Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Do I Study the Bible?

First let me say...while reading the Bible, a text with no context is pretext. When you read a verse, ensure that you read those verses around it, thereby understanding the passage and the context in which the verse is used. Misinterpretation is usually the product of singling out a verse from within a passage and making an interpretation out of context. This is why Inductive Bible Study is my favorite method of study.

Inductive Bible Study is to Observe, Interpret, and then Apply what’s learned. Here’s the plain English version…

First off...Surround your Bible study in prayer, and allow for a two way communication between you and God...leave your self open to His word.

Read a FULL passage and take note of the following (some example questions):


a. When was it written, around what year?
b. Who was it written to, or who was it written for?
c. What are the key words in the passage?
d. What is the main subject of the passage?

Interpret – How would someone from that time period interpret what was written?

Apply – How does it apply to you?

Like I said, this is a very basic explanation of Inductive Bible Study, for more information go to: http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=53489

Also, make sure you document (write down) everything from Observation thru Application.



dave said...

I suppose that the Bible wasn't meant for all ages...just the age that it was written; I mean, you've established a false criteria that one must know the period in which it was written and how it would be interpreted then.

Let's think about this for a minute: Jesus spoke in parables and WITHOUT a parable He did NOT speak.

Does that mean that whoever wrote that statement knows what it means in the historical context that it was written and that today's reader can't possibly know what it means because no one today was alive back then who can give a fair interpretation of the statement?

Or does it mean that everything Jesus spoke was behind a/many parable/s?

gmc4jesus said...

Getting To Know Jesus is an inductive Bible study of every event in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Lord, Savior and role model. Studying every event from the four Gospels and applying it to our lives today will cause us to become more like Him from the inside out.

busere said...

Dave, those are very good points. However, when Paul writes his letter to the Church in Corinth, having even a slight understanding of what Corinth was like, even further opens your eyes to what he's talking about. In fact, Corinth was much like the United States is today as it pertains to immorality and the misguided direction of some of our Churches. Having an understanding of the history only heightens our ability to make sense of the Word.

busere said...

As for the parables…Most parables, the examples that Jesus used to get his point across, were situations from that time period. The parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-9), is a great example of this. He uses an example of diffrent types of soil within farming to explain how different people accept or do not accept the word of God, which relates very well to the farming community that he was speaking to. And even though we have farming communities, not everyone in that community takes part in farming. When Jesus was conducting his ministry, The WHOLE community took part in the harvest, they had to. Everyone in their community would have a basic understand how things grow, and should be able to relate to the parable. Now days, not so much.

A parable using fish as the example, “You can’t clean a fish until after you catch it.” What does this parable mean in regards to the church? If you don’t understand anything about catching, cleaning or cooking fish…you might not get it. Also, if you hear the discussion that was taking place before and after this quote, you would also be able to figure it.


dave said...

I'm not suggesting that understanding history (I'll explain what KIND of history in a moment) isn't useful. It's just not a requirement.

The Bible, totally inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the only way to understand God's word, intent, view of history, etc. The Bible IS the word of God (vs contains).

As such it is totally authoritative in every area that is addressed.

The fact that parables come into the mix provides insight into the Author's intent.

For example, in Proverbs the Author states that (not quoting) God hides a matter and kings search it out.

As if we couldn't tell by the opening of Genesis that what we're about to read is a HUGE mystery, the next time we see something that appears to be those very words (the opening of John), we read further that the Word spoke in parables. Creator, thanks, but I think we've gotten that part. NO, YOU HAVEN'T.

Here's how I approach His word: What are You going to teach me today, LORD? Am I going to be privy to understanding Your word more? I'll be comparing Your scripture with Your scripture to find out what You are teaching me. I'm not going to be adding anything; yet I'll be attempting to understand as You give me understanding for it is Your wisdom that makes it all possible.

busere said...

Dave, Great catch...I should have stated in my blog entry that Biblical Study should always be surrounded with prayer...communication with God and having an open heart to also hear what God is saying. Again, good catch. I probably should have also mentioned to start with the John.

However, you are reading to deeply into my blog post. This post was answering a question that a friend of mine asked. It was just a simplified answer, not meant to be profound. Young Christians (the recently converted) or even a non-Christian has no real idea of how to approach or study the Bible…for the most part. To the non-Christian, most of them, they think that you should start in Genesis and read strait through…to them it’s just a book. And like I said, “You can’t clean a fish until after you catch it.” Make sense?


busere said...

by the way...the last part of your last comment was the type of discussion I was looking for! :)

...How others study His word.