Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thoughts on Hebrews Study Questions from 9/17

HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. Take time to reflect on them. I'll post thoughts from the class discussion on We


Chapter 6
Vv 1-12

What are some “things that accompany salvation?”

In addition to the photo
  • Live in expectation of the fulfillment of God's promises.
  • Reminder to those that are saved Jews (the Hebrews audience).
  • Not trying to condemn.
  • Jesus/Holy Spirit as our Guide.


What is v11 talking about?
 Salvation.
Assurance of hope.
Our full reward: Heaven

Who are some of those we are instructed not to imitate?
Pharisees.
Lazy people.
Slackers.
Those who lead others astray by "taking your eyes off your duty."
The self-absorbed.

Chapter 6
Vv 13-20

a) How did Abraham wait? b) For how long?
 a) Patiently, but not the whole time - Hagar and Ishmael. 
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. 
Gen 16:1-4 (See also through the end of Chapter 16)

But God blessed Abraham anyway.
b) 25 years.

What’s the difference between a promise and an oath?


God's Word is enough. He cannot lie. But, when God worked with humans, the oath was to show humans His intent. 
A promise might be changed.

V18. What are the two unchangeable things?
Promise and Oath of God. 
Hope.

Fled/Flee. Where? Why?
 Flee to God: refuge, comfort, salvation, protection.
Hebrews fled persecution among them.

Vv19-20. How is hope described here?
We are in the Holy of Holies because Jesus tore the veil.
This connects us with God Himself. 



We stopped here this week.

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Authors: ADverbs often SUBTRACT from your writing- numbers 11-14


Consider the following four sentences. Adverbs are highlighted in yellow.

11.     The prisoner’s hands were clamped tightly to the bars of his cell.
       12.    The bicyclist pedaled carefully across the slightly bumpy road.
       13.    The teacher looked sharply at her students.
       14.    He laughed cheerily and looked at his watch.
There are only four sentences in this group.
Nevertheless, thanks to sentence #12, I've cleverly managed to end up with 15 adverbs in total to critique in the three posts on this topic.

Sentences like those above are common in the works of novice writers. 

Unfortunately, they are common in the works of writers who edit less [vigorously] than they should.

Why is that? Does the sentence above need [vigorously] to convey the thought?

I do often insert adverbs—intentionally and unintentionally—in my first drafts. When I do my first edit, I re-write scenes where the only way a reader might know that something was said “excitedly” is through the use of that term. Your story should draw your readers into the minds and moods of your characters.

From time to time during the next two months, I’ll revisit this topic. More than one book I’ve been asked to review has been mired in the pit of excessive adverbs. I lost interest in the stories because there were

  • many times when I was told what I already knew or felt.
  • other times when the adverb didn’t match what I felt about that scene in the story.

The five sentences above are reprised below. Following each sentence is an explanation of why the highlighted adverb isn’t needed. I've added a feature to these four: a Possible rewrite. 

Enjoy.

The prisoner’s hands were clamped tightly to the bars of his cell.
By definition, clamp--hold (something) tightly against or in another thing (Google)--is to apply pressure on something to hold it in place. Hold it tight. Clamping tightly is like swimming wetly. It's hard to know how to rewrite this quote without knowing the setting. Did the prisoner just learn of his/her execution date? Was the inmate in the next cell part of the reason this prisoner was incarcerated? 

Possible rewrite: The prisoner's hands gripped the bars with such force that the guard was certain the inmate's fingerprints were imprinted in the metal.

The bicyclist pedaled carefully across the slightly bumpy road.
Double whammy here--two adverbs in the same sentence. I've had some trauma on bicycles. Once the front wheel came off and I was launched over the handle bars as the front fork stabbed the ground. I do know that pedaling is an up-and-down motion. A rider might need to be careful about getting trousers caught in the chain while pedaling. 
Is slightly bumpy more or less bumpy than rough? or uneven? Is it more bumpy than rutted

Possible rewriteThe bicyclist jerked the handlebars first left, then right to avoid potholes and rocks as he pedaled across the empty field.

The teacher looked sharply at her students
I taught high school for 31 years and university classes for 13 more. I've looked at students in many ways. I've spoken sharply. I've looked "sharp"--as in dress--on occasion. 
I don't recall daggers or arrows shooting from my eyes at any time.

Possible rewrite: Tired of all the time wasting by her class, the teacher gave each of the biggest offenders her best "teacher look."

He laughed cheerily and looked at his watch.
It was not my intention to end this series with this example. It is, however, a good one to close the adverb loop. Of all the adverbs criticized in this series, this case is the easiest to justify leaving in the sentence. Maybe.
Cynical laughter and hollow laughter are never cheerful. I contend that if the reader doesn't know that the laughing character is cheery, the author needs to re-write the scene. 

Possible rewriteWhen his dinner partner finished telling her joke, he laughed before looking at his watch. 


Give yourself a shot at rewriting one or more of these. 
  • First, think of the situation.
  • Then write without an adverb. 


Remember:
If your stories don’t draw your readers in, adding adverbs subtracts from even more from those stories.


Next Author’s Blog: R


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Monday, September 18, 2017

Hebrews Study Questions from 9/17

HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. Take time to reflect on them. I'll post thoughts from the class discussion on Wednesday.


Chapter 6
Vv 1-12

What are some “things that accompany salvation?”
What is v11 talking about?
Who are some of those we are instructed not to imitate?
Chapter 6
Vv 13-20

How did Abraham wait? For how long?
What’s the difference between a promise and an oath?
V18. What are the two unchangeable things?
Fled/Flee. Where? Why?

Vv19-20. How is hope described here.
We Got This Far This Week

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 
Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!

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