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 and organize all those details you observed into a coherent meaning. Observation primarily focuses on the questions: “what does it say and how do I know?” Interpretation focuses on the questions: “what does it mean and how do I know?”
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 take this step for granted when talking about how to study the Bible, but observation is a skill we learn and practice like any other.
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. I tend to break observation into the following 4 steps which generally correspond to my first few readings through the passage.
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.
A good teacher tailors her presentation to her audience. The same is true of the four New Testament gospels. Each gospel writer had a different audience in mind and tailored his presentation of the story to his audience.
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 modern ears. Yet we can usually understand the main point. If studying an Old Testament prophet overwhelms you, here are some tips to get you started.
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. Every genre found in the Bible presents unique challenges for understanding. Narratives are no exception. With narratives we think in scenes, plot and character, rather than paragraphs and outlines.
Every genre found in the Bible presents unique challenges for understanding. Here are guidelines for studying epistles.