonah and Tripp’s perspective on the unhurriedness of God in teaching us about ourselves is helpful. Jonah had a long ministry as a prophet of God. His running from the command of God, his first period of discipline on the boat, the 600 mile journey to Nineveh and his second period of discipline in the desert must have taken a while. As Christian marriages strain and creak, or Christian ministries rise and fall, or whatever the situation might be, God takes his time to expose the heart’s motives, thoughts and emotions of believers. As ministers of God’s word we must not be in a hurry to see instant solutions to people’s problems, even our own. The heart is also very complex and has many motives. Jonah was motivated by fear, the desire for comfort, his lack of love for the Ninevites, his lack of obedience to God’s will, his shame and so on. Tripp lists several motives in the heart of Sharon, the wife with marriage problems, and each needs to be addressed with the truths of the gospel. Life and individuals are complicated. The mixture of motives and thoughts in the lives of individuals does not get sorted in one go but over weeks, months even years of ministry.