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A Bible Study Method Anyone Can Use

Updated on August 2, 2015
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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
  • 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.

Source

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.

A good Bible commentary for the non-Christian

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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      Kerry43 4 years ago

      My pleasure:)

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Kerry, That is so nice of you. Thank you for letting me know that this hub meant something to you. I hope it will help someone else out along the way.

    • profile image

      Kerry43 4 years ago

      What a terrific guide! I had to share you on Pinterest in my World Religions board.

      My regards,

      Kerry

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Dipping my feather pin now.

    • Emanate Presence profile image

      Gary R. Smith 4 years ago from the Head to the Heart

      The Aramaic was an eye-opener for me.

      An introductory hub to the Writers' Cooperative was published this morning. You can go to it by clicking the blue feather in my answer above.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I have not heard of any translations of Jesus words in Aramaic into English. That would be a step forward. I always wondered what translating to greek for print did to the sound and feel of the words. The languages are so different. Your plans for writing cooperative sound great. Best of luck on that.

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      WriterCooperative 4 years ago

      It is! I started with some inquiry in the HP Questions to see if people had experience writing in a cooperative and how they feel about it. The Qs are in the Personal Development section. Because it could go either way, I tried to let go of the idea. But it seems a calling, at least to put it out there as an experiment. A draft of the Hub introducing the concept sits unpublished as of today, just waiting for a response from the HP Team. I'd like to have it 'cleared' since it is out of the ordinary. About your Bible hub, have you seen the translation of passages from the Aramaic language Jesus spoke? It is quite 'enlightening' - one of my EP hubs is on the Aramaic of the Lord's Prayer.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thanks WC. I'll check out your EP profile. Is the WriterCooperative idea actually to have multiple people work on a single hub? Sounds interesting.

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      WriterCooperative 4 years ago

      WriterCooperative is an experiment just opened. I am running the idea past the Hubpages Team before launching it. My profile and ten hubs are under EmanatePresence. I had just set up WC yesterday and found your site, wrote my comment, realized it was under WC, and was too lazy to sign out and sign back in under EP. I like your ' Somewhere between who I once was and who I will become'.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      WriterCooperative, thanks for making my day. I'll gladly take a look at your profile and see "who the heck you are" as well. Thanks.

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      WriterCooperative 4 years ago

      Cam, I laughed reading one of your forum posts so came to see who the heck you are. You have a refreshing approach that is remarkably useful. I am far too serious and visiting you also reminds me to lighten up. Thanks.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Well put as always jonnycomelately. Thanks for showing up.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

      I am certainly not averse to looking in the bible occasionally. It can be interesting and inspiring when I get to have a personal insight to a meaning.

      "Writing" and "communicating" are human achievements acquired over thousands of years. They allow us to pass on information, that is all.

      Mental gymnastics are also human achievements. It's even possible to dream up ideas that words and signs occur by the magical hand of a super-human spirit. Each to their own "brain-child!"

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I like that. Open and nonjudgemental discussion. I put this together from years of trying different things. It is simple, but does give solid results. Thanks for commenting Mhatter.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Areed, thank you. These steps were introduced to me by the "Witnesses". Another useful tool is open and nonjudgemental dicussion.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      teacherjoe52, great point. There are some really good books out for Bible cultures. Thanks for the input and for visiting my hub.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Hi cam.

      Very interesting.

      Another good point is to understand the cultural meaning of the day as well.

      For example the Samaritans were the hated northern tribe to the Jews, yet it was the Samaritan that was more Christ like in the parable.

      God bless you.

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