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How to Study the Bible: Method Eight – The Book Background Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

Tools 

Bible dictionary and/or bible encyclopedia

Bible handbook

Bible atlas

Various tools that allow you to experience in your time the environment of the Biblical cultures

 

8.2 – Steps 

Step 1 – Choose the subject or book of the Bible

Step 2 – List your reference tools so that at the end of the study you can see which were of the greatest help in your study.

Step 3 – Discover what you are able of the following: 

Who is the writer of the book

What is the date of the book

Where was the book written

For whom was the book written

Why was the book written

How does the book fit into the Bible overall; in addition, what light can be shed on the study when the book is evaluated in the following contexts:

        – Geographical setting

        – Historical events, prior, occurring, or expected

        – Culture of the day

        – Political situation

        – Anticipation of coming events or personage(s) 

Step 4 – Summarize your research

Step 5 – Write out your personal application 

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Method Seven – The Word Study Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

Tools

Bible and several alternate translations

Exhaustive concordance

Bible dictionary or encyclopedia

Set of word studies

English dictionary

 

Hints

·         Remember that often a single word in the original language may be replaced by many different words, or even phrases, when translated into English.

·         An exhaustive concordance such as Strong’s or Young’s are especially valuable for this study since they associate each discrete original word to its English translation.

 

Steps

Step 1 – Choose the word you will study

Step 2 – Find its English definition in the English dictionary

Step 3 – Compare treatments of the word in the various translations

Step 4 – Note the definition of the original word (Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic)

Step 5 – Discover just where the word is used in the Bible

1.      How often does it occur?

2.      In which books is it found?

3.      In which book is it used most?

4.      Where does the word first appear?

5.      Where does it first appear in the book you are studying?

6.      Which writers used the word?

Step 6 – Find the origin and root meaning of the word, how the word was used by the secular culture of the day

Step 7 – Determine how the word was used in the Bible and how it would have been understood in the culture to which the Bible was originally addressed

Step 8 – Write an application

 

A Suggested List of Key Words for the Word Study Method of Bible Study

 

Adoption
Adversary
Apostle
Atonement
Baptize
Believe
Bless
Body
Call
Chasten
Christ
Church
Confess
Covenant
Death
Disciple
Everlasting
Evil

Faint

Faith
Favour
Fear
Fellowship

Flesh
Good
Gospel
Grace
Hear
Hell
Holy

Hope
Immanuel
Iniquity
Jehovah
Jesus
Judgment

Kingdom

Know

Law
Laying on of Hands
Life
Light
Lord
Love
Lust
Manifest

Marriage
Mediator
Meek
Mercy
Mind
Minister
Miracle
Mystery

Name

Obey

Passover

Peace
Perfect
Perish

Preach
Propitiation
Reconcile
Redeem
Remnant
Repent
Rest
Resurrection
Righteous

Sabbath
Sacrifice
Saint

Sanctify

Save

Servant

Sin

Soul

Spirit
Temptation
Trial
Truth
Understand
Vain
Vision
Watch
Wisdom
Witness
Word
World
Worship

 

From Bible Study Methods

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Method Six – The Topical Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

Previously you encountered the Thematic Method of Bible study in which you studied a narrow theme of the Bible in simple detail asking prepared questions of verses from a chosen list. With the topical study you will study a topic of the Bible, which may contain several themes, and you will not be asking prepared questions, instead you will be recording all insights you find from your study. The topical method will usually take longer than the thematic so you will want to assure yourself that sufficient time is available to at least make a significant start on the study.

 

Tools

Bible

Exhaustive concordance and/or cross references

Topical Bible

 

Hints (taken from Dr. R. A. Torrey)

·         Be systematic by listing all the concepts related to your topic, being as comprehensive as possible and study each idea individually and in systematic and logical order.

·         Be thorough by as much as possible making a study of every verse that relates to the topic.

·         Be exact, trying to get the exact meaning for each verse you are studying. Remember not to remove the verses from their context but use the context to help you in your study.

 

Steps

Step 1 – Compile a list of words related to the topic you will study

Step 2 – Collect all references relating to each word

Step 3 – Consider each reference individually

Step 4 – Compare and group the references

Step 5 – Condense the results of your study into a brief outline

Step 6 – Conclude your study

 

From Bible Study Methods

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Method Five – The Biographical Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

Tools

Bible

Exhaustive and/or biographical concordance

Topical Bible

Bible dictionary or encyclopedia

 

Hints

Remember that the person will often be referred to by means other than his/her proper name in many passages

 

Steps

Step 1 – Choose an individual from the Bible for your study. See the list below for a selection of persons from the Bible.

Step 2 – List all references concerning that person. A concordance will help if the person is referred to in the Bible by their proper name, but you may also wish to look for ambiguous references to the person (ie: Pharaoh’s wife, or: the son of Zebedee).

Step 3 – Note your first impression of the person after your first reading of the passages

Step 4 – Make a chronological outline of the person’s life after your second reading

Step 5 – Obtain some insights into the person after your third reading

Step 6 – Identify some character qualities after your fourth reading

Step 7 – Show how some other Bible truths are illustrated in this person’s life

Step 8 – Summarize the main lesson(s) you have learned

Step 9 – Write out a personal application

Step 10 – Make your study transferable

Step 11 – Note someone with whom you will share the results of this study and commit yourself to doing this.

 

General Questions for a Biographical Study

 

Here is a list of seventy questions you can use in constructing a biographical study. You shouldn’t try to use every question listed here in a single study. Depending on the depth of your study and the time you have, select the questions you would like to have answered. The questions are categorized into seven major divisions for easier use. As you think of other questions, add them to this list.

 

Reputation

 

1.      Who wrote what we know about this person?

2.      What did people say about him/her?

3.      What did his enemies say about him/her?

4.      What did his/her family (wife/husband, children, brothers, sisters, parents) say about him/her?

5.      What did God say about him/her?

6.      Why do you think God allowed this person to be mentioned in the Bible?

 

Tests of Character

 

1.      What were his/her aims and motives?

2.      What was he/she like in his home?

3.      How did he/she respond to failure? Did he/she get discouraged easily?

4.      How did he/she respond to adversity? Did he/she handle criticism well?

5.      How did he/she respond to success? Did he/she get proud when praised?

6.      How did he/she respond to the trivial and mundane things in life? Was he/she faithful in the little things?

7.      How quickly did he/she praise God for the good/bad things that happened to him/her?

8.      How quickly did he/she obey God when told to do something?

 

Background

 

1.      What can you discover about his/her family and ancestry?

2.      What does his/her name mean? Why was he/she given that name? Was it ever changed?

3.      What was his/her home life like? How was he/she raised? Where was he/she raised?

4.      What were the characteristics of his/her parents? Did they influence him/her?

5.      Was there anything special about his/her birth?

6.      Where did he/she live? What was his/her everyday life like?

7.      Was he/she exposed to other cultures? Did they affect him/her in any way?

8.      What was the condition of his/her country — politically and spiritually — during his/her lifetime?

9.      What kind of training did he/she have? Did he/she have any schooling?

10.    What was his/her occupation?

11.    How long did he/she live? Where did he/she die? How did he/she die?

 

Significant Events

 

1.      Was there any great crisis in his/her life? How did he/she handle it?

2.      What are the great accomplishments for which he/she is remembered?

3.      Did he/she experience a divine ‘call?’ How did he/she respond to it?

4.      What crucial decisions did he/she have to make? How did they affect him/her? Others?

5.      Did any recurring problem keep coming up in his/her life?

6.      Where did he/she succeed? Where did he/she fail? Why?

7.      How did the environment and circumstances affect him/her?

8.      What part did he/she play in the history of God’s plan?

9.      Did he/she believe in the sovereignty of God (God’s control over all events)?

 

Relationships

 

1.      How did he/she get along with other people? Was he/she a loner? Was he/she a team person?

2.      How did he/she treat other people? Did he/she use them of serve them?

3.      What was his/her wife/husband like? How did she/he influence him/her/her?

4.      What were his/her children like? How did they influence him/her?

5.      Who were his/her close companions? What were they like? How did they influence him/her?

6.      Who were his/her enemies? What were they like? How did they influence him/her?

7.      What influence did he/she have on others? On his nation? On other nations?

8.      Did he/she take care of his family? How did his/her children turn out?

9.      Did his/her friends and family help or hinder him/her in serving the Lord?

10.    Did he/she train anyone to take his place? Did he/she leave a “Timothy” (disciple) behind?

 

Personality

 

1.      What type of person was he/she? What made him/her the way he/she was?

2.      Was his/her temperament choleric, melancholic, sanguine, or phlegmatic?

3.      What were the outstanding strengths in his/her character? What traits did he/she have?

4.      Did his/her life show any development of character as time passed? Was there growth and progression there?

5.      What were his/her particular faults and weaknesses?

6.      What were his/her particular sins? What steps led to those sins?

7.      In what area was his/her greatest battle: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, or pride of life, …etc.?

8.      What were the results of his/her sins and weaknesses?

9.      Did he/she ever get the victory over his particular sins and weaknesses?

10.    What qualities made him/her a success or failure?

 

 

From Bible Study Methods

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~ Chart: HTML / PDF

In the thematic method of Bible study you will approach a theme within the Bible and perform a basic study of it. It is shorter than the Topical Method of Bible study, which comes later in these notes, and is much less exhaustive in its scope. In a topical study you would examine each possible verse that relates to your topic of study, including each sub-them; in a thematic study you will study only those verses that apply directly to a single theme

Tools

Study Bible

Exhaustive concordance

Topical Bible or cross references

Hints

Stay narrowly focused on your theme since each associated idea can lead to hundreds of additional cross references causing your simple thematic study to grow quickly into a study requiring a great deal more time and effort than you have allocated.

Keep your list of questions short as some themes may have one or two hundred references associated with them which, if you have too many questions, would cause you to tire of your study even before it is complete

 

Steps

Step 1 – Choose a theme to study, for your first thematic study you may wish to choose a theme that is relatively simple

Step 2 – Make a list of all the verses you intend to study using the tools described above and select from this list the verses that are most applicable, or important, to your theme

Step 3 – Decide on, and make a list of, the questions you will ask of each verse. If you have written more than five you may wish to choose from this list as five questions is generally more than sufficient for the study

Step 4 – Ask these questions of each verse in your list of step two. You may not be able to obtain an answer for each question in each verse, some verses may only answer one or two of your questions but this does not mean that your verses have been improperly chosen

Step 5 – Draw some conclusions from your study. This would include collating the notes you have made and summarizing the details of the study

Step 6 – Write out a personal application and remember to evaluate your progress.

From Bible Study Methods

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Method Three – The Character Quality Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

In the Character Quality Method of Bible study we begin to use tools other than the Bible itself in order to discover what the Bible has to say of specific personal characteristics. A major emphasis of this study method is on personal application of the lessons you will be learning into your own life. The main goal of this method of Bible study is to learn God’s view of personal characteristics.

 

Tools

Bible

English dictionary

Bible dictionary

Lexicon

Cross references

Exhaustive concordance

Topical Bible or topical listings

 

Hints

·         Select a character quality that is of interest to you or that you wish to develop or have victory over in your own life.

·         This study may take some time, be sure to allocate enough time to complete the study adequately.

 

Method

Step 1 – Select the character quality you wish to study, look it up in an English dictionary and make note of the definition

 

Step 2 – Name and define the opposite quality, again using the English dictionary

 

Step 3 – Do a simple word study of the character quality first using the Bible dictionary to define the quality from a Biblical perspective. Use the concordance to find other verses containing the same word(s), remembering that often many different English words can be used to translate the same Hebrew or Greek original and vice versa. Then use the lexicon determine the usage by the author(s) of the word(s) defining this quality.

 

Step 4 – Find some cross references using either the verse listings within your Bible or a dedicated book of cross references such as “The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.” The concordance and topical Bible (such as “Nave’s Topical Bible”) will also be of benefit in this step.

 

Step 5 – Do a brief biographical study of at least one person who exhibits the character quality you are studying. Describe in brief the quality and the Bible references to it in this person’s life. Use the following questions to help you along:

What shows this quality in this person’s life?

How did this quality affect this person’s life?

Did this quality help or hinder this person’s growth to maturity, spiritual or otherwise? How?

What are the results of this quality in this person’s life?

 

Step 6 – Memorize at least one verse from your study that seems to stand out and which will help you as you apply the lessons you are learning into your own life.

 

Step 7 – Select a situation or a relationship in which to work on this character quality. Remember that we wish to minimize the negative qualities in our lives and emphasize or enhance the positive qualities. Jonah’s stubbornness helps us to see our own in light of its impact on our ability to do the will of God in our lives, whereas Moses’ humility before God in spite of his being able to meet God face to face can shed new light on how we are to treat special characteristics of our own lives.

 

Step 8 – Think of practical methods by which you may apply the positive aspects of your study into your life. If you are studying the quality of encouragement you might wish to go out of your way to encourage Christian behaviour in you fellow believers.

 

Step 9 – Make note of progress as you apply these lessons into your life. This will allow you to evaluate your development in the area you have studied.

 

From Bible Study Methods

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Method 2 – The Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study ~ Chart: HTML / PDF

 

bible-3-thumb.jpgIn the Chapter Summary Method of Bible study we attempt to gain an understanding of the contents of any given chapter of the Bible by reading it in its entirety several times (at least five), asking a series of questions relating to the content of the chapter, and ending with a general summary of the chapter. Note that the chapter divisions currently in our Bible are not in the original manuscripts but were added later (about 1,200 AD) by Bishop Stephen Langton in order to make the various parts of the Bible more accessible to the general reader. Although usually well done, at some points the chapter divisions interrupt the natural flow of the text. There are 1,189 chapters in the Protestant Bible so there is a wealth of material to study.

 

Tools

Bible

Cross references

 

Hints

·         Read the chapter from a Bible without notes in order to encourage fresh insights rather than reaffirming those already found.

·         Read the chapter without stopping in order to get a feel for the flow of the chapter.

·         Read the chapter in various translations noting important differences discovered.

·         Read the chapter aloud but quietly to yourself as an aid to concentration.

 

Steps

o   Step 1 – Caption – Give the chapter a short but descriptive heading. Headings that are short and/or convey a vivid image of the chapter are especially beneficial.

o   Step 2 – Contents – Make a list or outline of the major point of the chapter.

o   Step 3 – Chief People – Make a list of the major individuals in the chapter, some reference to the surrounding chapters may be necessary.

o   Step 4 – Central Verse – Select a verse that is significant in the chapter or which you find is important during this study.

o   Step 5 – Crucial Word(s) – Make a list of the key word(s) of the chapter.

o   Step 6 – Challenges – List any difficulties you may have with the chapter. What don’t you understand? Are there areas of your life that need changing but cannot be changed?

o   Step 7 – Cross References – Use your cross references to find other passages in the Bible that help you to understand this chapter.

       You should evaluate cross references in steps:

       Internal Cross References – Look for cross references within the book you are studying.

       External Cross References – Look for cross references within other books by the same author.

       Compare with cross references within the same Testament (Old or New)

       Compare with cross references within the Bible as a whole.

       There are also several types of cross reference, three are listed below (see your cross reference resource for more details):

       Pure Cross Reference – Says almost exactly the same thing as the verse you are studying.

       Illustrative Cross Reference – Illustrates what the verse you are studying is saying.

       Contrasting Cross Reference – Says the opposite of what the verse you are studying is saying.

o   Step 8 – Christ Revealed – As the Bible as a whole is the revelation of Jesus Christ (the Old Testament points to Him, the Gospels give the details of His earthly life, and Acts and the Letters show His activity in the world) it should be possible to find His presence in all areas of the Bible. Find out what you can discover of the nature, ministry, or person of Christ from this chapter.

o   Step 9 – Central Lesson(s) – List the major lessons taught in the chapter that you have learned at this time (next time you study this chapter entirely new insights may become evident).

o   Step 10 – Conclusion – Here you will begin to apply what you have learned. Two questions that are important to ask during any application of the Bible are:

       How do these insights apply to me personally?

       What am I going to do about them? 

 

From Bible Study Methods

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