When friends invited me to go to Bible Study they handed me a leaflet with the details. The first thing I noticed was a word that I had never come across before. (And it wasn’t ‘Easy Bible Study for Beginners’!) Has that ever happened to you?
If you fall at the first hurdle is there any point in getting up and getting back on track?
Bible Study can feel just like that, especially when you’re new to it. You are keen to start and then wham!bam! you hit a technical word you don’t understand and it throws you off! So let’s demystify the process of Bible Study and pare it down to the bare minimum.
What do you need to do a Bible Study?
- A Bible. Obvious I know but you might want to read this post about what type of Bible to use
- Notebook – an exercise book or reporters notepad will do fine
- Pen, pencil, ruler and eraser
- (optional) Coloured pencils or highlighters
Easy Bible Study For Beginners – Threesome!
3 Rules? 3 Processes? Don’t be put off by that it’s just the stages of a journey really.
I have yet to find a commonly accepted Bible Study Method that doesn’t use these three basic approaches as a starting point. It doesn’t matter how they are dressed up or what they’re called they are always:-
- Observation = Read the text
- Interpretation = Understand what the text says
- Application = Apply what you have learned
(Actually, these rules probably apply to any non-fiction or instruction book!)
Observation = Read The Text
Read the text, don’t skim over it and hope to grasp the detail. You can read it out loud to the dog or cat if it helps. Just make sure you have read the words in the order they are on the page! Simple!
Too simple you say? No, at its most basic this is where all Bible study begins. But don’t worry if you don’t understand it at this stage, that’s what the next step is for.
Read the passage several times if possible – although you will end up re-reading as you work through the next stage which is……..
Interpretation = Understanding The Text
You are about to become a great Detective. Approach your study with that in mind and every little detail you discover will be a ‘clue uncovered’ and another part of the puzzle ‘solved’.
There are 6 questions you will need to ask of the Bible text you have read whether it is a whole book, a chapter or a paragraph and they are:-
- Who – who is speaking/doing or being written about?
- Where – where is this conversation/action taking place?
- When – when did this occur? What year or day? Was it day or night?
- What – what happened? What was said or done? and most importantly what is the context?
- Why – why did this event/conversation/report happen?
- How – how did it affect those involved?
LOOK OUT! To avoid being in danger of being too simplistic in this basic but easy Bible Study for beginners, there is one other thing you need to do. ‘Context is king’ is a saying often quoted. I’m not sure of its regal status but you must always examine the portion being studied in the context it is set in.
Context means to know what went before and what happens after. How the History, culture and geography surrounding the contents of the passage being studied affect it. Avoid taking one or two Bible verses without taking the paragraph, chapter or sometimes the book into consideration. Many misunderstood passages of the Bible are because they’re taken out of context.
Application = Apply What You’ve Learned
There is just one main question here ” What do I do with this information I’ve found out?”
Look at your answers for the questions in the Interpretation section and ask yourself if each of the details is significant. eg Would a change in the time of day have made a difference? If ‘X’ hadn’t happened would ‘Y’ have said that? What led up to that situation? What were the consequences of that action? etc.
Can you see a pattern or path of action/events to take or avoid, in what you’ve studied? Or perhaps an instruction to take notice of?
If what you’ve read is historical, what can you learn from the incident described? How can you avoid making the same mistakes? What have you learned that is beneficial? What action do you need to take?
If the passage is instructional, ask yourself how you can apply it to your life or situation. What would it look like if you did/did not do as instructed?
But if the text is about something that is going to happen in the future? Ask yourself if there is a course of action you will need to take or something that you need to be aware of.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this is the most basic, pared-down version of Bible Study. You can take your studies further and deeper with time and experience. If you want to start to study your Bible and not get overwhelmed with jargon and more detailed methods, these 3 rules or processes are all you need to know to make a start.
Are you curious to know what the word was that tripped me up when my friends handed me the leaflet? It was ‘Kerygma’ which means ‘the preaching or proclamation of the Christian gospel’. Why use a fancy word when a simple phrase will do?!
Another word that has tripped me up is Inductive. For years I struggled with that word. And you know what? All it means is that you study your Bible by Observation, Interpretation and Application! Simply put it is:- Look, Learn and Do/Do not!
WHAT TO DO NEXT
- If you want help finding your way around a Bible read How to Navigate Your Way Around Your Bible
- To understand why we go beyond just reading the Bible, look at Why Do We Study The Bible
- If you want to know what to do next How To Choose A Bible Study
- Get The Bible Study Glossary to help with your studies HERE
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