Bible Study Questions

I have a few questions for those who study the Bible.  What methods do you use when studding the Bible?  Do you use any Bible study aids?  Do you use a particular Bible study curriculum?  Have you tired using products that you felt were a waste of time?

I am curious about how people study their Bibles and what works for them.

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20 thoughts on “Bible Study Questions

  1. I use the website Blue Letter Bible (blueletterbible.org) when I study.
    It contains commentaries and dictionaries (I’m a word hound, and like to look up the original Greek & Hebrew definitions) among other study aids.
    It also has many translations, which I use to compare…and sometimes to simply understand what the verse is saying.
    My go to version is the KJV, but that’s because that’s what I was raised using. But I’m often looking at other translations for clarification. I avoid the NIV, for personal reasons.
    The only time I’ve used a purchased product is when preparing for a Sunday School lesson, or Small group…things like that.
    As I have been writing HIS blog, I have not had one specific train of thought that I follow. A lot of times the blog comes from a verse that my Fellowship Friend has shared with me. Other times, I have a theme, and then search the Word for what HE wants me to write about.
    I have hit many dead ends…but the journey has been so fulfilling 🙂

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  2. So I use the ESV, I go through the bible one book at a time, and study the whole book. I find this is really important as God decided that the bible would be written in books not collections of verses or pearls of wisdom. Each book has a specific purpose the author wants us to understand, and studying the bible should help you to see how the author is explaining the purpose. I plan my studies to not just look at what the text says but why is it in the bible?

    So in a simple way I ask:

    1) What is the text saying? Try to identify key themes and also how the author progresses the idea throughout the passage.
    – Does it have a structure? can it be broken in sections?
    – Are their any repeated words or ideas?
    – Bible context – when is it written, who for, etc
    – Linking words – for, since, but, therefore, all of them help you to understand the line of reason
    – genre – what type of text I am reading
    2) Why? What is the authors purpose in writing this?
    – What emotions does the author want to evoke
    – Why did the author put this text here, rather than elsewhere
    – What difference does this text make?
    – I try to do this first for the original audience the book was written to, this then helps to apply better as I understand the similarities and differences between us

    3) Application
    – How does this change my worldview?
    – How will it change my actions?
    – How does my new understanding impact my relationship with God?

    I am currently blogging all my studies in Leviticus, an example I posted my prep questions, which may help you (https://assuredinchrist.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/leviticus-extra-how-do-we-read-leviticus-well/ ). Also, you can have a read of my studies to see how they work to help understand even complicated books of the bible.

    There are some really good resources out there: Dig Deeper by Neil Beynon and Andrew Sach, is a nice book that walks you through a “toolbox” that can be used to understand the bible better. Their series also contains dig deeper into the Old Testament and Dig Deeper into the gospels.

    Do feel free to get in contact if you want to talk more.

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    • I also use ESV. I like the list of questions. That is a great way to figure out what the Bible is saying and how to apply to our own lives. I am going to print it out to keep with my Bible. I have not read Dig Deeper, so I am going to check that book out as well.

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  3. My scriptures have built in study aids such as cross referencing, a topical guide, Bible dictionary and maps. My church has wonderful study aids for the scriptures that I access through their website and app. These include the study manuals for our scripture study programs of Seminary (youth level) and Institute (adult level). There are also beautifully done Bible videos which I love. https://www.lds.org/bible-videos?lang=eng
    I start my personal study with prayer. I keep a scripture journal where I write down my impressions as I study. I highlight verses that stand out to me and sometimes create a scripture chain. Deseret Book offers books written to help understand the scriptures. My current favorite for the Bible is, 400 Questions & Answers About the Old Testament, by Susan Easton Black (she’s a religion professor).

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  4. It’s an interesting question with a very targeted audience. It’s one thing to profess adherence to a given religion, but another entirely to study its texts.

    It’s also hard to separate the descriptive (here’s how I go about such and such) from the normative (here’s how I do it and how you should as well). This doesn’t mean the question should be avoided, but the answers will inevitably smuggle in more than they outwardly reveal.

    As an academic and a pastor, my personal study was as much mired as it was buoyed up by the original languages, textual criticism, commentaries and favorite theologians. But the best advice I was ever given was my constant, rarely achieved, goal: to steep in the text, to wander freely in it, to open myself up to it, to listen.

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      • You ask a really good, complicated question, and my answer will reveal my philosophical biases.

        a) When it comes to truth I’m with the 19th c. American philosopher Charles Peirce (see especially “The Fixation of Belief” and “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”). I think he’s basically right to see truth as our best guess at explaining reality as we engage it, but we always need to be open to correction, both from it and from the global community (especially those who see it differently).

        b) In terms of the divine I’m a strange mixture of of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. I believe in the primacy of revelation (Barth) and the idea of God as a ground of being (Tillich) that defies our categories. In short, I think there is something greater, and religion (and to a lesser extent philosophy) is our best attempt at approaching it.

        c) In terms of the Bible, the best advice I ever got was from professor Doug Stuart. He knew 14 languages, but believed firmly that if people simply compared English translations they could go a long way to appreciating the nuances and problems with the original texts. Where the translations diverge the most is (generally) where the greatest problems are in the manuscripts.

        d) And this brings me back to my Barthian (and really, Calvin) side: if God is real (and this works in either the sense of Tillich or Augustine), then God can reveal himself (herself…pronouns and gender for another exchange…) in any way, through any medium, in any language. Or to put it another way, no one language is sufficient to encompass revelation, not even the Greek or Hebrew. That is, God can reveal himself every bit as much through the Masoretic text as through the Living Bible. That’s not to say we should be content with careless translations. Rather, that there is no inerrant text. We possess no manuscript that can claim to be so. Every text is a translation, an interpretation.

        e) I used to get angry at pastors who would go on about the Greek of this and the Hebrew of that, even though I spent all my time in those texts. I always felt like it sent exactly the wrong message to the congregation: that we had some special access to revelation, and they did not. So all that is to say, and apologies for taking so long to (sloppily and poorly) answer your question: I was always happy to meet people where they were at, with whatever translation they were using. I loved to listen to their reading, the insights they had, the problems they saw. I would then go from there to the next step to point them towards other translations and tools. I never wanted to assume I had the only angle hermeneutically.

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  5. Matt - Broods, Butterflies, and Bible says:

    So I’m a seminary graduate so my personal study habits/methods are a little different than what I would recommend to most people, but there are a few things I think are really good general guidelines that will help anyone.

    The first thing I usually recommend is to have plan. If you just flop open the Bible and go with whatever verse your finger lands on, you lose a lot of context that is critical to understand. In general, I would say a good study begins with a decision to study something specifically such as a particular book in the Bible, a certain doctrine, etc. This allows you to focus your effort.

    The second thing I recommend is to have a process. I follow the historical-grammatical approach to interpreting Scripture (sometimes erroneously called the “literal” approach). It generally goes something like this:
    1 – Read the text
    2 – Understand what the text meant to original audience
    2a – This often involves word studies
    2b – Consider the historical context
    2c – Consider the chapter context (then book, then books by same author, then NT/OT, then whole Bible)
    3 – Identify the commonalities between the original audience and you/your culture
    4 – Pull out principles that apply universally (to them and to you)
    5 – Apply the principle to your situation

    As far as resources to use for study, that entirely depends on what level you’re studying on. As a scholar, I used Greek/Hebrew lexicons, exegetical commentaries, and theology/history/archaeology type textbooks. A newer Christian may want a devotional commentary or just be fine with their concordance. You may want to be somewhere in the middle of that spectrum…it all depends on how deep you want to go. For specific resources and study aids, it all depends on what you want to study.

    Hope that helps.

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  6. Lynn – one of my absolute favorite tools is biblehub.com. I use it almost extensively when putting together bible studies at work. It has a plethora of commentaries on each verse to draw from as well as biblical dictionaries to look up particular topics. I use the interlinear function too, to look at the original Greek and Hebrew behind the translated words. Great question and I love the passionate responses! God bless.

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  7. I pick a book and read a chapter (or two) ever day and highlight/journal about verses that stand out to me and how I can incorporate them in my life. I often do blog posts as a reflection of my some of the verses that stick out to me if you want to check them out!

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