Growing our Bible Study Skills

Eric Russ

Bible studies and small groups are extremely valuable. However, the reality is that you can be in bible study for many years and never learn how to study the Bible.

Below is a quick guide that you can use in order to make sure people are building their skills in understanding and protecting the integrity of the scriptures. I would encourage you to implement a portion of the content periodically during your small group times. it seems most prudent to build a culture where people get a balance of doing bible study and learning how to study the bible.

Here are a few skills to help study the Bible:

Observe
1.  Whatever you decide to read, read the whole book before studying i.e. Galatians, Romans etc.

2.  Read an overview of the book. Use a New Bible Dictionary, OT/NT Survey Book or another extra-biblical resource. Use these resources to gain introductory information about:
        The author
        The audience
        The genre/form
        The historical context
        The biblical context
        The outline

3.  Read the book as a whole and then section by section (This happens interchangeably), taking notes section by section (based on chapters or even outline sections if possible).

  • Write down what the author is communicating, making a list of their sub-points and then forming main points.
  • Note repeated phrases or words.
  • Note your questions:  Are there words I should learn more about?  Is there historical context that would help me understand this better? What seems weird or contradictory or just doesn’t make sense?
  • Research your questions on your own, asking for help if needed.

Interpret
1.    What do I learn about God and His character?
2.    What do I learn about His people/His mission?
3.    What do I learn about me?

Apply
How does this affect my life and what are two practical ways I can live this truth out and respond in faith?  Write these down.

General Notes:
1.    Try to always understand and learn the story of God.
2.    Being a good Bible student requires great character…..patience, diligence, hard work, listening to the text, etc.
3.    Look in and out, in and out (go back and forth between looking at the bigger context of the writing, and also the details of the writing itself…not neglecting one or the other).
4.    Most Important: You simply have to put in the hard work of study, study, study.


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