Other Related Pages


Observation: Paragraph Titles, Charting, Background, Style, Structure, Integration of Style & Structure, Conjunctions, Structural Laws, Analytical Diagram & Observation Chart, Word Studies, Figures of Speech, Parallelisms

Interpretation: History, Interpretative Phrases




The purpose of these pages is to build up the reader's skills in the study of the Bible through the use of methodical Bible study. He would have the skill to use the Bible, Itself, as his primary tool to study Scripture rather than a commentary. These pages will especially be helpful to someone who has never had formal training in Bible study.


  1. The Bible in its original manuscripts is considered to be God's absolutely inerrant revelation to mankind and to be the ultimate authority in faith, in practice, and in any other subject about which It speaks.

This area of doctrine is beyond the topic of Bible study but is a presupposition in all that follows.

  1. Bible Study is important because It gives the reader information necessary for salvation.

". . . from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15, NASV)."

In Acts 8:26-40, a non-believer, an Ethiopian eunuch, who was reading Isaiah 53:7-8, trusted in Christ and His work on the cross once he understood that the prophecy had been fulfilled in Christ.

  1. Bible Study is important because It gives the reader information necessary for living a godly life.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NASV)."

  1. Believing students who study the Bible can understand Its meaning.

"And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading (Nehemiah 8:8, NASV)."

This passage indicates that "laymen" relying on a version (translation) of the Bible successfully understood Its meaning.

There is some controversy about whether the listeners were hearing a commentary or a translation. the exact Hebrew word used is only used here in all of ancient Hebrew literature. According to the Ryrie Study Bible, page 710, Nehemiah was written between 445 and 425 BC. The teaching of Rabbis writing around AD 175-247 was that the listeners heard a translation in Aramaic. There is evidence indicating that Aramaic translations of the original Hebrew were used in Jewish synagogues dating at least to 150-100 BC. Since the Rabbis knew what was taking place in 150-100 BC, as much as 397 years before they wrote, it is not impossible that they also knew what was happening an additional 275 years earlier. Some of this information is from Edwin M. Yamauchi, Ezra-Nehemiah, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, volume 4, page 725. However, Yamauchi reaches a different conclusion.

Jewish exiles returning to their county may not have had opportunity to learn Hebrew because Aramaic was the universal language used in the countries to which they had been exiled.

The NASV translation, that indicates the listeners heard a translation, is probably correct.

  1. Men who study the Bible can accumulate the knowledge needed to meet the knowledge qualification for elders.

"An overseer then must be . . . learned (1 Timothy 3:2, author's translation)."

Other translations say, "apt to teach" instead of "learned." However, the only meaning supported by the actual usages of the word is "learned." Rengstorf also understands the word to mean "learned" (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, volume 2, page 165).

The local church leader must be learned in the Word because his priority function is ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4).

Thus we can expect that local church leaders and others gifted in the minsitry of the Word can achieve the necessary amount of Biblical knowledge by studying the Bible.


  1. Potentially Dangerous Methods

  1. Looking for Promises

The student may be careless and apply to him promises meant for others (e.g., the apostles).

  1. Devotional

The emphasis in this method may just be to make the student feel good rather than to get the proper meaning from the text.

  1. Doctrinal

This method can degenerate into finding proof texts to prove an understanding brought to the "study."

  1. The best method is methodical Bible study.

  1. Definition

Robert A. Traina has written a classic on this topic called, Methodical Bible Study. He defines Methodical Bible Study in the following manner: "Methodical Bible study, . . . is concerned with the proper path to be taken in order to arrive at Scriptural truth. More specifically, it involves the discovery of those steps necessary for achieving its goal and their arrangement in a logical and effective manner (page 5)."

  1. Characteristics

Traina also states the characteristics of proper Bible study:

  1. Specifically, methodical Bible study as taught in these web pages involves three steps:

  1. Notations of details are made in the observation step.

  1. The relationships between the observations are then devised in the interpretation step that has as its fruit a phrase that summarizes the interpretation.

  1. Finially an application is developed that is appropriate to the student's situation.

  1. Assignment

In preparation for the next session, Paragraph Titles, read the Book of Habakkuk.

  1. Credit

These pages on Bible study borrow heavily from Kenneth W. Bowles, A Program for Training Non-Vocational Preachers among the Plymouth Brethren, A Major Project Submitted to the Faculty in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1982.

HOME 2001-2002, Ken Bowles - September 30, 2010, Edition

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