Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

There are several approaches that you can take when studying God’s Word. You will experience and have the opportunity to practice each of the approaches throughout the LIFE Lessons. I encourage you to use the different approaches in your study of the Word.

  • Textual or Chapter Study – This study approach examines a particular passage of scripture or a chapter from the Bible. With this method, you should read the passage or chapter several times in varying translations. You should note major points, analyze highlighted characters, make cross-references with other texts on the Bible, and record personal applications. Paraphrase the passage into your own words, making them meaningful to you.
  • Topical or Thematic Study – With this method, you choose a theme that you’re interested in learning about or that you wish to address in your life. Make a list of 3-5 questions about the topic. Then use a concordance to identify passages of scripture or Biblical stories related to the chosen topic or theme. Read each verse/passage/story and record how these texts speak to you and how they serve to answer your questions. Record lessons learned, questions answered, and personal applications.
  • Word Study – This method seeks to develop your understanding of important words in the Bible such as grace, faith, love, surrender, etc. With this approach, you should choose the word you want to study. Then engage in the following:
    • Identify the definitions and meanings of the word:
      • Identify the English meaning of the word
      • Research the original definition or meaning of the Word (i.e., Hebrew or Greek translations/meanings of words and context, the language of varying translations, etc.)
      • Determine how the word is used in the Biblical and the secular sense
    • Identify where the word is used in the Bible and note the following:
          • Where does the word first appear?
          • How often does it appear?
          • In which books of the Bible is it found? In which books is it used most?
          • Which writers or characters use the word?
          • Where is it used?
          • In what context is it used?
          • How does each writer or character define and describe the word?
          • Look for how the word or phrase “evolves” from its origin to its conclusion throughout the Bible.
          • Summarize the main lessons learned
          • How does this word and what you’ve learned apply to your daily life?
  • Character Study – The Bible is full of people whose stories are interconnected with the overarching story of God’s work in the world. Some of these people are major characters, some are minor characters, and some are minor characters who had significant parts to play in the major characters’ stories. With this approach, you will study the life, characteristics and experiences of a particular character. Choose a Bible character that you would like to study. Use your concordance to identify all passages in the Bible that reference your chosen character. Read the passages and engage in the following:
    • Note your first impressions
    • Create a chronological outline of the person’s life
    • Note the meaning of the person’s name and other names by which the person is called, name changes, etc.
    • Identify character traits and qualities
    • Identify Biblical principles illustrated in the life of the person
    • How is Christ reflected in the person’s life
    • Summarize the main lessons learned
    • How will you apply what you’ve learned to your life?
  • Historical Study – History has gotten a bad rap. School makes it boring. Modern society tells us we don’t need it. Scholars tell us we can’t understand it. Yet, we are asking people to accept a historical faith. Engaging in a historical approach to studying the Bible provides a framework or context of the ancient and historical world where the Biblical narrative unfolded. Thus, the historical study approach examines the cultures, governments, and times in which the human Biblical writers lived and the study of various books that contribute to a broader textual understanding of our English Bible and the Christian faith. From
  • Literary Study – This method analyzes biblical texts for literary content to gain greater insights into the literary approaches and expressions of the writers and a more rich understanding of the unity, flow and depth of the Bible. This form of study examines the text as a literary unit and focuses on analyzing narrative occurrences such as:
    • Biblical storylines (i.e., chronological storyline, storyline of salvation, Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, etc.)
    • Form or genre (i.e., prose, poetry, genealogies, etc.)
    • Perspective and point of view (i.e., the point of view of women, parents, husbands, etc.) Literary structure (i.e., the plot, setting, conflict, resolution, etc.)
    • Literary devices (i.e., stylistic and rhetorical techniques, metaphors, simile, imagery, word choice, mood, tone, etc.)
    • Language (i.e., Hebrew or Greek translations/meanings of words and context, the language of varying translations, etc.)

From and Pastor Damein Johnson,