Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme: Bible Study Approaches



















1. Introduction

2. Study a Book

3. Study a Chapter

4. Study a Verse











































1. Introduction

2. Study a Book

3. Study a Chapter

4. Study a Verse







Title:   6. How to Study a Book, a Chapter or a Verse


A page that explains a variety of approaches to Studying the Bible





1. Introduction


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:

1:1- 3:24         Creation and Fall
4:1- 11:32        From a family, to nations, to a family
12:1-25:11       Abraham
25:12-36:43      Isaac, Jacob & Esau
37:1- 50:26       Joseph

Overall : History from Adam and Eve through to Joseph and Israel established in Egypt


The following is a Breakdown of Exodus:

1:1- 18:27   The Exodus

1:1-7:3           Preparation
7:14-11:10      Plagues

12:1-13:16     Passover

13:17-18:27     Passage

19:1-40:38   At Sinai

19:1-24:18     Laws

25:1-31:18     Tabernacle Worship

32:1-33:6       Apostasy

33:7-40:38     Resumption and Relationship

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:

1:1-22        Naomi and Ruth
2:1-23        Ruth meets Boaz
3:1-10        Ruth & Boaz at the threshing Floor
4:1-12        Ruth marries Boaz
4:13 -22     The Genealogy of David

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:


v .1-4

Guilty Judges


Judge others, judge yourself


God judges on truth


Your failure won't escape judgement


Are you contemptuous of his kindness




Stubbornness will get its judgement


Each person gets what they deserve


Reward for the righteous


Punishment for the self-seeker


Trouble for ALL who do wrong


Blessing for ALL who do good


No favourites with God


The law doesn't affect this


Doers not hearers are declared righteous


Gentiles' consciences are their arbiter


This will be made clear on judgement day


Jewish Failure


The claims of the Jew


The failures of the Jew


The testimony of Scripture




Law breaking annuls circumcision


Gentile law-keepers are like circumcised Jews


Gentile law-keeper condemns disobedient circumcised Jew


Being a Jew isn't about outward things


Being a Jew is a heart thing


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 12:


•  Jeremiah's Complaint v.1-4


Why are you allowing the wicked to prosper?


You are far from their hearts.


Why don't you deal with them?


How long will you let this go on?


They say that God won't see our sin


•  God's Answer (1) v.5,6 – Look to yourself


If you can't handle minor things, how can you deal with them?


Your own family are against you, watch out!


•  God's Answer (2) v.7-13 – I'm going to deal with them


I'm going to give them over to the enemy


My people have turned against me


My people have become weak, a prey for others


Other leaders will come in and spoil this “field”


They will devastate this land because no one cares


Enemies will come in as the sword of the Lord


My people intend one future but I'm bringing another


•  God's Answer (3) v.14-17 – I'll deal with the enemy


Those who come in and uproot Israel , I will uproot


But afterwards I will restore these people


I will turn them back to me


Those who refuse to listen, I will destroy.


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.

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