Many people I have met over the years have expressed a desire to know how to study the Bible on their own. Their need provided the motivation to write this guide.
Perhaps you have a method of studying the Bible that works well for you. In that case I humbly submit this guide in the hope that there may be a few ideas you might use to make your own personal study of Godís Word more effective and meaningful. If you are new to Bible study, I welcome you to a wonderful adventure that will last your whole life.
You will notice that most of the scripture references were not written out. I expect you to open your Bible and look up the verses to see if they support the points made in this guide. This leads to the most important point we could possibly make. The Bible is preeminent. Nothing, this guide included, should take the place of spending your own time and effort in the Bible. The purpose and objective of this guide is to motivate you to study the Bible for yourself. Study guides, Bible courses and other helps have some value. But there is no substitute for the cultivation and nurture of your own walk with God based upon a personal confrontation with His Word. It is my hope that this guide win equip you with a few of the tools necessary to conduct your own independent study of the Bible.
It is my prayer that God will make His Word dwell in you richly, to the praise of His glory and the salvation of many. May an accurate and faithful study of the Bible encourage you to walk more trustingly and obediently. I wish you the Lordís richest blessing.
How the contents of this guide will help you depends upon your prior experience in Bible study and your goals. If you have studied for years, you may wish to just read it through once, put it aside, and then go back to your own Bible study armed with whatever you found helpful. Or you may want to read it slowly, stop at the end of each main part, and turn to a book of the Bible to see if you can apply what you learned. If you are new to the Bible and have never studied it, you may be eager to get going and are not interested in wading through a lot of instructions. Maybe your immediate goal is just to know enough to get started. In that case we suggest you read the Analysis chapter, as well as the examples of : word study and context. Once you have spent a little time in the Bible for yourself, you may want to look over the rest of the guide in order to obtain a more complete perspective on how to study the Bible.
This guide is not an exhaustive treatment of the subject of how to study the Bible; but thought was given to many ideas which, if carefully applied, should lead you to a mature and serious in depth study of the Bible. Whether you are a veteran Bible student or a novice, this guide is offered as a source of ideas which you can adopt as you think best.
The discussion of Principles and Methods is divided as follows:
Chapter 1: Assumptions and Deductive Reasoning
Chapter 2: Analysis and Inductive Reasoning
Chapter 3: Example of observation with Psalm 1
Chapter 4: Progress with a Plan
Chapter 5: Forming a conclusion
Chapter 6: Testing a conclusion
Chapter 7: Application
Chapter 8: Additional Insights
Chapter 9: An example of a word study, "salt"
Chapter 10: An example of context, Acts 1:4-8
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