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The Seven P's Of Bible Study   
  • Pray 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 life.  

  • Pray for guidance to find answers to difficult passages.

Often in Scripture, understanding people and places will help you better understand the  passage itself.

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 the person.

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. Obliviously, 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 Application

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 me?'
  • "Are there attitudes that I need to change as a result of my new understanding?"
  • "Are there warnings that I need to heed?'
  • "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

   
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