Steps to Studying the Bible:
-Bible (a version not a paraphrase) with study notes and a good concordance
-If available, commentaries, on-line sources
Step #1 – Observation
-Read a passage of Scripture, starting with the passage from the sermon.
-What does the passage say? (try to forget all you have learned about this passage before and look for new things)
-Ask questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
-Look at the story or situation through the eyes of a different character in the story/passage
-Look at all the words. Make a note of ones you do not know, use a dictionary or Bible dictionary to look them up.
-Are there any words that could have more than one meaning?
-Repetition - are there any words, ideas or phrases that repeat? Repetition is God’s way of emphasizing things of great importance.
-Do the words “if”, “then” or “therefore” appear in the passage? What follows or comes before these words; what is being asked of you?
-Are there questions and answers in the passage?
Step #2 – Interpretation/Reflection
Read the passages around your passage. Do not take it out of context.
You can answer 75% of your questions about a passage when you read the text. Reading the text involves looking at the near context (the verse immediately before and after) as well as the far context (the paragraph or the chapter that precedes and/or follows the passage you’re studying).
Look to see if there are numbers or letters within your text (like footnotes). If so, either in the middle of the page, on the bottom of the page, or to the side there should be other scriptures (cross-references) to look up and/or notes. Read these.
The Bible was written long ago, so when we interpret it, we need to understand it from the writers’ context.
Having answered your questions for understanding by means of context, cross-reference, and culture, you can make a more educated statement about the passage’s meaning. Remember that if your passage consists of more than one paragraph, the author may be presenting more than one thought or idea. Write what you find/learn in your journal.
Reading books known as commentaries, which are written by Bible scholars, can help you interpret Scripture.
Step #3 – Application
-Application is why we study the Bible. We want our lives to change: we want to be obedient to God and to grow to be more like Jesus Christ. After we have observed a passage and interpreted or understood it to the best of our ability, we must then apply its truth to our own life.
-You will want to ask the following questions of every passage of Scripture you study and write down your answers in your journal:
=How does the truth revealed here speak to me?
=How does the truth revealed here affect/influence/impact my relationship with God?
=How does this truth affect/influence/impact my relationship with others?
=How am I going to apply this in my life starting today?
- “The application step is not completed by simply answering these questions; the key is putting into practice what God has taught you in your study. Although at any given moment you cannot be consciously applying everything you’re learning in Bible study, you can be consciously applying something. And when you work on applying a truth to your life, God will bless your efforts, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ.” Bible Study Tools
-A study Bible can be purchased at Walmart or Walmart.com starting at $17.39 and up.
-Available for purchase from CBD (Christian Book Distributors): Pocket size $1.99, Student $6.97 and New Bible Dictionary is $16.99. Examples of these will be in the church library. See Katya Rogers 509-4236, or your LifeGroup Facilitator to look at these resources or to order them.
-Note: if you do not have a study Bible, go online to Bible Gateway
and choose the ESV version, it has footnotes. Blue Letter Bible
also has access to different Bible versions, concordances & commentaries. NET Bible
is also another great website to study the Bible with.