[From my Christian Brother Daniel Dickey
Using the Four Steps to Study Bible Texts
Try using the four steps on a text of your choice from any Bible book. All you need is a Bible, a pen, some paper, and about 30 minutes.
1. Pray: Pray before and throughout your study of the Bible
Start by praising and worshiping God. Confess your sins. Ask God for the Holy Spirit's help so you can correctly understand and apply God's Word to your life today. Do not proceed to the next step until you have done this.
2. Say: What does the text say?
Select a text to study from any Bible Book. Write the reference (book, chapter, and verse) here:
Now read the text carefully and study the text you chose. All observations should be based on what the text actually says. Write your observations here.
Some Additional Guidance
Observe: Ask questions like…
- Who is talking?
- What is the theme?
- Where is this happening?
- When is this happening?
- Why did this happen?
- How is god working?
3. Mean: What does the text mean in its context?
Determine what the author intended to communicate to the first readers according to the context. The following questions will help you do this for your text.
What is the immediate context for the text you chose? (Hint: use paragraph breaks, subtitles, and chapter breaks to help you.) . What is the larger context? Remember that it always helps to study a larger context than is necessary, but studying too small a context can lead to error.
Now read at least the immediate context and answer the following question to the best of your ability. For some texts, you may need to read a larger context. According to the context, what did the author intend your text to communicate to the first readers?
Briefly write down any questions you have about what the text means. These questions can be helpful for future study. God can use them to help you understand the Bible better.
The complete context of every text also includes the language, the culture, the historical background, and the setting of the author and first readers. Helpful resources would be a Study Bible, Bible Dictionary, Bible Encyclopedia, Greek Lexicon and Interlinear/Reverse Interlinear Bible.
4. Apply: How will I apply this text to my life today?
Whenever we study the Scriptures we should also determine what God is saying to us personally and make a plan to put that into practice. To do that, you can ask God, "What do You want me to do as a result of my study of Your Word?"
While praying, make a practical plan to apply what you have learned from God's Word to your life. To make a plan, answer the following questions:
• What will I do?
• When will I do it?
• Where will I do it?
• How will I do it?
Review your plan. Is it something you can do today? Does it include a way for you to know when you have completed it? If not, revise your plan.
Here is an Acrostic to help Apply God's Word
PRECEPTS: Prayer to pray, Reason to praise, Error to avoid, Command to obey, Example to follow, Promise to claim, Truth to believe, Sin to Confess.
So remember PRECEPTS and after studying the text ask yourself, is there a…
- Prayer to pray
- Reason to praise
- Error to avoid
- Command to obey
- Example to follow
- Promise to claim
- Truth to believe
- Sin to Confess
From my Christian brother Daniel Dickey