How to Study the Bible on Your Own
The following was written by Steve Wright and appeared in the August edition of The Connection.
I have been enjoying reading Living By the Book by Howard Hendricks, in which he gives great tips on how to do your own Bible study. I would like to share with you one great and easy technique that has really helped me.
6 Key Questions to Ask of Any Passage in Scripture:
Who are the people in the text? More than just identifying who the people are, notice what is said about the person or people. For example, every time Andrew is introduced, he is done so as Peter’s brother. Why do you think that is? Another thing to look for is what the person says, and ask yourself why does he say that?
What is happening in this text? What are the events, in what order, and what happens to the characters? If a character is arguing a point, what is it? A subtle question, but very important, is to ask what’s wrong with this picture? Are people doing bad things (e.g. Jephthah sacrificing his daughter in Judges 11) and what is God saying or not saying about it?
In what location is the story taking place? Where are the people coming from or going to? Who are the original readers of the text? If your Bible doesn’t have maps, take the time to find one online.
When did the events take place? When did they occur in relation to other events in Scripture? When did the writer pen it? For example, in Mark 1:35 we read that “in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Why early in the morning? What happened the night before, and what was to happen that day?
There are so many “why” questions to ask. Take the time to slow down and ask a lot of questions of the text. Then see if you can answer many of them BEFORE turning to commentaries. 'Why' questions get you thinking about the text more than any other type of question, so do not rush past this. New insights await you if you slow down.
What difference does this passage make? What difference would it make in my life if I applied it? This is where the rubber meets the road. Land the plane and apply it to your life and in relation to those around you. As Hendricks says, “Remember, the Word of God was not written to satisfy our curiosity; it was written to change our lives.” I encourage you to try this out. The first passage I used this technique on was Luke 24:13-15 where Jesus encountered two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. I’m sure you will pick up new insights!
I pray that these questions bless your study of His Word, and you fall in love with both scripture and the Author even more.