Now is a great time to improve your Bible study skills. Follow this series to learn how to study the Bible, where to find the tools you need to study and how to use them. You might want to bookmark or pin this page, as I update it frequently.
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If Scripture is profitable for teaching, then we are expected to know and understand Scripture. If Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction, then we have to be able to…
How do you evaluate whether a particular interpretation hits the mark of authorial intent?
How do you know if you’ve successfully understood a passage of Scripture? Start by understanding and embracing these basic interpretative convictions.
Did you make a resolution to improve your Bible study? Here are 30 tips to help you keep that promise.
Why do we have so much interpretative disagreement over the meaning of the Bible? Two explanations: one we can solve and one we can’t.
How could a 12-year old astonish the best theologians of his day? Why was the knowledge of Jesus radically different than everyone else?
The Oxford Dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Do…
Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, was a theologian and philosopher who lived from 354-430 AD. He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers, and his writings influenced…
Exegesis, eisegesis, hermeneutics? Wondering what all those terms mean? Here’s the definitions.
“One is sometimes (not often) glad not to be a great theologian; one might so easily mistake it for being a good Christian.” – C.S. Lewis
While I recommend you learn how to do your own word studies, here are some shortcuts you can take to save time, to get past “study block” or compare your…
Bible Study software has made biblical Greek more accessible for those who never learned the language. Now with 1 click you can access the Greek word and its conjugation but…
After you’ve done your observation, word studies, outlining and answered the questions you generated, it’s time to start putting it all together. In this step, you want to collect, refine…
Biblical writers also used figurative language and vivid imagery. How are we to understand it?
An analytical outline is a way of displaying a text of Scripture so that the flow of thought and the relationship between the grammatical parts become clear. It is my…
You may have been taught to create a list of questions, using the “5Ws and H” (who, what, when, where, why, how). If you need some help learning how to…
When learning how to study the Bible, you’ve probably heard the expression “context is king”, meaning context is the arbitrator that rules a particular interpretation valid or not. But how…
Word studies are one of the basic tools of Bible study. With today’s tools, you don’t have to know Greek and Hebrew to do a good word study. Here’s how.
Wondering how to put all the tools and pieces of Bible study together so that you can tackle a specific passage of Scripture? Here’s the overall procedure.
The first step in Bible study is observation. The goal is to slow down your reading and generate a list of questions that must be answered to understand the passage.…
Over lunch recently a friend confessed: “I know an essential step of any Bible study is observation. But what am I suppose to observe?” So glad you asked! Sometimes we…
One of the most common mistakes in interpreting the Bible is riffing on a particular word or phrase at the expense of context. No one thinks they fall into this…
After a few years of Bible study, students often begin asking, “Should I learn biblical Greek and Hebrew?” While the tools for English readers continue to improve and less people…
What do you believe about your English translation of the Bible? Here are 5 ideas you should NOT hold.
Commentaries can kick-start your thinking when you hit a dead end but should not be a substitute for your own work. Here’s my two rules of thumb.
Multi-volume encyclopedias are good sources for historical and biblical themes. But background information does not impose meaning.
Lexicons & dictionaries can reveal what might be “lost in translation” but they also tempt us to fall into the trap of “I learned a fact about a word and…
A concordance is an organized list of all the biblical texts which contain a given word. Concordances allow you to broaden your understanding of how a word is used and…
You’ll be surprised at how the information on a map can open your study. Consider how knowing that the road to Jericho was 17-miles changes the parable of the good…
Since every translation is an interpretation of the original language, you should consult several translations of different types when studying the Bible. Bibles fall on an interpretation scale and it…
Genre & Special Issues
The gospels are unique in content, although they are similar in form to ancient biographies.
Apocalyptic literature is a sub-category of prophecy. The name comes from the Greek word apocalypsis which means uncovering or unveiling.
The key to understanding Hebrew poetry and Wisdom Literature is knowing that the “rhyme” of ideas is more important than the sounds. This “rhyming” of ideas is called parallelism.
Narratives are true stories. Over 40% of the Old Testament Scriptures are narratives. Generally, the purpose of a biblical narrative is to show the Lord at work in His creation.…
Studying biblical prophecy is an often overwhelming task. Much of it is written in Hebrew poetry. The names and places are foreign, and the metaphors don’t always resonate with our…
Every genre found in the Bible presents unique challenges for understanding. Here are guidelines for studying epistles.
More: Background and History
- Basics of Bible Interpretation, by Bob Smith a classic! great for the beginner. Now available FREE online, though I believe you can still buy a paper copy.
- How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart – this is a must have resource; no Bible student should be without and it now comes as an e-book. Re-read the chapter for your particular type of passage when you start a new study.
- Living by the Book (Book and Workbook) by Howard G Hendricks & William Hendricks – also available as an ebook and a video series. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book. The writing is clear and engaging and you will learn a lot.
- The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study by Oletta Ward – a classic resource for small groups to work through together; teachers guide is also available.
- The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible by Ron Julian, J.A. Crabtree and David Crabtree — (out of print; but still can be found). This is a GREAT book for understanding the principles, methodology and philosophy of Bible study. The authors apply what they teach to a very difficult passage (James 5). The book is worth it just to understand James 5.
- Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson — this will challenge you to move your study skills to the next level.
These 3 have been recommended to me, but I have not read them.
- Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods by Rick Warren
- How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur
- Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
- New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes (1968) by FF Bruce.
- Back towards the Future: Hints for Interpreting Biblical Prophecy (1989) by Walter Kaiser
- He Gave us Stories: The Bible Student’s Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives by Richard L Pratt Jr. This is the best book I’ve found on understanding the Old Testament
- The Art of Biblical Narrative, by Robert Alter (also a great book on understanding the OT)
- A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible by Leland Ryken and Tremper Longman III
- Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation by Tremper Longman III (out of print, but still can be found)
- How to Read the Psalms by Tremper Longman III
- How to Read Proverbs by Tremper Longman III
Overviews & Theology
- Ray Stedman’s Adventuring through the Bible
- RC Sproul’s Overivew of the Bible
- John MacArthur’s Introductions to each book of the Bible
- What is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics by R.C. Sproul — this book will help you begin to put all the pieces together
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul — a must-read book, especially for new believers
- Foundations: An Overview of Systematic Theology (DVD series) by RC Sproul
- An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical and Thematic Approach by Bruce Waltke and Charles Yu — this book looks intimidating, but it’s worth it!
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (Audio Lectures or book)
Where to next?
Bible Study 201: Learn to teach the Bible
Resources for Ministry Leaders
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