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A Bible Study Method Anyone Can Use

Updated on December 19, 2017
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Chris spent 50 years in the Evangelical world as a layman, as a student at a prominent Christian University, and as a missionary and pastor.

Easy to Use Bible Study Methods

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Who Should Use This Bible Study Method?

People read the Bible for different reasons. Some simply want to know what it says and means. Others want to go a step further and understand what the Bible means to their own personal lives. The beauty of the Bible study method I am presenting is that a person can use only step one or steps one and two if they wish. This will help them understand what a passage says and what it means. Others will want to do all three steps in order to discover what the passage means to them personally.

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Step One: What does it say?



  • For understanding any passage in the Bible, there is no better place to begin than by answering six simple questions.

Six Historical Questions To Ask About Any Passage In The Bible

Historical questions
Historical answers
Step One applied to John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." New International Version of the Bible
Who?
Specific named or unnamed characters
God; One and only Son; Whoever
What?
Things, concepts and events mentioned
Loved; Gave; Believes; Shall not perish; Have eternal life
When?
e.g. day, night, time of year, during the reign of what king
Eternal life? (is it a length of time or a place?)
Where?
Specific places such as someone's house or a particular country
World; Eternal life? (length of time or a place?)
Why?
Usually statements that reveal the motivation for an action
that whoever believes shall not perish
How?
Method by which an act is accomplished
Gave; Believes
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  • Context: Read the paragraphs immediately before and after the passage being studied. Do those passages give further insight into the six historical questions?
  • Key words: Write out key words that give important meaning to the passage. Key words are related to the theme of the passage. They are words, that if removed, would substantially change the meaning.
  • Record questions that occur to you as a result of the six questions and key words.
  • Answer your questions from information in the passage itself and in the paragraphs before and after (context). If you need help, consult a commentary.
  • Write out, in your own words, what the passage being studied says. Keep all of the historical people, places, things and events in what you write. This is not the place to apply to your life what is being taught. Simply put in your own words what it says.

Step Two: What does it mean?

This is the interpretation step. The goal is to understand what the passage means. This is not application to your personal life. That will come next.

  • Write out in your own words the timeless message contained in the passage. Timeless means you will need to edit out all historical references to people, places, things and events and replace these with words that could apply to anyone of any time and place.
  • Whenever possible, use different words than are actually used in the passage. This will cause you to think further about the meaning.
  • Practice this on John 3:1-15. It is a long passage, but it will require dropping a lot of historical material to get to the timeless statements.

Step Three: What does it mean TO ME?

This is the application step.

  • Based on the statement you wrote in step two, write what the passage means to you. This time make it about only yourself. You can write in the first person(I and me) or the third person (using your name).
  • As in step two, try to use synonyms for words found in the actual passage.

The Bible Was Meant To Be Understood

The Bible was written by men for men. Many believe the original writers of the Bible were inspired by God, others don't believe this. In either case, the Bible was written to be understood. If these steps are followed, better understanding will be the result.

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