|Series Theme: Bible Study Approaches|
Title: 9. How to Study a Person
A page that explains a variety of approaches to Studying the Bible
This page introduces you to the enjoyment of studying a Bible character, and how to go about it.
The study of a person can be more stimulating that simply studying a topic, because with a person we can put ourselves in their shoes.
With the study of a Bible character we can really apply things to ourselves.
2. How to Study a Person
With such a study there are some obvious and basic questions to ask:
1. Who is this person?
What can we find out about them? Who are they related to? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do in life?
2. Why are they in the Bible?
Are they someone who had a particular relationship with God? Are they someone who is simply a person mentioned in passing? Did they have a particular role to play?
3. What happened to them?
What actually happened to them? What did they do?
4. What can we learn from them?
Are there things we learn about God through them? Are there examples to follow? Is there something to avoid?
These sort of questions will start building up a picture of our person in question. We may wish to then categorise is to clarify things in our minds and to make it more memorable.
3. People to Study
Below are lists of people in the Bible that you would provide a good basis for study:
a) In the Old Testament
b) In the New Testament
4. An Example of a Character Study
EXAMPLE: JOHN THE BAPTIST
i) God Given
Jn 1:6 - sent from God
Lk 1:7 - his conception would have to be supernatural
Lk 1: 13 - his arrival was announced by the angel, Gabriel
Lk 1: 14 - his birth would cause much rejoicing (fulfilled in v.58)
Lk 1:15 - he would be holy
Lk 1: 17 - he would be prophetic like Elijah
For reflection :
- we who are Christians are supernaturally born (Jn 1: 12 )
- we are chosen by God (Eph 1:4)
- we are to be a holy prophetic people (1 Pet 2:9)
ii) Divine Duty
In 1:7 - to be a witness to the Light
Lk I : 16 - to bring many people back to God
Lk I : 17 - to prepare people for the Lord to come to them
Mt 3:2 - by calling people first to repent
Mt 3:7 - by calling repentance from specific sin
Lk 3:7 - by showing them the right way to go
Lk 3:16 - warning that God was coming
Mk I :4 - and baptising them as a sign of repentance
In 1:29 - and directly pointing out Jesus as their saviour
- we are called. as Christians, to do all these things
- to bring people back to God
- to call for repentance from specific sins
- to tell then of God's love
- to warn them of God's judgment
- to tell them of Jesus as their possible Saviour
- to baptise them after conversion
- we introduce them to God: He changes them.
iii) Heavenly Humility
Jn 3:30 - He must become greater; I must become less
Jn I :20,21 - decreasing speech about self
Jn 1:27 - I am not worth, - but He is
- we are not called to draw people to ourselves
- we are to call people to follow Jesus
- therefore other's reliance is to be on Jesus, not on me
- I am not to take the glory for anyone's salvation.
iv) Commitment's Cost
Lk 9:9 - Herod said, I beheaded John
Mt 14:3 - Herod arrests John
Mt 14:4 - John had been pointing out his sin
Mt 14:9 - John is put to death
- all who live godly lives will be persecuted (2 Tim 3: 12 )
- but we are called to lay down our lives for Christ anyway (Lk 9:23 ,24)
v) Frail Follower
Mt 11 :3 - Are you the one?
Mt 11:2 - John is in prison before his death
Mt 11:3 - John is not sure if Jesus is who he thought he was
Mt 11:11- John is acclaimed by Jesus
- despite the many times God blesses us, there come times of trial and testing when our own human frailty is stretched and we are even tempted to wonder about our salvation
- even in those times God never forsakes us but acclaims us His children
- I am what I am as a Christian, not because of my own efforts, but because of His calling and equipping.
Thank you Lord.