Different Bible Study Methods
First, make up your mind that you will put some time into the study of the Bible. Below are several Bible Study methods. Consider the following options, but remember to choose one. Regular reading in God's Word is not optional. It's a necessity!
IMPORTANT: The Bible Study Methods are given in the order of simplicity, beginning with the easiest for new Christians and more in depth at the end for developing Christians.
1. The Devotional Method
Select a short passage of Scripture and meditate on it. Visualize the scene or the narrative. Put yourself into the biblical situation as an active participant.
What would I say?
How do I feel?
Read through the passage several times, emphasizing a different word each time. Rephrase the passage in your own words to personalize it.
Write out an application that is personal, practical, and possible.
Ask yourself, does this application help me become more like Jesus?
While your time is valuable in this fast-paced world we live in, we encourage to check out our many different ways to have a devotional time with God each day here. It is the most critical decision you will make for eternity. GUARANTEED!
Learn much more about the Devotional Method of Study here
Download the PDF devotional chart here (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
2. Chapter Summary Method
Recommended you should read a chapter of a Bible book at least five times, and then write down a summary of the central thoughts as well as the major points in the chapter.
Here are some suggestions to follow:
Make a list of the most important people.
Why are they included?
Choose a verse which summarizes the whole chapter or one which speaks to you personally.
List any difficulties you may have with the chapter (such as statements you don't understand), questions, and keywords of the chapter.
Look for other verses that help clarify what the chapter is talking about.
What are the major principles, insights, and lessons?
Why does God want this passage in the Bible?
Ask yourself a series of questions relating to the content of the chapter, and ending with a general summary of the chapter.
Divide the chapter into its natural sections and find headings for them that describe their contents.
Write down the leading facts of the chapter in their proper order.
Make a note of the persons mentioned in the chapter and of any analysis of their character.
Think of what might be the central truth of the chapter, along with the key verses.
Read much more on the Chapter Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 10 Steps to a Successful Chapter Reading.
Download Chapter Summary Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
More details on Bible Study Chapter by Chapter Methods here.
3. Character Study Method
Select a Bible character and research all the verses about that person to study his or her life and characteristics. Make notes on his or her attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses, and show how Bible truths are illustrated in his or her life. Live with that person during the study, walk in his or her shoes. See how he or she thinks, feels, and responds to circumstances. Choose a character quality you would like to work on yourself and study what the Bible says about it. Select a situation in your own life to work on and memorize a verse that speaks to you.
Read much more on the Character Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 9 Steps to a Successful Character Reading.
Download Character Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
Use Bible reference books to increase your understanding of the period in the Bible characters life. You can read online or download and print Bible maps and Biblical times here. In character studies having a map, history and culture of that period as you are reading makes the Bible character come alive.
Recommend our two-week short-term character reading plans here.
4. Theme Bible Study Method (Thematic Method)
Select a Bible theme to study:
In the theme (thematic) method of Bible study, you will approach a theme within the Bible and perform a basic study of it. It is shorter than the Topical Method of Bible study, which comes later in these notes, and is much less exhaustive in its scope. In a topical study you would examine each possible verse that relates to your topic of study, including each sub-theme; in a thematic study, you will study only those verses that apply directly to a single theme.
Read much more on the Theme Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 6 Steps to a Successful Theme Reading.
Download Theme Bible Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
More on Bible Reading Studying Methods here.
5. Biographical Study Method
Biographical study is a method that examines the lives of the people in the Bible. A Biographical study of the Bible has much appeal because people are interested in others’ experiences. The people of the Bible demonstrate actions we can imitate and faults we must avoid. We can look at one incident in the life of a Bible character, or we can survey the entire experience.
How can you get to know people of the Bible better? How can you learn from the mistakes they made? How can you profit from their godly lives so that you inherit the promises they have inherited? How can you come to appreciate them as real though imperfect human beings like yourself? By studying the people of the Bible.
Read much more on the Biographical Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 11 Steps to a Successful Biographical method of reading.
Download Biographical Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
6. Topical Bible Study
According to R. A. Torrey in How to Study the Bible for Greatest Profit, Bible students should take up various subjects, one by one, and search the Bible for what it has to say on these subjects. Collect and compare all the verses you can find on a particular topic. Select a biblical subject and trace it through a single book. Compile a list of words, collect Bible references, consider each one, and compare and group the references.
Organize your conclusions into an outline that you can share with another person. It may be essential to know what great men and women have to say on important subjects, but it is far more important to know what God has to say on these subjects. It is essential, also, to know all that God has to say.
The topical method of Bible study is most straightforward, most fascinating, and yields the greatest immediate results. Sometimes it will be necessary to look up other subjects that are closely related to the one in question. For example, if you wish to study what the teaching of God's Word is regarding the Atonement, you will not only look under the heading "Atonement" but also under the heading "Blood." More on Topical Study Methods recommend reading Topical Bible Study Methods by Rev. R. A. Torrey here.
Read much more on the Topical Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 6 Steps to a Successful Topical Method of reading.
Download Topical Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
7. The Word Study Method
Study the important words of the Bible.
Find out how many times a word occurs in Scripture and how it is used.
Find out the original meaning of the word.
Compare translations, check the word's occurrences, and find the root meaning.
Write an application.
Read much more on the Word Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 8 Steps to a Successful Word Method of reading.
Download Word Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
Much more on studying the Bible word study here.
8. Book Background Method
The Book Background Method of Bible Study involves gaining a better understanding of the biblical message by researching the background related to the passage, person, event, or topic being studied. This involves understanding the geography, historical events, culture, and political environment at the time a particular part of the Bible was written.
For people to gain a better sense of a passage in the Bible, they must know the biblical background of the time. The reason being is because since times had changed drastically from when these passages were written and it is harder for the reader to understand the importance of the history spoken if they do not have knowledge of the culture of the time at our Bible Resource Tools section.
Read much more on the Book Background Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 8 Steps to a Successful Book Background Method of reading.
Download Background Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
9. Book By Book Survey Method
Survey an entire book of the Bible by reading it through several times to get a general overview of its contents. Study the background of the book and make notes on its contents—the history, geography, culture, science, people, events, and topics covered. Outline and chart the key events and themes in our Bible Resource Tools section
Use Bible reference books to increase your understanding of the Bible. Recommend buying a Bible map book with history and culture included using with reading any book of the Bible. Or you can read online or download free and print Bible maps and Biblical times here at our Reference/Resource Tools here. In book survey studies having a map, history and culture of that period as you are reading makes God's journey through the Bible come alive.
Read much more on the Book Survey Method of Bible Study with Tools - Hints - 6 Steps to a Successful Book Survey Method of reading.
Download Book by Book Survey Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
In doing a book survey of the Bible, we recommend one of our 70 Bible Reading Plans here.
10. Chapter Analysis Method
Before you learn how to write a good chapter analysis, you need to know what analysis is. Let's begin by telling you what it's not: an analysis is not a chapter summary method. An analysis involves using specific evidence from the text and explaining how it relates to a particular theme of what you're reading. It also involves explaining the author's purpose for using specific elements of literature.
The best way of subdividing a book of the Bible is to use the chapter divisions, since these are generally accurate, and to study each chapter in detail. You will examine each paragraph, sentence, and word in a detailed and systematic manner.
Read much more on the Chapter Analysis Method of Bible Study with: Tools - Hints - 7 Steps to a Successful Chapter Analysis Method of reading.
Download Chapter Analysis Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
11. Book Synthesis Method of Bible Study
Definition of synthesis - the combination of components or elements to form a connected whole.
Synthetic Bible study gives you a complete overview of a book of the Bible, presenting the big picture of God’s message and actions. This type of study seeks an overview of a Bible book without getting lost in a web of details.
The word synthesis indicates the putting together of the discrete items that together compose a whole. Thus in the Book Synthesis Method of Bible study, we will put back together the details we extracted from the book through our previous two studies of Method 9 Survey Method and Method 10 Chapter Analysis Method.
Survey (Method 9 - Book Survey Method) - obtain a detailed overview of a particular book of the Bible.
Analysis (Method 10 - Chapter Analysis Method) - study each chapter of the book in great detail.
Synthesis (Method 11 - Book Synthesis Method) - take what you learned in the previous two study stages and put it all back together, conclusions as you go and gaining an appreciation of the whole of the book.
Read much more on the Book Synthesis Method of Bible Study with Tools - Hints - 5 Steps to a Successful Book Synthesis Method of reading.
Download Book Synthesis Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
12. Verse-by-Verse Study Method
Select one passage of Scripture and examine it in detail:
Write out a personal paraphrase.
List some questions and observations.
Record any insights.
Write down a brief personal application for each verse.
Read much more on the Verse by Verse Study of the Bible with Tools - Hints - 5 Steps to a Successful Book Verse by Verse Method of reading here.
Download Verse by Verse Study Method PDF Chart (print and keep a copy in your Bible.)
More on studying the Bible verse by verse here.