Tag Archives: look at your fish

Bible Stuff: Look At Your Fish!


Today I am going to perform an exercise I learned from a class called Exegetical Studies. Exegesis is a fancy, scary word that means to find the meaning in a passage or portion of a text, especially the Bible.

The exercise does not in anyway full encompass the proper exegeting of scripture, but it is a good start. My professor, Pastor, and hero Dr. George W. Westlake introduced me to the concept he called “Look at Your Fish!” taken from a story by Samuel H. Scudder, and American entomologist who studied under zoologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz . In a nutshell Professor Agassiz forces his students to make observations about a fish in a jar, for days and days.

My Professor Westlake urged us to start our studies by making observations about the text itself. Not based on other supporting scripture. Not personal experience, but really digging in and writing out every single detail that the verse communicated with no outside influence.

It was the first step in a process that resulted in a greater understanding of how to study and pull the truest meaning from Biblical scripture. I hope you enjoy my little experiment and will give it a shot on one of your favorite verse… and just when you think you’re done… “Look at your fish!”

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
Psalm 33:4-5 NIV

Here we go:

  • The word is the Lord’s.
  • The Lord’s word is right.
  • It is also true.
  • The Lord’s word is not wrong. It is not a lie.
  • It’s not just right. It’s right and true.
  • The Lord is faithful.
  • The Lord does not stop what he is doing halfway.
  • Everything the Lord is doing is dependable.
  • The Lord does a lot of things. All done faithfully.
  • The word of the Lord is dependable because He is dependable.
  • His word is supported by his actions.
  • The rightness and trueness of his word is due to the faithfulness in all he does.
  • If he were not faithful, his word would be wrong and a lie.
  • The Lord loves righteousness.
  • He loves rightness.
  • He loves justice.
  • He loves just-ness.
  • He does not love wrongness.
  • He loves them together.
  • The earth is full of his unfailing love.
  • His love does not fail.
  • The Lord does things. He is active.
  • He Lord’s love fills the earth. Fills is the verb.
  • His love fills. An action. Therefore a faithful action since he is faithful in all he does.
  • The love of the lord is unfailing // faithful.
  • The opposite of faithful would be failure here.
  • The word of the Lord is right and true – as is apparent from his faithfulness
  • He loves rightness and just-ness – as is apparent from an earth full of unfailing love.
  • His faithful actions prove his word is right and true.
  • His unfailing love proves he loves rightness and just-ness.

Now try it with your favorite verse or better yet a verse you are unfamiliar with. Pull as many truths from the text as possible. See what “Looking at the Fish” can do for your bible study.

Read the next entry in this series on studying the Bible: A Text Without A Context is a Pretext