BIBLE STUDY TOOLS FOR MEN
“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (LB)
The first most important thing needed to know the Bible better is to develop a hunger for the Word of God. The second most important thing needed is to discipline yourself to set aside time to study it.
Tools of the Trade
Ø Get yourself a good study Bible. (The Open Bible; Ryrie Study Bible; Life Application Bible; Thompson Chain Reference Bible).
Ø A Concordance that matches the version of your Bible.
Ø A Bible dictionary.
Ø A Bible encyclopedia.
Ø A word study set on Bible words.
Ø Finally start adding a set of commentaries, volume by volume as you study a book.
Digging Out the Gems
Ø Understand the author, his setting, his culture & customs, his audience and the purpose of his letter.
Ø What did it mean to the original hearers?
Ø What is the context (theme, chain of events) of the verse(s) I am looking at?
Ø Who are the characters of the story? (main characters or other, their backgrounds & personal character)
Ø Do the characters 1) accept what was said to them, 2) ambivalent to the message, or do they 3) reject the message given them?
Ø What about the text was written specific to their culture?
Ø What about the text is a timeless principle for us?
Ø Is the promise or command intended only for the original audience or for us too?
Ø Is the text a good or bad example for us to follow?
Ø Are there other verses (cross-references) about the subject elsewhere in the Bible?
Ø Look for problems that develop, a conflict between the characters, the crisis and/or climax it leads to, the resolution of the conflict, and finally, the following action that results from it.
Ø Pay attention to repeated words or ideas, and unusual or extravagant details. They indicate a key points.
Ø Look for irony: the correct interpretation of words or events that are the opposite of the apparent meaning. (See John 11:49-52; Matt. 27:27-31)
Ø What actions/beliefs does God bless or condemn in the text?
Ø Look for cause and effect statements. “If you do this…then this will happen…” Other key words: “in order that,” “therefore,” “since,” “then,” “nevertheless,” “consequently.”
Ø What is the redemptive thrust of the passage? (How God is gracious in His way of redeeming us.)
Ø The point of application is where hearts must begin if there is to be change!
- Application often begins by facing life issues of the text characters, then leads us to reflect on our issues.
– Application often begins when we recognize our need for God’s guidance.
– Look in every text for a remedy for some aspect of our fallen human condition.
– Application should always show how God heals some part of our sin and brokenness.
– Good application bridges the gap between the culture of the Bible and our culture.
– The application should bring the lesson to a central point that is in unison with the theme of the text.