Bible Bible Study Study Tools Tools

Bible Bible Study Study Tools Tools Study Aids Study Aids 1 Study Aids 3 Basic Skills There are three basic skills for effective Bible study. W...
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Bible Bible Study Study Tools Tools

Study Aids

Study Aids

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Study Aids

3 Basic Skills There are three basic skills for effective Bible study. While there are certainly others to learn, these will allow you to pick any book of the Bible and study it. The three skills follow a natural progression: studying the whole, studying the parts and then looking at the whole one more time. Each is described briefly below:

1. Book Survey When God inspired each of the Biblical authors to write, they all wrote with a primary purpose in mind. It was meant for all generations, but there was also a primary audience with a primary message. Each book therefore, should be viewed as a whole unit. You don’t read a novel by picking and choosing certain chapters and you don’t read a letter by starting in the middle. In the same way, you should read each book of the Bible with the whole in mind. It is the only way to really gain a big picture view.

2. Chapter Analysis Having established a big picture view of the material, you can now get down into some of the details. You can dig into the word, looking at it up close, gaining an even greater understanding. (Note: When the books of the Bible were originally written, there were no chapter divisions. These were added as a practical aid for referring to its different parts. While some themes run across these chapter divisions, staying within them will assist the handling of the material.)

3. Bible Synthesis This third skill completes the process. It’s a big picture view again, but this time it is a return trip. You have been on the ground for a while and now when you look at the whole, the details make much more sense. In fact, you can organize the details in ways that you couldn’t before. This synthesis will focus on key themes in the book, binding them together from each chapter and then as time allows, comparing them to rest of the God’s word.

These three skills and the six steps that are described on the following page come from a course written and organized by Rev. Michael Mercurio simply called, “How to Study the Bible.” The study aids and the reproducible forms all flow out of that course.

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Study Aids

Six Basic Steps Each of the skills on the previous page involve the same basic steps. Though the details of some steps will change depending on the skill (survey, analysis or synthesis), the essence of the process is the same. Before moving on to the details of each skill, read the overview below:

1. Pray The Bible is not an ordinary book. It is the written record of God’s revelation to man. As such it contains a spiritual message from him to you. You don’t want to rush into it. The first step, therefore, involves slowing down and letting God prepare you for an encounter with Him. He, in fact, wants to help you.

2. Observe When you read you should do it carefully and observe as much as you can in the process. Concentrate on what the text actually says. Think like a detective, record your observations and make notes. The value of writing cannot be understated. It will help you in all the steps that follow.

3. Interpret After you have a good idea of what the text says, the next step will challenge you to ask what the text means. The goal here is not to infuse meaning into the passage, but to interpret the passage in view of what God intended us to understand. While some may say that this is a very subjective exercise, the clues to the best interpretation will always be found in the context of the passage in question.

4. Apply Part of the challenge in Bible study is to understand what it says and what it means. The other part is to know how to respond to what you have read. Many students of the Bible pride themselves on what they have learned, but unless it is applied to real life, it is of little value. So be careful not to skip over this step. Work hard at it and allow God to change you.

5. Meditate You figured out how God’s word applies to your life, but what happens when the Bible study is over? For many people, “out of sight” means “out of mind”. And “out of mind” means out of the realm of obedience. If we don’t think about what we have studied, we often fail to do it or put it into practice. Mediation, therefore, the act of pondering and reflecting upon what we have learned in God’s word, will keep our focus on living it out.

6. Obey When you seek to obey God’s word, you sometimes run into a conflict when His way is not the same as your way. It’s like two cars coming to an intersection at the same time. To avoid a crash, one must yield the right of way to the other. You must yield your will to God so that His will can be done in your life. At one level, yielding to God is something that can only be done with His help. At another level, obedience also involves willingness and a decision to submit to God when another choice is staring you in the face. So in the power of God, be a doer of the word.

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Study Aids

Book Survey The following list shows an outline of the six basic steps as it applies to doing a Book Survey. Be careful to do all six and generally speaking, do them in the order that they appear. While some of the steps overlap, the sequence below will keep you on track.

1. Pray ❏

Ask God to help you - focus your mind, understand what you read and obey what you learn.

2. Observe ❏

Read the entire book - several times.



Identify key words - words that are repeated or words of significance.



Make chapter titles - summarizing your observations.

3. Interpret ❏

Ask questions - that relate to the book as a whole.



Find answers - from the context of the book.

4. Apply ❏

Write application statements - for each of the major themes in the book.



Choose one application point - that reflects your greatest need for growth.

5. Meditate ❏

Think reflectively - about how God’s word applies to your life.



Pray continually - asking God to help you carry out his will in your life.

6. Obey ❏

Yield to God - at every intersection of life, choosing to let him go before you.

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Study Aids

Chapter Analysis Having looked at the book as a whole (survey) it is now time to focus on each chapter in more detail. The steps used here are very similar. What changes is the scope of the material to be looked at. Follow these steps for each chapter in the book.

1. Pray ❏

Ask God to help you - focus your mind, understand what you read and obey what you learn.

2. Observe ❏ ❏

Read the entire chapter - several times.

❏ ❏

Identify paragraph divisions - based on the content of the chapter.

Identify key words again - refining your observations from the book survey.

Make paragraph titles - summarizing your observations.

3. Interpret ❏

Ask questions - that relate to the chapter as a whole.



Find answers - from the context of the chapter.

4. Apply ❏ ❏

Identify application points - throughout the chapter.

❏ ❏

Choose one application point - for reflection and growth.

Write application statements - for each application point in the chapter.

Answer how or why - the application is to be experienced.

5. Meditate ❏

Think reflectively - about how God’s word applies to your life.



Pray continually - asking God to help you carry out his will in your life.

6. Obey ❏

Yield to God - at every intersection of life, choosing to let him go before you.

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Study Aids

Bible Synthesis Having looked at the book as a whole (survey), and having looked at each chapter in detail (analysis) it is now time to put the pieces together. This skill will focus on developing a deeper understanding of key words and key themes that run throughout the book.

1. Pray ❏

Ask God to help you - focus your mind, understand what you read and obey what you learn.

2. Observe ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏

Read through the entire book - and look for a particular key word. Read through the entire book - and look for related key words. List all the references - where the key word(s) are found. Describe the way each word is used - according to its immediate context.

3. Interpret ❏ ❏

Ask questions - that relate to the key words or key theme. Find answers - from the context and from cross references.

4. Apply ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏

Identify several application points - that relate to the key words or key theme. Write application statements - for each application point that you have identified. Choose one application point - that reflects your greatest need for growth. Answer how or why - the application is to be experienced.

5. Meditate ❏ ❏

Think reflectively - about how God’s word applies to your life. Pray continually - asking God to help you carry out his will in your life.

6. Obey ❏

Yield to God - at every intersection of life, choosing to let him go before you.

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Study Aids

Where To Start Many people find the skill of book survey difficult because so many of the books in the Bible are long. Psalms has 150 chapters and Isaiah has 66. But did you know that more than 60% of the Biblical books contain 16 chapters or less. (See chart below). As you develop this skill, it would be wise to start with books of this length. Before surveying longer books, first divide them into major units. (In the examples at the bottom of the page, the numbers on the left represent the chapters in each unit). Study these units as if they were books that stood alone. Then put your work together after studying each of the major parts.

Old Testament 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Genesis 50 Exodus 40 Leviticus 27 Numbers 36 Deuteronomy 34 Joshua 24 Judges 21 Ruth 4 1 Samuel 31 2 Samuel 24 1 Kings 22 2 Kings 25 1 Chronicles 29 2 Chronicles 36 Ezra 10 Nehemiah 13 Esther 10 Job 42 Psalms 150 Proverbs 31 Ecclesiastes 12 Song of Solomon 8 Isaiah 66 Jeremiah 52 Lamentations 5 Ezekiel 48 Daniel 12

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

New Testament Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

14 3 9 1 4 7 3 3 3 2 14 4

Genesis

Exodus

Ch. 1-5 .....................Creation Ch. 6-11..........................Flood Ch. 12-23..................Abraham Ch. 24-26........................Isaac Ch. 27-36.......................Jacob Ch. 37-50.....................Joseph

Ch. 1-4 .........Moses Prepared Ch. 5-15......... Egypt/Passover Ch. 16-18........ Journey/Jethro Ch. 19-34......... Sinai/Law/Calf Ch. 35-40...... Tabernacle Built

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation

28 16 24 21 28 16 16 13 6 6 4 4 5 3 6 4 3 1 13 5 5 3 5 1 1 1 22

Acts Ch. 1-2 ................... Pentecost Ch. 3-5 ........... Apostles Begin Ch. 6-9 ....Stephen/Philip/Paul Ch. 10-12 ..... Cornelious/Peter Ch. 13-20 .......Paul’s Journeys Ch. 21-28 Paul Arrested

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Reproducible Charts

Reproducible Charts

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Book Survey Chart

Observations Instructions: For each chapter, write a brief 3-5 word title. Then record any other observations about the book that you think are significant. (Note: For larger books, use multiple charts and break the book into major units.)

Chapters

Chapter Titles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Miscellaneous Notes & Observations

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Book Survey Chart

Interpretation Instructions: For each of the questions below, search the entire book for answers. Some questions will be answered directly on the surface of the text and others will need extra thought in putting clues together. (Consult outside sources only after doing a thorough study of the context.)

Questions & Answers 1. Who was the author and what do we learn about him?

2. Who was the book written to and what do we learn about him/them?

3. What are the main events or themes?

4. Where does the action (if any) take place?

5. When was the book written?

6. Why was the book written?

7. How are the chapters/units related?

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Book Survey Chart

Applications Instructions: For each of the major themes of the book, write a key word or two to describe it in the left hand column. Then summarize them as application statements. (Suggestion: To make this as personal as possible, begin these statements with the words “I can” or “I should”.)

Major Themes

Application Statements

Application Focus From the list above, choose one application statement to focus on for growth. Re-write it below

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Chapter Analysis Chart

Observations Instructions: For each paragraph in the chapter, write a brief 3-5 word title. Then record any other observations about the material that you think are significant.

Verses

Paragraph Titles

Miscellaneous Notes & Observations

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Chapter Analysis Chart

Interpretation Instructions: As you have carefully read the material in the chapter, list all the questions that, when answered, will give you a deeper understanding. Some questions will be answered directly on the surface of the text and others will need extra thought in putting clues together. (Consult outside sources only after doing a thorough study of the context.)

Questions

Answers

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Chapter Analysis Chart

Applications Instructions: Review the chapter once again and look for details that can be applied to your life. Note the verses where they are found and categorize them as either: a sin (S) to confess, a promise (P) to claim, an action to avoid (AA), a command (C) to obey, or an example (E) to follow. Then summarize them as application statements. Begin these statements with the words “I can” or “I should”.

Verses

Category

Application Statements

Application Focus From the list above, choose one application statement to focus on for growth. Re-write it below

Application Detail Answer “How” or “Why” this truth should be applied to your life. Support your answer from the text.

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Bible Synthesis Chart

Observations Instructions: Choose a key word from your study and write it on the line below. List the verse reference each time it is found in the book and describe how the key word is used, in the columns below. When studying a theme, write it on the line below and then make each related word a subheading for the lists that you develop. Key Word (Key Theme): Verse

Description (Label)

Verse

Description (Label)

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Bible Synthesis Chart

Interpretation Instructions: Review each reference where your key word or theme is found. Then list all the questions that, when answered, will give you a deeper understanding. Some questions will be answered directly on the surface of the text and others will need extra thought in putting clues together. (Consult outside sources only after doing a thorough study of the context.)

Questions

Answers

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Bible Synthesis Chart

Applications Instructions: Review the key word or theme once again and look for details that can be applied to your life. Note the verses where they are found and categorize them as either: a sin (S) to confess, a promise (P) to claim, an action to avoid (AA), a command (C) to obey, or an example (E) to follow. Then summarize them as application statements. Begin these statements with the words “I can” or “I should”.

Verses

Category

Application Statements

Application Focus From the list above, choose one application statement to focus on for growth. Re-write it below

Application Detail Answer “How” or “Why” this truth should be applied to your life. Support your answer from the text.

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