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Questions to Find the Main Idea of the Text (MIT)
- What was the main point then? (Idea)
- What was the biblical author talking about? (Theme)
- What was the biblical author saying about what he was talking about? (Complement)
Discover & Define the MIT
- Define the main idea precisely in your own mind.
- Strive to reflect what the biblical writer is saying.
- Give the main idea an accurate description so that the same words can be used in your teaching.
- Carefully locate the theological themes of the text.
- Consider the plain obvious meaning of the text for indications of the main idea.
- Look for pivotal verses in the text which may contain the main theme.
Practical Steps to Consider for the MIT
- Give a tentative title to the text. This could well be the "theme" of the MIT.
- If possible, write a personal translation or paraphrase of the text reflecting the flow of the argument in the text.
- Write out the main idea of the text. Put the theme and complement in full-sentence form. The full statement does not need to be long, but make it adequate.
- Write one sentence that is the main idea of the text.
- This sentence should be made up of two components: the theme and the complement.
- State the MIT sentence in the past tense.
- e.g. Hebrews 12:1-3. the author compared growth in the Christian life to a long distance race that focuses on successful endurance.
- It should always be in the form of a full grammatical sentence, stated clearly and concisely.
- The MIT should precisely reflect your particular text and it should cover the assertions of the text.
- Finding, and clearly stating the MIT will:
- Help you avoid the often-heard criticism that expository sermons/teaching lack structure.
- Give you a better understanding of the truths you will share with your people.
- Assist those hearing you to understand your teaching.