1. Taking the Mystery Out of Bible Study

There are so many books in the Bible and so many pages!  Where should a person start?  And why?

Studying the Bible effectively seems like a mystery to many people.  But it does not have to be!  That is good news.  Even better news is that it does not have to be difficult!

A basic guide is to make things bite-sized.  Shorter is often better, especially for getting started.

To begin, select a short passage.  Nobody can swallow the entire Bible in one big gulp!  Pick something of interest to you personally.  (It does not have to be uninteresting to be spiritual!)  Pick a passage from your general Bible reading, or maybe a passage you have heard in a sermon.  As an example, we will begin with a short and familiar passage, Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd …)

A useful first step is to break the text out in phrases of meaningful length.  (Again, go for bite-sized.  We do not have to swallow whole chapters in a single gulp either!)  While the length is a matter of personal preference, the passage under study will help you determine appropriate phrases.  Click here for an example of the phrases in the 23rd Psalm.  You will observe that the phases are presented in an outline form, which is convenient to show how they relate.  (Other Scriptures Alive materials are available to ease this step if you like.)

Now what?  Look at the Scriptures Alive!  logo in the top right of the example page.  It provides a ready reminder that we want to consider four things when we study a passage:
Observation - what does it say?
Correlation - how does it relate to other Scripture?
Interpretation - what does it mean?
Application - what will I do about it?

And there is one key rule to keep in mind.  The greatest key to Biblical understanding is the surrounding material, known as context.

Now that is not so mysterious, is it?  After all, God wrote the Bible to communicate with us.

To help you get started, click here for a partially-completed study of Psalm 23.  The one new thing you will see here is the use of color-coding suggested in the logo to help keep track of the four basic study categories listed above.  Some of the observations, colored in blue, are actually observation questions to help you get started in thinking more about the particular phrase.  Start by answering those questions and then branch out to consider other questions that come to your mind.  As you develop thoughts and ideas, be sure to write them down so you will remember them next time!  That way you can keep building on your understanding instead of starting again with a blank sheet.

This example is in Microsoft Word, which you are probably familiar with.  So you can choose either a hard copy or an electronic version for your study.

If you want to go directly to our study materials, click here