A Guide to Interpreting Bible Lists


Most people use lists. We use them to aid us in grocery shopping, to accomplish our daily tasks, and to work on projects. David Letterman made a name for himself on late night television by including a ten point list during each of his shows.

The Bible also uses lists to recount details, to catalogue bits of information, and to instruct us. Particularly with the instruction type of lists in the Bible, we discover a literary device that is often employed. By understanding this device, our learning and application of listed instructions will certainly be enhanced.

God Heard in the Still Small Voice

When we speak of a person being converted to faith in Christ Jesus or when we speak of a prodigal coming to his senses and returning to the Father, we must understand that it is God at work in converting and restoring the wayward person. God typically does this work by speaking through his word. This is the reason that preaching and teaching the Bible is a necessary activity.

Yet we must also understand that the unconverted person or the wayward person lacks the ability to hear the word of God in the depths of his soul. It matters not how loudly the preacher preaches. Conversion and restoration are dependent upon God opening the eyes, unstopping the ears, and quickening the heart.

payson works

Flee & Pursue

2 Timothy 2 22

Nearing the end of his life, Paul wrote young Timothy. Part of his instructions concerned Timothy’s sanctification or being a vessel for honorable use (2 Timothy 2:21). This sanctification would be realized by two contrasting movements. These movements move the believer away from a prodigal path and turn him down the pilgrim road.

Prayer & Revival


Times have changed. Some churches still have revival meetings, but most have only memories of revival meetings. Many of the meetings of which I was around demanded time consuming preparations. A special “evangelist” or preacher was scheduled. “Special” musicians were coordinated. Posters were printed. Pizza parties were planned for the youth. And on and on we could go.