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4 Easy Steps to a Manuscript Study

Updated on February 26, 2013
Sample manuscript.
Sample manuscript. | Source

Whether you are trying to understand the bible alone, going to a group bible study, or teaching a bible study in the hopes of helping others to understand a manuscript study is the perfect tool to help you.

A manuscript study is an engaging, challenging, and fun way to learn and understand the bible. If you have never heard of a manuscript study or have no idea where to start you've come to the right place. This article will give you a simple and easy 4 step process to studying manuscripts.

Manuscript studies are usually typed, double spaced, and single sided. There are no headings, and usually no chapters. Versus may or may not be marked. Manuscripts are available on the web or from software programs. Manuscripts can also be bought from the Intervarsity Store.

Starting Books:

Choose a book that is short (no more than 5 chapters) or that is easy to understand and has stories and parables.


*1 Samuel





Step 1: Select a Passage

The best way to select a passage is to find a book of the bible you are interested in learning about and going from there. Once you have a book selected, you can take it chapter by chapter or 2-3 chapters at a time if they are smaller.

Doing a manuscript study to pull all the information out of the book chapters at a time will greatly increase your understanding and knowledge of what you are reading.

The easiest chapters to start with if you have never done a manuscript study are those that are full of stories and parables or that are straightforward and easy to understand.

→Start by reading through the entire script (selected chapters).

→Next divide the whole reading into manageable parts by identifying natural breaks (for example a change in topic or scene).

→Finally title each section so you can see an outline of the chapter and where the passage is heading.

Brackets define breaks in the theme, red underlines indicate people, green boxes indicate what's happening.
Brackets define breaks in the theme, red underlines indicate people, green boxes indicate what's happening. | Source



Repeating words/concepts


Cause to effect or Effect to cause

Step 2: Study the Passage Thoroughly

Spend time praying and talking to God, this will help you draw on His word and pull all the information out of the passage. Develop questions as you read that you want answered. Observe and read the passage multiple times, interpret what you are reading the best you can, and apply the text to your everyday life. Applying the text to your life today, will help you connect and draw more understanding from the passage.

After reading the passage spend some time finding the Who, What, When, Where of the passage. Color code each finding with a different color (for example code each who in the color green and the when in blue).

Now that you have the passage broken up in sections and have found the who, what, when, and where of the text look for connections and write the meanings or significance in the margins or notebook.

Step 3: Define the Central Truth

This means finding the main idea and what the chapter or passage is trying to teach you. Finding a summary verse and the climax of the passage will help you greatly in finding the main theme for the passage you are studying.

Once found mark it in a way that you will remember this is the message of the passage. Writing in the margins or a separate notebook will help you when returning to the manuscript study.

Step 4: Apply What You Learned

God's word and spirit changes people's lives. Take what you have learned and apply it to your everyday life. Everything you learned about Jesus, the holy spirit, God, and yourself can all be used to further enrich and enhance your life.

Did you find there is praise to offer, sin to confess, examples to follow, and new commands to obey? This is the beauty of manuscript study. You make realizations you might not have known otherwise.

This guide is to help you understand how a manuscript study works and how you can get the best out of each study. Manuscripts study can be hard at first, but after you get the hang of it they can be fun and you will come out of each study with a multitude of new and useful information and understanding.

Start a manuscript study today and dive into the bible. Your manuscripts can become a reading journal with pages of thoughts, questions, and new understandings.


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