Paper Over Board
Asking the Five W's and an H
Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How are the "Five W's and an H." These six interrogative words are considered fundamental in journalism, police investigations, and research. The belief is that if you can answer these six questions with facts, you'll have the full story in a nutshell.
This is especially important in writing newspaper articles, when journalists are limited in both time and space. (Sounds like a busy mom's plight to me.) Police investigators must be able to assess a crime scene quickly in order to cut to the chase and solve the case. (Ever feel like that, Mom?) Researchers need a simple grid along which to distill tons of information into practical help. (Mom again!)
These Five W's and an H are about to become your best Bible-study friends. By reading a passage of Scripture and answering these six teeny-tiny, one-word questions, you can glean loads of practical help, uncover beaucoup clues, and digest hours' worth of information in a matter of minutes. Here's how it works.
First, read a short passage or verse of Scripture.
Now, go back and ask yourself any or all of the famous W and H questions. Eventually you'll come up with your own specific five W's and an H questions, but these will get you started.
Who - Who is the main character? Who are the secondary characters? To whom is the main character talking? Referring?
What - What is the plot of this passage? What is happening? Is it a specific event?
When - When does the event or discourse in this passage occur (in history, in time, in chronology, in the character's life)? Don't rule out abstract time, such as "When the character realized he needed answers."
Where - Where did (or does or will) this event occur? Think about the setting, both broad and specific.
Why - Why is this happening? Why is this being said? Why did God include this passage in the Bible?
How - How did (or does or will) this happen? How did (or does or will) it affect the characters? Your life?
Who -- Jesus, the central figure, was met by ten leprous men as He passed through their area. Only one of the lepers, a Samaritan, proved to have a grateful heart.
What -- The lepers, seeing Jesus, raised their voices and cried to Him for mercy. Jesus sent them to the local priest, who, according to Mosaic Law, could pronounce them whole. En route, their leprosy disappeared completely. They were healed before arriving at the priest's home. One of the men, the Samaritan, turned back and caught up with Jesus to give thanks.
When -- This happened as Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.
Where -- The event took place on the border between Samaria and Galilee, at the outskirts of a village.
Why -- It's not hard to imagine why the lepers wanted healing, but why did Jesus heal them? The key word is mercy. They cried, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." And the one leper who returned was motivated by gratitude. What a powerful attitude for me to take into the day -- intense gratitude for God's immense mercy.
How -- How did Jesus heal? With His powerful spoken word. How did the leper express His gratitude? He fell on his face at Jesus's feet, giving thanks to Him. The other nine lepers undoubtedly were excited about their restored health, but they didn't bother to express thanksgiving. How easy to take God's blessings for granted!
The Busy Mom's Guide to Bible Study © 2007 by Lisa Whelchel