A Simple Bible Study Method
This is an outline of a simple Bible Study method.
I have read many books that taught Bible study methods. I have gone to a lot of seminars to learn a good bible study methods. I learned a lot of different Bible study methods. They all seemed arbitrary and contrived, and to be honest a little weird. Then I took a seminary based course on bible study methods. That course taught me how to study the bible using a common sense, straight forward bible study method. It changed my life. One of the text books was Living By the Book by Howard and William Hendricks. It completely changed my life It was a bible study method that finally made since! There are no funny rules, no gimmicks, no weird formulas. The secret was this, read the bible like any other book. How revolutionary! What I learned in High School English was all I needed. Say What ?!
That was a Bible study method I could get behind. It made sense. It did not treat the bible like a magic book. Study the Bible like you would any other book. Well Duh! Of course! If you have not read Living by the Book by Henricks get it. You will not regret it. It is an easy read and written for the lay audience. But many pastors would do well to read it too. It will greatly improve their preaching.
Here is a brief outline of Hendricks’ book:
Henricks’ Bible Study Method
Step 1 Observation:
In observation ask the question, “What does it say?” Resist throwing in preconceived Sunday School answers. Who is the audience? What type of literature is this? Look for things that are emphasized, repeated, related, alike, unalike, true to life. Avoid using commentaries in this step. If you rely on commentaries you are getting, at best, second hand information. What does the text say? Spend most of your bible study time in observation.
Step 2 Interpretation:
In interpretation ask the question, “What does it mean?” What was the original author’s intent to the original audience? What is the message to applies to all people at all times. There is only one correct interpretation. The meaning cannot conflict with what it says. i.e. What was learned in step 1, Observation. Pepper the text with questions. In this step use resources like Atlases, Bible Dictionaries, Bible Handbooks, and Commentaries. Be careful you do not distort what the text says. That is why step 1 is so important.
Step 3 Application:
In application Hendricks says, ask the question, “How does it work?” My own spin on this question is, “So what?” How to you apply it to your life? How does it affect you?
Reading the bible may change your theology. It did mine.