Bible study is a powerful tool for spiritual growth. Many people are wondering, some are surprised at others when explaining the scriptures to them. Some people are saying, how do you people understand these things written in the bible? Some the bible is just a written novel and they read it as such. Also, some have read and read the bible, yet no understanding but they can quote it verbatim. The understanding of the bible is revealed by the Holy Spirit. The studying of the bible is involves key essential elements in order to grasp the full concept of a bible passage. This is your happy hour; this page contains the basic elements of bible study that will aid you in the studying of the scriptures.
Table of contents
- Bible study tools
- Methods of bible study
- Skill for bible study
Introduction (Bible study overview)
The introduction to this piece will be taken from scriptures. 1 Timothy 4:13 says, “Till I come, give attention to the reading…”, 2 Timothy 2:15 admonished and charged us to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. Also, 2 Timothy 3: 14-16 advices and recommends us to do the following: “but you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them…”, and verse 16 tells us that “…all scripture is given by the inspiration of the God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. Verse 15 states that “…the Holy scriptures can make us wise”. This is among the reasons why we must study. Now, let us login.
What are the Bible study tool we have?
There are different materials used for bible study. Many people study the bible using PC software which contains most of these materials. Before we go on listing these materials, this will help you:
Before you set to study, these include the practical suggestions for bible study; First, choose and have a set time for studies (You can choose any time of the day. Most people choose early in the morning, nevertheless it is wise to study at all times, through meditation even as you go about your daily duties), Second, select a special place for study and lastly, write down your points.
The bible is the sword of the spirit. The Bible contains the pattern of life of Jesus, it contains His word and earthly ministry. This is one spiritual book that cannot be exhausted before and after ages to come. The bible is a book that contains the written word of God. The content of the bible called the word of God or scriptures are holy words that are inspired and breathed by God. The bible could appear as a story, prophecy book or teaching. The bible itself makes it clear that “..it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness…”
In bible study, the primary book to study is the word of the Holy Scriptures; this is because it has the mind of God, the life of His son, the methods and ways to reach Him through his son. It is the book that has the principles of life and the only book that has the word which can build your faith. The words of the bible are in absolute unity. So, Even though the Bible was written by many writers over many years, there is no contradiction from one author to another. The mystery of the bible was to reveal God’s plan for mankind and to show His purposes. The purposes of God talk about His son Jesus Christ which is central character of the bible. The new and old testament talks about one person which Jesus. Every page of the old and New Testament, talks about Jesus, so this is how you should see the bible. The bible is made of 66 books. It is categorized as follows:
Old Testament: Bible study from the Old Testament is majorly centered on the agreements God had with man. It also, reveals the plan of God for the salvation of mankind by Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prepares us for its happening and the New Testament tells how it happened. The old testament has the following division: the books of the law (first five books), the books of history (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther), the prophetic books(Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the rest) and the books of poetry (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon).
New Testament: the New Testament reveals God fulfillment of His plan in and through Jesus Christ. It shows God’s agreement with Man through His son Jesus Christ as the mediator through which man can come to Him. The New Testament has also been divided into four groups: Gospels, History (Acts), Letters, and Prophecy (Revelations of John).
This is used to locate all the references to a word in the bible, locate the repetition of a specific word and find the root meaning of a word using the Strong’s number.
This is used to look up the meaning of words from the scriptures. The old testament was written in Hebrew while New Testament was written in Greek. So we have Greek bible dictionary and Hebrew bible dictionary.
This are books that give comments about bible chapters and verses. A commentary is helpful in explaining passages which are difficult to understand. This is a clue to understanding what a passage is all about. It does not give full details. This is to remind you that, bible commentaries are human write ups and little worth the truth you discover by yourself. Do not always base your bible study explanations on commentaries. It may give background study of the passage but it is not in-depth.
Bible atlas or map
A Bible atlas is used to study the geography, maps and locations of places in the Bible. It helps you locate and understand the geographical setting in which the incidents in the Bible happened.
What are the types of bible study?
There are two types of bible study. This includes the inductive and manuscript bible studies. The approach or skills used in studying the bible passages with inductive and manuscript bible studies are different. Here is what they mean:
Inductive Bible study (IBS): This form or type of bible study is done by a way of listing questions to study the passage under a specific topic. Here, a passage of the bible is studied by generating some questions that address the topic of study, observation question, and interpretation of the passage and application of the lessons of the study.
Manuscript Bible study (MBS): The original bible was written in scroll without chapters and verses. In this form of study, a passage of the bible under study is captured neglecting the sequence of the chapters and verses. Here, the passage under study is done by eliminating the chapters and verses. This helps to know the flow of thought of the original scroll and grasp more of the passage without chapters and verses.
Effective Methods of Bible study [Skills in bible study]
There are several skills used to studying passages of the bible. These skills help you to understand the bible even as the Holy Spirit aids you to unveil the meaning.
The first step to bible study is reading the passage many times. When you have read then the following is carried out. Having your pen and book for writing things down, the skills to employ are:
Observation skill: While reading the passage, the things to observe are: the characters, location or place, figures of speech (such as similes and metaphors), cause to effect (statements that leads to actions), repeating words (repeating words gives more emphasis to the passage), etc. When you are through with the above observations, the next thing to do is to generate observation questions. Observations questions are questions you generate from the passage of study. The answer to these questions must be from the passage of study and not from other passage of the bible. Observation question starts with the following- ‘what, where, who, how (sometimes) and when. In the observation, know who is writing the passage, to whom is it addresses to and the historical background of the passage.
For example: an observation question and answer from the above passage under the introduction heading is as follows, Observation question: what are the holy scriptures profitable for? Answer: it is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. You must be strict not to add to the answer from another passage. You must generate many observation questions for you to understand the passage.
Interpretation: For interpretation of a bible passage, the interpretation questions start with ‘why and how’. The answers demand you to explain in details. The answer can be generated from the passage of study or from other passage of the bible. Interpretation is the high point of bible study. This gives you the depth of the passage and must be done with seriousness. In interpretation, you employ other scriptural verses from other passages in order to answer the questions. Notice: Any interpretations that lack the presence or fulfillment in Christ Jesus is invalid. This is because, the bible is all about Jesus, and He must be seen in all interpretation and all verses.
For example, using the passage from, 1 Timothy 4:13, interpretation question: why should we be diligent to study? The answer differs because there are different levels of understanding and exposure by the members of the bible study group. Some people can answer the following in full details giving references to other passages of the bible. Answer: We study diligently in order to show ourselves approved unto God (2Tim. 2:15). We also study to get ourselves equipped for and unto all good works (2Tim. 3:17) and to prepare ourselves against the devices of the devil. There are many reasons that can give answers to the question. I hope you are following?
Application: Application is the most interesting part of bible study. Here, resolutions of what you have learnt or understood are brought to personal basis. This is more of take home, things you will began to do that came as result of the bible study. For example, still using 1 Timothy 4:13, you can resolve as an application that you will study the scriptures diligently.
What are the rules of Bible study interpretations?
The interpretation of the Bible comes from the Holy Spirit. Below are some rules to observe and apply as you interpret the scriptures. You can follow these rules and they are not out of biblical context. They rather build your conviction to value the word of God. These rules include:
- The rule of divine authority: The bible is the final authority and end of all arguments (2 Peter 1:19-20)
- The rule of context: You should study the bible and interpret it as it is written literally, also consider the preceding and proceeding verses as well as other related verses or chapters of the bible that relates that topic.
- Rule of first mention: There are some words or phrases that appear for the first time in the bible, either in the old or new testament. The first place a word appear before other verses or places has a key meaning in relation to anywhere it is mentioned again in other verses and chapters of the Bible.
- The rule of repetition: This places emphasis and should be taken cognizance of.
- Rule of cumulative effect: The full truth of a word for doctrine or teaching is not derived from an isolated passage or verse. This means you need other scriptures to support as the word of God does not contradict itself.
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