Today I am sharing a quick overview of how I approach Bible study, the first in a series of My Fave Fives. Keep in mind I’m not a theologian. I am simply seeking to know God more richly through deeper study of His Word. I have been greatly influenced by teachings from Dr. Howard G. Hendricks (Dallas Theological Seminary), as well as methods used in Bible Study Fellowship.
NOTE: This is the first in a series of blog posts of my favorite tools for Bible Study. Join me weekly as I discuss more resources in this series.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
My Fave Five
1. Conversation with God through Prayer
Always begin with prayer. Thank God for providing His Word. Thank Him for your ability to freely access and study His Word. Then ask God to show you His truth alone. Ask Him for wisdom and discernment. Thank Him for His promises and for always hearing our prayers.
2. Content – The Scripture
Scripture itself is the only standard of measure and truth by which we live. Begin by reading, and re-reading the key passage your are studying to understand the facts along with how it applies personally.
Compare English Translations. Since biblical manuscripts were not originally written in English, the words and phrases used in the original languages hold more complex meanings than can be translated using our English vocabulary. So find a familiar translation to begin your study. Then read the passage in different translations to compare how specific words and phrases can be understood within the constraints of our modern language. You may also want to utilize interlinear search tools with Strong’s definitions to better understand specific words in your key passage.
Context – background and culture: In addition to the key verses, read the passages immediately preceding and following your key scripture to help you understand what is happening in context. Look for who, what, when, where and how as related to the passage.
Who is speaking? Who is being spoken to? Who is being referenced?
What is taking place? What happened before this point and what happens after? What is the context of the current culture?
When is it taking place? What time of day or night? When in history?
Where is it happening? What town or city? What country? In a home, synagogue, hillside? When answering the where question it is useful to visually see a map regarding location.
How is it applied by the people involved? How does it relate to current culture at the time?
Commentaries: What do theologians and scholars have to say regarding the passage? Although as believers we have the leading of the holy Spirit to reveal God’s truths to us, we are to also learn from others. God has not placed us in isolation, but in a community. As iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), we are to steward our relationships with other believers in growing spiritually.
3. Condense the content
Condense: Condense the content into manageable divisions. This may take a few edits, but focus on what God is teaching you and leading you to learn from this passage at this time.
- two to four divisions is suggested, and then work to form
- one main idea sentence to summarize the content based on what God has shown you through your time of study.
4. Communicate the Purpose of the Lesson
Purpose: What is God leading you to see as the purpose of this as a lesson for this passage at this time. This is not “all” lessons possible, just simply the one that stands out to you today.
5. Call to Action
Application: If you were to teach this as a lesson, what would be something your audience could do in the immediate future to apply the purpose of this lesson in their lives. One simple, focused take-away from the lesson. This can be similar to a pastor’s “Charge” at the end of a sermon.
As stated above, believers have the Holy Spirit leading us into knowledge of truth. In that regard, God continues to teach us daily though His Word, our personal experiences, and interaction with others. One way I continue this is digitally receiving daily or weekly encouragement, devotionals, and Bible studies. Below I’ve listed a few resources I use for weekly devotionals, Bible study, and inspiration. Visit and sign up on each website individually.
Bible Study Tools
What are your go-to Bible Study methods?
Where do you find inspiration?
Comment below, I’d love to add to my list!
Until next week!