Bible Study Training

STEP 1: PRAY

What you are about to attempt is impossible apart from God.
Even with Him it’s going to take hard work, but it’s worth it!

Pray with humility unless the Lord builds the house it’s builders labor in vain     Pray with resolve I will not let you go unless you bless me!

Why study? It’s one of the best ways to take in God’s Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

To bridge two worlds separated by 7000 miles and 2000-3500 years you must:

    • Understand what it meant in their lives and in their world
    • Build a bridge that spans the miles and centuries between us
    • Apply its meaning in our own lives and in our own world

BASIC BIBLE STUDY PRINCIPLES

  • Context is key
  • Pay attention to genre
  • Take a literal approach
  • Let Scripture interpret Scripture
  • Interpret the obscure in the light of the clear

STEP 2: READ (WHERE?)

  • Try to determine the end of your passage, paying attention to the genre:
    • Historical books are made up of theological/historical episodes or “stories.”
    • Prophetic/apocalyptic books are made up of visions or oracles.
    • Epistles are made up of paragraphs and larger thematic sections.
    • Poetry is made up of speeches, psalms, proverbs, thematic sections, and musical verses.

Don’t assume chapter breaks and section headings are well-placed.

  • As you read, write down anything that you don’t fully understand including:
    • Times of day
    • Weights and measures
    • Names of people and places

You only benefit from what you understand.

STEP 3: STUDY! (WHAT?)

  • Research the parts of the passage that you wrote down in step 2.
    • Study Bible (cross-references, maps, introductions, and study notes)
      • Single author (Scoffield, Macarthur, Spurgeon, Tozer)
      • Version (ESV)
      • Theme (life application, archeology)
    • Bible dictionary/encyclopedia/concordance (word studies and historical studies)
    • Commentary (theological studies and application)
      • Whole Bible commentary (lay)
        • Matthew Henry (free)
        • John MacArthur
      • Individual author commentary series (clerical)
        • Warren Wiersbe
        • John MacArthur
      • One author/one book (series or standalone)(scholarly)
        • New American Commentary series
        • The Treasury of David
  • Still stuck? Ask someone!
  • Consider investing in a bible study software

Keep digging until you strike gold – keep praying and studying until it “clicks”.

Proverbs 2:2-5
My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.

STEP 4: THINK (HOW? & WHY?)

  • How do the parts relate to each other?/how does the puzzle fit together? (outline)
    • Understand the flow of the passage, the author’s train of thought. Get in God’s head.
  • What’s the main point/big idea? (write it as a principle) Pay attention to:
    • The start and finish
    • The Climax
    • Repetition
    • Dialogue
    • Purpose Clause
    • Chiasm
  • Write down any other principles or promises that you see.

Ideally, at this point, it should all make sense.  You should be able to say “I get it!”

STEP 5: APPLY (SO WHAT?)

  • How should this change the way I think, feel, speak, and act today?
    • Make sure it is directly related to the main point.
    • Make it uncomfortable yet achievable.
    • Make it measurable.
      • Bad: I need to trust God more.
      • Good: I will refuse to worry about my (health/finances/family…) today.
      • Bad: I need to love others more.
      • Good: I will call my hurting friend to share a Scripture with him/her right now.
      • Bad: I need to share the gospel more.
      • Good: I will invite ___ to lunch today on Saturday in order to share the gospel with him/her there.

Or, next time the Mormons or Jehovah’s witnesses come to my door I will share the gospel with them.

Don’t rush this part – without it, you have wasted your time… or worse.

STEP 6: TEACH

How do I best communicate this passage and its implications to others?

  • Make sure you understand it inside and out. (A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew)
  • Walk them through the same steps you went through in your study.
    • What does this mean and how does it fit together? (Explanation)
    • What’s the main point? (This passage was written so that…) (principlization)
    • How should this change the way we think, feel, speak, and act today? (Application)         (You must tailor this bit to your audience:1-on-1, small group, congregation.)
    • What about Illustration?

To teach is to deliver God’s Word to God’s people. If you believe you have rightly interpreted the Scriptures you should be able to say “thus sayeth the Lord.”

Your teaching will only carry authority if it is comes from a heart of conviction.

You must be convicted over it yourself and convinced your message is from God.