each time before you start to study, asking the Holy Sprit to open
your understanding and to help you apply what you learn to your
for guidance to find answers to difficult passages.
Scripture, understanding people and places will help you better understand
Step 1 - People
List each main character in the section you've selected -
it could be a kind of person (husband, shepherd, king) or a person mention
by name. Write a few lines about what the verses say about each
character. Look up any cross-references on the person to gain more
insight. Use a Bible dictionary and write down a few more facts about
Step 2 - Places
List the main places mentioned in the
section. Write down a few lines about what the verses say about
them. Look up any cross-references on each main place to gain more
insight. Check the Bible dictionary for more information about the
place. Locate the place on a Bible map or in a Bible atlas.
people and places aren't the focus of every passage you'll study. In
those cases, just skip steps 1 and 2 move right into Step 3.
Step 3 - Plot
In one or two sentences summarize what the
section is all about. When you complete the study of an entire chapter
and then an entire book of the Bible, it's valuable-and a meaningful
challenge!-to summarize each larger section.
Step 4 - Play-By-Play
Divide the section you're studying into a
general outline , listing the main ideas, and key sub-points, but keep it
simple. After this, you may want to go back and refine your statement
of the "plot."
Step 5 - Problems
Did certain words leave you
unsure of their meanings? To gain more insight, look up
cross-references on various words (in your Bible's study notes or in
references in the margins). Don't always assume you know what a word
means; look up the word in a Bible dictionary or even in regular English
dictionary. Perhaps certain phrases or concepts in the tEx. t have you
stumped. After you have done your best, consult a good Bible
commentary to add to you understanding.
Step 6 - Purpose
Ask yourself "Why did God write
this?" and record your answers. Finding the purpose of a passage
will help you get God's perspective and it will prepare you for Step 7.
Step 7 - Personal
Ask yourself these questions to make
sure you have given the Holy Spirit the opportunity to use the Bible to make
a difference in your life each day:
- "How does the passage apply to
- "Are there attitudes that I need
to change as a result of my new understanding?"
- "Are there warnings that I need
- "What principles did I find that
I need to live by?"
- "On the basis of what I have
learned today, what do I need to begin or to add to my life?
What do I need to change or stop doing?"
God is eager to reveal Himself to His
children and to direct you through His Word. Those who accept the
invitation to study God's Word will find themselves agreeing with the
psalmist: "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter
than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).
*Taken from the American Tract Society "7 Practical Principles of Bible
Study" by Victoria Johnson, Special thanks to
American Tract Society