Living by the Book [A Methodological Approach in Biblical Studies] Introduction Understanding the Bible is not that easy to do.
The context of the entire book stresses a certain deepness that is not that easy to comprehend with. Certainly, the procedure in studying the Bible is then perceived to have more complicated vitalities. How then could an individual understand the Bible without actually going to theological institutions and getting a formal education? Are individual owners of the Bible given the privilege to understand the Bible? Certainly! The Bible is made available and understandable to anybody wanting to gain knowledge from it. The procedure to be taken is not based upon quite an arranged system that is followed in formal institutions of theology.
Opposite from what people think, studying the Bible is quite easy. What’s not easy is the fact that there are required elements of being scripturally convinced of an individual before the success of the said study could be expected. There are at least six major elements of being scripturally convinced (Swindoll, 16); and at least 12 major procedures of studying the Bible (Swindoll, 17). These elements and procedures would be the entire context of this paper’s discussion. Elements of Scriptural Convincing Before an individual even starts to study the Bible, he must be primarily convinced that he really believes the principles and the laws that are found in the Bible.
How does one assure himself of this truth? The following elements shall help him have a clear understanding of this particular truth. Conviction of the truth that he needs to depend upon God’s lawsA person’s conviction that he indeed needs the strength and the guidance of God to be able to live a fruitful life is the primary basis of his faith upon the guidance of God that is outlined in the Bible. Once he does realize this fact, he is then motivated to start his Bible study with a more certain optimism in is vision towards the result of the Bible education that he is about to get. “For this means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you and of the one whom you sent forth Jesus Christ” (John 17:3)Getting the accurate knowledge about the truth is a necessary element of conviction if a person is about to study the Scriptures.
Willingness to LearnThis motivation is strengthened still more by an accurate knowledge of God’s purposes. Such knowledge helps to change the very ‘force actuating our minds,’ the spirit that motivates our thoughts and actions. (Ephesians 4:23, 24). An individual’s willingness to learn the basic knowledge about life that the Bible offers certainly identifies the ability of the person to actually absorb the lessons that he would primarily grasp form the Bible. Determination to change and apply the principles of God’s wordsIN THE middle of the first century C.E., the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christian congregation in Rome. In it he highlighted the requirement that true Christians had to make changes.
He said: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Once the lessons of the Bible have been introduced to an individual, it is necessary that the individual acts upon the needs of adjusting one’s personality in accord with the policies and principles of the Holy Scriptures. Willingness to adjust one’s personality according to the ways of God“The word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it.”—Colossians 3:9, 10. The verses of the scriptures cited above are indeed effective in applying the element of studying the Bible that pertains to personality change.
The willingness and the motivation of the individual to change his paths in life certainly identifies his ability to change his personality in accordance with the Bible’s suggested path of understanding life and living with it. Ability to communicate with God in fervent prayers“Persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12) By prayer we address Jehovah, praise him, thank him, and ask for his help. If we ask for help to overcome undesirable personality traits, such as a bad temper, stubbornness, impatience, or pride, God’s spirit will back up any efforts we make in harmony with that prayer.—John 14:13, 14; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14. The ability of people to understand the privilege that they have in terms of communicating with God through prayers help them gain more confidence and faith on whatever they are able to grasp from primarily studying the word of God.
Interest in learning not only the major parts of the Bible but the entire book as it isThe Bible contains 66 books in two sections, often called the Old Testament and the New Testament. Thirty-nine Bible books were written mainly in Hebrew and 27 in Greek. The Hebrew Scriptures, consisting of Genesis through Malachi, cover creation as well as the first 3,500 years of human history. Examining this part of the Bible, we learn about God’s dealings with the Israelites—from their birth as a nation in the 16th century B.C.E. on into the 5th century B.
C.E. The Greek Scriptures, containing the books of Matthew through Revelation, focus on the teachings and activities of Jesus Christ and his disciples during the first century C.E.
(Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life, 16). Certainly, from this particular claim, the Bible could be viewed as a book with a singular theme that leads to one’s understanding of the necessity that an individual studying the Bible should study not only several portions of the Bible but the entire book as well. These elements are indeed to be preset within the mind of the individual who aims to study and apply the biblical principles that are embedded within the context of the entire Biblical theme. To understand the effects of the said elements on individual Bible students, the following diagram shall be presented:Diagram 1: The impact of the elements of convictionupon a Bible student Diagram Explanation:The diagram above shows how much the circles containing the elements of conviction affects the learning motivation of the students. As a result, the become more convinced to continue progressing in their study and thus progress as well in their application of the major lessons that they learn from the Bible.
True, the application of the elements of conviction before actually studying the bible helps an individual collectively arrange the procedures of learning as to how they fit their needs. The following paragraphs shall discuss on the twelve major methods of studying the Bible:1 – Method One – The Devotional Method of Bible Study Method one is a method that pertains more on the divine conviction of the student in learning the Bible. The desire of the student based upon his desire in becoming a person who follows the principles of the Bible conscientiously is the primary reason for him to continue learning the basic principles of the Bible. 2 – Method Two – The Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study Every chapter in the Bible is of high importance in connection with the main theme that the Bible intends to portray for its readers. The summarizing procedure that a student does to be able to come up with a single conclusion of what has been read every time the Bible study ends, helps the students recognize the importance of each chapter within their lives.
3 – Method Three – The Character Quality Method of Bible Study The early Christians of the 1st century have left a pattern for the present Christian to follow. Their capability of dealing with the challenges that they had to face way back them and the characteristics and the consequences of their decision certainly have an impact on how the Christians at present act towards the different issues in the society as well as with their personal lives. 4 – Method Four – The Thematic Method of Bible Study Thematic method is based upon the evaluation of the student of the sub-themes of the bible that primarily pertains to the entire theme of the Scriptures which is pointed to the purpose of God for the lives of humans on earth. This method helps the student understand the different idealisms presented in the Bibles and thus get the entire thought of actually applying them within the social and personal activities of the individual himself. 5 – Method Five – The Biographical Method of Bible Study The lives of the people within the historical accounts of the Bible leave a strong impact upon the personality of the people today. Studying their biographical backgrounds would not only increase the knowledge of a student about biblical characters, it would also increase the possibility of the individuals familiarity with what the said characters did and how they fared so far with the decisions that they made. Hence, by this, the student is equipped with the wisdom that he needs to face and decide for his life.
6 – Method Six – The Topical Method of Bible Study Topical method encourages the student to focus on certain topics that primarily interest him. Since the topics interest him, it is not impossible that it would be easier fro him to grasp the lesson’s importance. 7 – Method Seven – The Word Study Method of Bible Study This is more of enriching ones knowledge based upon the different vocabularies that are found in the Bible. The vocabulary-based meaning of the context would certainly help the student locate the connection of each Bible book with reach other through the thematic approach of the presentation of the vocabularies of the entire context of the Bible. 8 – Method Eight – The Book Background Method of Bible Study Knowing the Bible’s history and how it has been passed on from generations to generation and how it has been preserved amidst all the Christian persecution during the early Years of Christianity helps the students understand how important the Bible really is.
9 – Method Nine – The Book Survey Method of Bible Study Book survey involves the evaluation of the Biblical theme based form book to book. Once students glance on the book and immediately recognize the ideas presented in theta particular book, then the said method has been utilized effectively by the student. 10 – Method Ten – The Chapter Analysis Method of Bible Study Chapter analysis helps the students get the gist of every chapter and thus be bale to explain the said ideas to others when the chapters are being discussed.
11 – Method Eleven – The Book Synthesis Method of Bible Study The condensing of the lessons that were previously studied and carrying them into becoming a single conclusion, it could be noted that the theme of the Bible is certain and thus through this method, the proof of such claim could be well established. 12 – Method Twelve – The Verse by Verse Method of Bible Study Each verse is important in creating the main theme of the bible. Studying each verse and understanding how they are able to affect the lives of the students both personally and socially determines the success of the application of this particular method.
Conclusion IT IS only reasonable that our loving Creator would provide a book of instruction and guidance for mankind. More than 2,500 years ago, a prophet and historian wrote: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Today, the truthfulness of that statement is more evident than ever. Thus, historian William H. McNeill notes: “The human adventure on the face of this planet has been an almost uninterrupted series of crises and disruptions of society’s established order.
” (Knowledge that leads to everlasting life, 19) True, with the certain methods and elements of studying the Bible presented herein, it could be observed that being able to understand the Bible clearly indeed provides the best benefits that one could ever get form informal yet highly-established procedure of studying. References: THE BIBLE STUDY METHODS. http://www.
eachnewday.com/HowToStudyTheBible/the_Bible_study_methods.htm. (May 10, 2007). Charles R. Swindoll.
(2006). Living by the Book Methods of Bible Study. Thomas Nelson Publishing. Roy Zuck.
(2001). Basic Bible Interpretation. Thomas Nelson Publishing.
Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life. (1994). Brooklyn New York Publishing. Brooklyn New York. New American Standard Bible. Foundation Publications; updated edition (August 2005) .
Nelson Bibles. (1999). The NKJV Slim line Bible. Thomas Nelson; New Ed edition.