Different Bible Study Methods: When it comes to studying the Bible, there are two Bible study methods that we need to consider. The first Bible study method is a very simple approach to understanding and applying the Bible to our lives. The second Bible study method is a more intense approach.
The first Bible study method involves:
Bible study begins when we read the Bible.
This study method is not about browsing. It is about a conscious and concentrated effort. This will mean we will need to read portions of Scripture several time. The more we read, the more we understand.
This involves writing notes.
Writing notes are very helpful. It helps us comprehend and understand the Scripture. It is amazing what we discover when we write things down.
This is where we take time to ponder the significance of what we read and noted.
This is where we can ask questions like: what is going on in this passage of Scripture? What is it telling me about God and about myself? What do I need to do in relation to the reading?
The second Bible study method is more intense and it involves:
Observation – What does the passage say?
When we investigate what we see in the passage of Scripture, we will begin to understand what the passage is about. So what are we looking for when we read and investigate a passage?
1. We are looking for key words and phrases
These key words and phrases are usually obvious when we read a passage of Scripture. We should mark them with a pencil or write them down on a notebook.
2. We are looking for structure
There are two structures we are looking for. First there is grammatical structure. We communicate through words and phrases in sentences. The sentence is the basic building block of language. When we read the Bible, we need to read it with grammar in mind. What is the subject of the sentence? What is the object? What is the verb or action word?
Second, there is literary structure. Literary structure helps us understand the context of the passage. Is the passage answering a question that has been previously asked? Is it a story with a climax and resolution? Is it comparing or contrasting ideas or events? Is it presenting an idea or event followed by an interpretation?
3. We are looking for literary form
This is referring to the genre of each book. Is it narrative? Is it poetic? Is it teaching? We must understand the genre of each book of the Bible.
4. We are looking for atmosphere
Atmosphere is about the setting and feelings within the passage. This is about putting ourselves in the author’s shoes. Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord.” Where was he when he said that? The answer to this question adds greater meaning to the passage and its application for us today.
Interpretation – What does the passage mean?
Observation leads to interpretation. Here we ask several questions: what does it mean? What was the author trying to convey to his original hearers? This is where we become detectives. We ask and answer questions of the passage.
When we ask questions, we must always consider the context – the immediate context and the broader context. We can answer most questions by reading the text within it context. Also we must consider the writer’s cultural context. If we are struggling to understand the context, consult a commentary of study Bible for help.
Application – What does this have to do with me?
Observation and interpretation leads to application. Application answers two questions: what does this have to say to me and what does this have to say to others? When we answer these two questions, we will need to look at how to put it into practice.
Ask said before, the second Bible study method is more intense than the first method but if we work with the first method, then we will work into the second method as our abilities expand.
Different Bible Study Methods Source Material
Living By the Book by Howard and William Hendricks
Understanding and Applying the Bible by Robertson McQuilkin
How To Study The Bible by Richard Mayhue
How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon D Fee and Douglas Stuart