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Bibliology - Week 11 - How to Study the Bible (Part 2)

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In this lesson, we will continue our study on how to study the Bible properly

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Introduction

Welcome back to our class. Let’s pray, then begin.
Pray
Today we are in our second week of How to Study the Bible. Last week, we started by going over our OICA method, which stands for observation, interpretation, correlation and application.

A Simplified Method

You know, there was something that I was intending to show you before we got into the whole OICA method. And I simply forgot. So I want to take a step back and just show you a simpler method, in case you are pressed for time.
Show ‘Swedish method’ handout
This is a paper I found while I was preparing for a Spiritual Retreat a number of years back. And I really like it. There isn’t 100 steps to it. It’s just a simple sheet. And if you are pressed for time, here is something you can do to study the Bible.
It starts with picking a passage. You write that down in the middle of the page, where it says, ‘Bible passage’.
Then, as you read, you’ll record some of your thoughts. First you’ll see a light bulb. That stands for something that ‘shines’ from the passage – whatever impacts most, or draws attention.
Next, you’ll see a section with a question mark. This stands for anything that is difficult to understand in the text, or a question the reader would like investigate further. If you have time, you can try to answer those questions.
Third, you’ll see an arrow. That stands for personal application that you gain from the text.
And it’s that simple! Again, this isn’t as thorough as the larger method I’m teaching you here. But I think it can come in handy when you’re pressed for time.
So let’s practice it. Before we go any further, let’s just use this to study our Bibles.
Normally, you would pick your own passage, but for today, let’s all do the same passage.
Let’s do: _____
We’ll take some time, just to read it individually, then mark up your paper with your thoughts. Then after a few minutes, we’ll share them with our group!
Do simplified sheet, share findings.

Resuming Where We Left Off...

Ok. So that was a good exercise. Let’s resume our more detailed method that we began last week. If we go back into our OICA method, you’ll recal that we started on the observation step. And if you recall, we did the exercise where we looked at and made divisions. The point of that assignment was to show you that before you do any kind of deep study, it is helpful to first figure out where your pericope (your section of text) starts and ends. And I think you probably learned a lot about just by doing that exercise!
So all of that was Observation, Step 1:

O – OBSERVATION – Notice what the text says and I - INTERPRETATION – decipher what it means

**(These two often go together)
Set the limits of your study.
Define the extent of your passage.
Don’t just study a sentence.
Instead, consider a pericope (per-ih-coe-pee) as the most important unit of thought.
A pericope is just a fancy word for a section of text (one paragraph or a collection of paragraphs) that is related in its subject matter.
Determine what your pericope is by looking at the chapters surrounding your passage, and marking where it starts and ends.
Determine the relationship of your pericope to what surrounds it.
Determine the limits of the pericopes before and after yours.
Determine what the relationship is between your passage and the ones before and after it.
When possible, read the entire book that contains your passage of study.
Now that brings us to Step 2:
Observe differences in translations.
Choose a primary translation to use for study (i.e., ESV).
Compare a few translations side by side (NIV, NASB and KJV are all good. Don’t use paraphrases like the New Living or the Message at this stage).
Ignore differences that aren’t significant.
Note any significant differences in translation.
(compare translations of - do this together)
That example wasn’t very dramatic. So let’s go on to one that has some greater differences.
(compare translation of 2 peter 1:16-21 - do in groups)
Now, once you do this, this doesn’t really reveal to you which translation is best. But it at least raises some questions to investigate in a study Bible, or in commentaries.
Show how this can be done on Biblegateway, and Logos. These tools can make text comparison easier.
Next….
Ask questions of your passage and answer them.
Use who, what, where, why, and how.
Fill out questions paper on Luke 12
Watch Look at the book on
Now that you’ve seen how you can dive into the text more fully. You know what the secret behind it is? Time. The key to everything I’m giving you here is time. Like Piper said, Bible study really is meditating on a passage to see what you can learn. So, perhaps the best advice I could give you is that if you really want to sit down and be serious about Bible study sometime, the best thing you can do for yourself is declare a period of time where you won’t work on anything else. Give yourself 30 minutes or even an hour, where you are not going to do anything else. That will be the single most important step that you can do to ensure that you will be successful.
“But Pastor Dave,” you might say, “What if I give myself the proper time, but I’m just staring at the text? What if nothing is popping out at me?” Well, that’s when you use this method. Determine the start and end points of your pericope, like we did last week. Compare translations. And ask questions. And here’s where we pick up in our lesson.
As point 3, letter a. said, ask questions, using who, what, where, why and how..
Examine historical background of the writer.
Who is the author?
Who are the recipients? (Are they Jewish? Gentile? Where are they located, and what is their relationship to the author?)
What are the circumstances in which the letter was written (the author’s, the recipients).
Examine the historical background of the story described in your passage.
Look up cultural or historical concepts that Scripture does not explain, such as clothing, customs, units of measure, food, civilizations, and geography.
A Bible dictionary, atlas, or encyclopedia will help with this information.
Use the surrounding context to answer questions you might have.
If you are unsure of what the author means, look in the immediate context.
If that does not help, look at the entire chapter, book, or all the Bible.Study specific words or termsStudy words/terms that are confusing, or ones that repeat or are significant.Repeated words or concepts often can help you determine the theme of the passage.Use Logos Software, Strong’s numbers, or something similar to discover the original meaning of the Greek/Hebrew word, not the English word. Also, notice how that same Grk./Heb. word is used throughout Scripture.Discover the relationship between clauses.Look for key words that tend to separate clauses like: for, because, therefore, so that, in order that, if, but, likewise, etc.Ask what relationships the different clauses have to one another.Use these clauses to get the ‘big picture’. - Try to find the main point of the passage.Use commentaries, to raise questions that you hadn’t thought of originally, or to answer any questions you haven’t been able to resolve.Be willing to admit when the Bible doesn’t give a clear answer for one of your questions. Now you know how to ask questions. How do you answer them?With information from surrounding context. (For example – why would Jesus say “Fear not little flock?” - That could be one question. Well, the answer is “Because they might be anxious about their food or clothing –where they are going to get these things. (From )Use Bible Study Materials Give list of Bible Study Materials. Another great resource is just knowing how to Google something.Picture of How to Google it
If that does not help, look at the entire chapter, book, or all the Bible.
Study specific words or terms.
Study words/terms that are confusing, or ones that repeat or are significant.
Repeated words or concepts often can help you determine the theme of the passage.
Use Logos Software, Strong’s numbers, or something similar to discover the original meaning of the Greek/Hebrew word, not the English word. Also, notice how that same Grk./Heb. word is used throughout Scripture.
Discover the relationship between clauses.
Look for key words that tend to separate clauses like: for, because, therefore, so that, in order that, if, but, likewise, etc.
Ask what relationships the different clauses have to one another.
Use these clauses to get the ‘big picture’. - Try to find the main point of the passage.
Use commentaries, to raise questions that you hadn’t thought of originally, or to answer any questions you haven’t been able to resolve.
Be willing to admit when the Bible doesn’t give a clear answer for one of your questions.
Now you know how to ask questions. How do you answer them?With information from surrounding context. (For example – why would Jesus say “Fear not little flock?” - That could be one question. Well, the answer is “Because they might be anxious about their food or clothing –where they are going to get these things. (From )Use Bible Study Materials Give list of Bible Study Materials. Another great resource is just knowing how to Google something.Picture of How to Google it
Now you know how to ask questions. How do you answer them?
With information from surrounding context. (For example – why would Jesus say “Fear not little flock?” - That could be one question. Well, the answer is “Because they might be anxious about their food or clothing –where they are going to get these things. (From )
Use Bible study resources, such as:
Bible Dictionaries
Concordances
Commentaries
Topical Bibles
Bible Atlases
Lexicons
Give list of Bible Study Materials.
*Many of these resources are available online.
*Another great resource is just knowing how to Google something!
Picture of How to Google it

C - CORRELATION – Connect Scripture together.

Look for other passages of Scripture that might relate to / shed light on your passage of study.
Use cross references in your Bible. These are often marked by superscripted letters and listed in a column next to the Scripture. (Note: remember that these cross-references are not inspired, and vary from translation to translation).
Search for certain people/places/things/terms that appear in your passage, using an online Bible or Bible study software.
Use a topical Bible resource or go to www.openbible.info/topics/ for other possible related topics.
Note that this site is entirely user-generated and may use verses that do not apply to the topic you are studying.

A - APPLICATION – Relate the Scripture to modern life.

Using what you’ve learned from the previous steps, determine applications from the passage.
Ask – is my passage meant to:
Teach me an important truth…
Impress upon my heart something that should stir my emotions or…
Motivate me to action?
(Each passage usually has only one of these primary functions)
Examine once again what the main point of your passage is. Make sure your application is centered around it.
Think of how this passage applies to many different types of people – men, women, in school, in relationship to others, in relationship to a job, for those who are spiritually mature, for those who are new to the faith, etc.
Make sure your application follows from the text (Don’t import your own ideas into the Bible, but allow the passage to speak for itself).
Apply the passage to yourself before you instruct others.
Pray about what you have learned. Ask God to change yourself before you think of other people ‘who need to hear/read this passage’.
Thank God in prayer for what you have learned!
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