|Series Theme: Bible Study Approaches|
Title: 6. How to Study a Book, a Chapter or a Verse
A page that explains a variety of approaches to Studying the Bible
This page helps you with big stuff as you might view a Book, scaling down to a single verse.
If you are serious in your study of the Bible you will go for each of these approaches. Have a look below and see what you think!
2. How to Study a Book of the Bible (a fairly advanced form of study)
Read it several times in different versions
Seek to find a structure, catch a sense of each chapter first
Find out the background use other resources
Consider why it was written the aim of the book
Check other people's outlines for further light
Note secondary themes for further study
If a large book, divide into sections with themes
List words & phrases you need to look up
Note differences between versions
Write down lessons in the book for you
NB. Studying a book is easy stuff for small books, but big books are for serious students! When you do eventually get to big books, start with books that are mostly narrative, e.g. Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Genesis etc., and only move on to prophetic books, e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, when you have time and plenty of experience!
Having said this, here is an overall breakdown of Genesis:
Overall : History from Adam and Eve through to Joseph and Israel established in Egypt
The following is a Breakdown of Exodus:
Overall: History of God's conflict with Pharaoh, delivering Israel from Egypt and establishing them as a nation at Mount Sinai .
For a smaller book in the Old Testament, the following is a breakdown of Ruth:
Overall: Naomi leaves Israel, Ruth becomes her daughter in law, is widowed, returns with Naomi to Israel, encounters and marries Boaz, and together they become part of King David's family tree.
3. How to Study a Chapter
Read it several times to get the main thoughts and breakdown
Are there key verses on which the rest hinge?
Apply the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY questions
List commands or promises or lessons learnt
Note repetitive words, phrases etc.
Ask why things are included that appear irrelevant
Check sense in context of previous and following chapters
Some chapters to study:
For beginners Psa 1/ Psa 23 / Psa 90 / Mk 10 / Lk 15 / Jn 11
For mature Christians Gen 3 / Gen 22 / Exo 12 / Mt 5 / Jn 17 / Rom 6
An example of a Chapter study is shown below:
Romans, chapter 2:
All we have done in the above study is go through the chapter putting each verse into our own short summary and then suggesting a breakdown that seems to make sense.
Overall: In chapter 1 the apostle Paul has explained the basic need for the Gospel. In chapter 2, he realises that his own people, the Jews, might feel they were a superior people and so shows to them their particular need. Reading this chapter in a modern paraphrase will help you catch its meaning.
The following is a further simple example of a Chapter Breakdown:
Jeremiah's Complaint v.1-4
God's Answer (1) v.5,6 Look to yourself
God's Answer (2) v.7-13 I'm going to deal with them
God's Answer (3) v.14-17 I'll deal with the enemy
Overall: Jeremiah is feeling bad about his situation and so complains to the Lord. The Lord replies with a gentle chide about looking to Himself but then goes on to say that He's going to deal with Israel by using another nation but He'll also deal with that other nation's bad attitude as well.
4. How to Study a Verse
Read it several times
Read it in the context of the paragraph and chapter
Apply the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY questions etc.
Focus on words, get their meaning
Cross reference the verse with others
For examples of verse studies, see the earlier pages in this series.