Tool 8: Bible Study

Lesson ▪ 1997
Tags: Bible study
Excerpted from Bridging the Gap: Developing Tools for Better Bible Understanding
Related Resources: The Discipline of Bible Assimilation: Topical StudyThe Discipline of Bible Study

The task of studying the entire Bible can seem overwhelming. The Bible is lengthy, and its concepts profound. It can be discouraging to think of studying a book for an entire lifetime without exhausting its content.

It is the contention of the author that effective Bible study is necessarily methodical. It is the purpose of this unit to familiarize the reader with the inductive method, which has enabled the author to conduct meaningful Bible study for several years. It might be asked, “What is the best method for me?” The answer: “Whichever one you develop and use to your own spiritual benefit.”

Step 1: Observation

“The act of watching carefully—especially with attention to details or behavior—for the purpose of arriving at a judgment”

  • To draw meaning from the text rather than inserting meaning into it
  • To be open to the message of the text
  • To approach the text with an intent to discover something
  • To be an objective observer, avoiding excessive reliance on others’ opinions concerning the text

Step 2: Analysis

“Separation of a whole into its component parts; an examination of a complex, its elements, and their relations”

  • To break down the text into its natural component parts
  • To study each component part’s relationship to the whole
  • To give attention to detail
  • To emphasize diversity, divergence, dissimilarity of elements in the text
  • To categorize the concepts in the text
  • To seek a more thorough understanding of any unfamiliar people, places, objects, customs, words, or concepts mentioned in the text

Step 3: Synthesis

“The composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole; the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole”

  • To unify all the minute details of the text
  • To answer the question, “What is the bottom-line message of this text?”
  • To sum up the meaning of the text, focusing on the big picture rather than the details
  • To emphasize unity, convergence, similarity of elements in the text

Step 4: Application

“The act of establishing relevance or valid connection”

  • To understand the practical implications of the message for the original recipients
  • To note any cultural realities that affect the implications of the message
  • To discern the practical implications of the message for a person in your culture

Step 5: Expression

“The act or process of representing in a medium”

  • To translate the message and its personal implications into a form of expression for which you have an appreciation, such as art, conversation, essay, graphic, lesson, poem, sermon, song, or speech
  • To translate the message into the conduct of your daily life