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Bible Study Steps

 I        Survey

A)   This involves getting an overview of the whole book or section of Scripture being studied.

B)    A Survey reveals something of the background and the main divisions of the book, and allows us to go on to study the details without losing sight of the whole.

 II     Observation

A)   This is carefully going over the text to see what is going on, the “who, what, where, when, how, and why.” 

B)    This is done by teaching you how to pull out the facts through the nature of Scripture and how to avoid presumptions and fallacies, because God’s Word speaks for itself.

 III           Interpretation

A)   This is taking what is said and finding out what the text mean.

B)    How to interpret literally in the correct context. That is we never take out of God’s Word what is not there, or read in our will as His.

 IV   Correlate

A)   Part of the process of Interpretation involves Correlation: relating the text to its context and to the rest of Scripture.

B)    Scripture cannot contradict itself

C)    Therefore, our interpretation can never be at odds with any other scripture

 V    Application

A)   This is taking the plain meaning and putting it to practical use. 

B)    This is the, ‘how shall I respond’ to the Word.

C)    How am I going to apply this to my life?

1) Personal development

2) At home

3) At work

4) In the world

D)   How does this affect my relationship with the world in general?

 VI   Cautions

A)   Don’t make the Bible say what you want

B)    The Bible will speak for itself; we need to listen and learn

C)    What we learn must align with the nature and character of Christ


The Bible as Literature


I        The Bible is a book composed of many different types of literature.  We need to identify the type in our study because each type requires a different approach.


II   Types of literature: 

A)   History

1) Gives an historical account

2) Gives a picture of God’s people in the world

B)    Prophecies

1) Relates God’s words to the people at that time

2) Many times the prophecies use figurative language with many complicated images

3) Thus, we can seldom “figure out” prophecy without divine help

4) We look for the implications for the people at that time and for us today

5) Some prophecies have already come to pass; others have not

C)     Parables

1) A short story with a specific moral lesson

2) Jesus often taught using parables

3) We need to identify the situation surrounding the parable

4) We need to carefully identify the symbols, characters, allusions, and settings within the parable

D)   Poetry

1) Involves use of images:  similes, metaphors, allusions, hyperbole, etc

2) Often must not be taken literally

3) Use the poetry to bring out a deeper meaning

E)    Laws

1) Often considered “dry” reading

2) List of do’s and don’ts

3) Many may no longer apply to our lives today (sacrifices) but they can reveal the character of God


F)    Narratives

1) Stories

2) No matter how many times we have heard a Bible story, we can still learn from it

3) We must approach these stories as true and not “lesson” stories

G)    Each type of literature requires its own study techniques



Old Testament




Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy


The Law

Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther


History of the Jewish people

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs



Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel


Major Prophets

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


Minor Prophets


New Testament




Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts


Life of Jesus

Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James


The Letters

1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude