How to Study the Bible 1 & 2

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How to Study the Bible 1 & 2          See Notes below.

How to Study Your Bible


Bible study is essential to growth as a Christian – 1 Peter 2:2

Bible study is essential to spiritual maturity – Hebrews 5:11-14

Bible study is essential to spiritual effectiveness – 2 Timothy 3:16-17


The goal of Bible study is to make you more like Christ. Bible study will cost you some things. Bible study is hard work. Scripture does not yield its fruit to the lazy! Bible study leads to change and change for many people is uncomfortable. Bible study is a continual process. You must stay at it! However, if Bible study makes you more like Jesus it is worth it all!


I would recommend you get a good “study Bible.” Here are a few good study Bibles: John McArthur’s Study Bible, The Ryrie Study Bible, Thompson Chain Reference Bible, The Scofield Reference Bible, The Nelson Study Bible.


Over the next several weeks we are going to learn how to study our Bibles. The overall process is simply this: #1 Observation – What do I see? #2 Interpretation – What does it mean? #3 Application – How does it work or what does it mean for me?






What makes one person a better Bible student than someone else? Have you ever asked yourself, “How did he or she get so much out of that text or passage of scripture?” The reason is simple. They see more than you do.


How many steps did you climb to get into the sanctuary tonight?

How many stop signs did you encounter on your way to church tonight?

What did your best friend have on today?

Which side of your husband’s face is shaved first?

Which side of your wife’s face is made up first?


Observation is so important. The only reason someone is a better Bible student than you are is because they are more observant than you are! First of all, we are going to learn some skills that will allow us to see more in our personal Bible studies. Observation is the first essential step in Bible study.


  1. Start with Key Terms or Key Words

We will use one verse of scripture as an example. Turn to Acts 18. What is the 1st word in the verse? “But” is a key word. It forces us to go back to the “context.”


Verse one begins by mentioning “The former account.” What former account? The book of Luke! Right away we discover that the book of Acts is by the same person that wrote the gospel of Luke. Acts is the sequel to Luke. Who was Luke?


Luke and Acts not only have the same author, they are written to the same reader. Who was Theophilus? Luke 1:3 tells us that this man had a title and a position of prominence in Roman society. Here, his name is given without any title. Regardless, Luke had a person in mind when he wrote this book. Luke and Acts not only have the same author, and is written to the same

person, they have the same subject. The subject is “All that Jesus began to do and teach.” The first clue to the subject of the entire book of Acts is given to us in verse one!


Verse two reveals the continuation of the Lord’s ministry through the apostles.


Verse six reveals that there was a discussion going on between the Lord and his apostles. The first thing the apostles do is ask the Lord a question. What are they asking?


Verse seven reveals that the Lord Jesus answered their question. First, he answers negatively. He says “That’s not for you to know.”


Verse eight continues the Lord’s answer. He now moves from negative to positive. He begins with the word “But.” What does “but” mean? He is saying “You don’t need to know when the kingdom of Israel will be restored, but the important thing for you to know is you have a responsibility.” “But” is a key term. It forces you to go back and know the preceding context.


Verses nine – eleven reveal the context that follows. What are the key terms or words in these verses? Look for main verbs and repeated words because they may reveal a common theme. These three verses reveal that verse 8 are the last words that Jesus gave to His apostles before He went back to heaven. Verses 9-11 reveal that Jesus was giving “marching orders” to the apostles in verse 8. He is saying “Now the job is yours.” After He gave them their orders,

He went back to heaven on a cloud. While they were standing there watching two angels revealed to them He would come again just as He left, and it was time to get to work! Now we have the full context for verse 8. Everything we have learned came from observing the key word “But.”


  1. Who Are the People Involved?

The 2nd key term or word in verse 8 is “You” It is repeated three times.  Who is you?” Verse two has already told us that “you” is the apostles. What do you know about the apostles? They walked with Jesus for 3½ years.  They were Jewish. Jesus chose them. Several of them were fisherman. They may have been anxious in this setting (Asking questions).


One of the ways that help in picking out key terms are to find the main verbs.  What is the main verb in verse 8? “Shall receive” is the main verb. What tense is the verb in? Future tense.  What are the apostles going to receive in the future? “Power.” What kind of power? Here is where other translations help. We are not talking about physical power. We are talking about

ability to get the job done.


III. Look for Cause- Effect Relationships

What does “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you” mean? It adds great significance to this verse. The power will not come until the Holy Spirit comes! Here is another person involved in this passage. Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the 3rd person of the Trinity. He is supernatural. He has power.  The Holy Spirit would provide exactly what was needed to get the job done.  Notice how the Holy Spirit would give them the ability. He would “come upon them.”


So, the cause is, “The apostles are going to receive power.” The effect is, “They

are going to be witnesses.” First power, then witness. Upon finding key terms you must define those terms. What is a witness? Until now the apostles had been ministering in their own power. Their performance was not that impressive. Now they would receive what they needed.


  1. The Importance of Place

What do we know about Jerusalem? It’s a city. The temple is there. It’s where the disciples were. It was home for them (They were to witness first at home). Jesus was crucified here (They were to witness in a hostile environment). What is the relationship of Jerusalem to Judea? It has a city/state relationship. The 3rd place mentioned is Judea. They loved Samaria, right? The Jews would have nothing to do with Samaria (John 4:9). Galilee was in the north, Judea was in the south and Samaria was the area in between. Jesus wanted them to quit avoiding places that were despised and off limits. They were to be His witnesses even in Samaria. The last place is the end of the earth!” They were to go everywhere people were! Did they follow this pattern? Acts 2 reveals they started out in Jerusalem. Acts 8:1 reveals that because of persecution the witness went to Judea, Samaria, and by the end of the book they were well on their way to reaching their world.


Observing A Passage of Scripture


If you want to get more out of your Bible study, it helps to know what you are looking for. Use the following questions to help guide you in your search of the scriptures. You will not use every question for every passage of scripture you will study, but these will provide a good starting place.


  1. Who is the author of the passage?
  2. Whom is the author addressing? (God’s people? A church? Unbelievers?)
  3. Are there people or places that you need to identify?
  4. What do you already know about the people and places mentioned?
  5. What are the key terms or words in this passage?
  6. What is the most important term or concept in this passage?
  7. What are the main verbs? The tense of the verb?
  8. Are there terms that you need to define?
  9. Are there any “cause-effect” relationships in this passage?