How Do You Study – Part 2
Shalom & welcome my friends! Thanks again for taking time to join us on a journey to start Taking Root. It means more to me than you will ever know. As always it is our goal to uplift & equip modern-day believers to walk in The Way, that is of course, Jesus Christ.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
This is the verse we had in mind when we started this look at how we study the Word of God. Last time we covered some helpful basic tips of how to get started in our personal Bible Study endeavors.
The last tip I gave was to use an organized study method. So this time we are going to go over a handful of organized study methods that I am sure will be able to help you take your personal studies to the next level.
The first method to look at is The E.A.S.Y. Method.
E.A.S.Y. is an acronym for Enter, Assess, Seek & Yearn.
Enter into the passage’s original content.
Ask questions, putting yourself into the story. Who is speaking and being spoken to? Don’t bring your cultural lens onto the text. What was their cultural lens? How does that change your understanding of the passage?
Assess the main ideas or themes of the passage.
Ask questions. What are the main truths that stick out to you? What is the main theme of the passage you are reading?
Seek God, His character, attributes, names, and actions.
Ask, Is He being loving, kind, merciful, or expressing righteous anger? How can that lead you closer to Him?
Yearn for a heart change & a deeper intimacy with Jesus.
A time of deep prayer and reflection on the passage. Asking God to help you change or apply the passage to your life. Asking Him to bring you closer to him.
Next we have The S.O.A.P. Method.
S.O.A.P. is an acronym standing for Scripture, Observation, Application & Prayer. This is also called the S.O.A.K. method, with Kneeling replacing the word prayer.
Write down the verse or passage you are studying.
Examine the text and write down any immediate observations and anything you notice about the verse… Are there any repetition of words or themes? Are there any commandments? Who is speaking? Who is the audience? Where are they? What is the context in relation to surrounding verses or chapters?
Apply God’s Word to your life in a practical way. Take your scripture you are studying and your observations you made about it, then make it personal. How does it relate to you today? Does it relate to your current season of life, or perhaps help you understand a recent one? How can this passage apply to your life today & tomorrow?
Make your application SMART, which is a term used in the business world for goal setting. It is an acronym standing for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
You can either write out or verbally say your prayer. Letting your spirit connect with His Spirit by responding to His Word with your words.
The F.E.A.S.T. Method.
F.E.A.S.T. is an acronym standing for Focus, Engage, Assess, Spark, & Turn.
Begin by asking God to focus your heart and mind on Him and ask “What do you want me to learn today?”
As with all of your Bible study methods, you will want to grab that Bible and a notebook and find that quiet place to spend in uninterrupted study.
Create the atmosphere, pray & sing to focus your heart and mind upon God. Then choose a passage to focus on during your study time.
Engage the Text
Read the passage and engage it by writing down observations. Again, anything you notice about this passage. Identifying patterns: of repetition, comparisons, contrasts, cause & effect..) Research the cultural & historical background (who is the author, the recipients, the setting, purpose, theme or tone).. If a particular word jumps out, do a word study. Compare the verse in multiple translations, making sure its saying what you think it is.
Assess the Meaning
Write down anything that doesn’t make sense to you and check cross-references and commentaries. Consider the context and genre of the passage and then assess the main idea of the passage by answering the question, “What did it mean to the original audience?”
A simple way to do this is to ask of the passage: Is there a command to obey? A sin to avoid? A lesson to learn? An attribute of God to praise Him for? At this point, you’re still working with the text, so make sure you’re using “them,” “there,” and “then” language; you’ll transition to “us,” “here,” and “now” in the next step.
Ask the Holy Spirit to spark transformation in your life by applying the big idea in specific and measurable ways. Determine if the Big Idea of the passage is a pattern, principle, or universal teaching by considering how similar or different you are from the original audience.
For example, under Levitical Law, the Israelites couldn’t eat certain foods, but as Gentile believers, we are released from that dietary law, with the exception of food polluted by idols, strangled animals and blood. So, thank you Jesus & bring on the carnitas please and thank you.
Turn toward God
Unless Bible information leads to God-adoration, reading the Bible is pointless. So after hearing God speak to you through His Word, respond to Him with praise, confession, and thanksgiving.
Our daily Study shouldn’t culminate in a list of things to do or not do, but rather it should unveil to us more reasons to worship. In our wrap up of our study time, we continue to turn our hearts towards Him with prayers and praise with the intent to always be mindful of His presence in our lives.
For a deeper dive into this method, check out the link of an example of FEAST covering Psalm 62.
The last one we will cover today will be the Inductive Bible Study Method.
This method is the only one on our list that is not an acronym.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.Psalm 119:162
This study is one that encourages you do dig into the buried riches of the Word and rejoice in the treasures you find there.
Set a timer for 6-8 minutes to look over a short section of about two paragraphs to start. Take as many notes as possible. Eventually you will want to read the chapter you are studying and at least the one prior to and the one preceding it in a single read, then go back and spend the timer time studying the chapter you want to focus on. Some recommend even reading the entire book of the Bible prior to doing the focused study time, but that is something you would definitely need to work your way up to.
5 W’s – Who, What, Where, why and How.
Who is speaking? Who are the main characters?
What is happening? What is the scene? What is the cultural context?
When did or when will the events take place?
What themes are mentioned?
Are there times of the day mentioned?
Where is the activity taking place? Inside, outside, up on a mountain, down in a valley?
Are there nations, towns or city names mentioned or any geographic references?
What are the grammatical connections? (Find out what the therefore is there for) Cause and Affect, Repeated words key phrases, comparisons and contrasts?
Are there any lists? Any interesting figures of speech?
What tenses are being used?
If you can point to it, or it is an indisputable fact, it would fall under the observation category. Write it down!
Interpretation – What does the passage mean?
Here we will develop questions based on our observations.
How does this story relate to the big themes of the bible?
What did the author intend to communicate to the original audience?
What’s the significance of the passage? Ask what is the tension in the text? What bothers you or stands out differently?
Imagine the perspective of people in the passage, what’s going on in the world at that time that would make someone react or say what they do in the verses?
Try using the verses themselves to answer as many questions as you can first before diving into other resources such as commentaries.
To make certain you are generating good interpretation questions make sure they are T.I.G.H.T.
-Text Dependent. Questions that arise from the text itself.
-They promote Good discussion.
-Highlight the Tension
-Tie Observations Together
What does this passage mean to me?
Is there a central truth I need to put into practice? Is there a promise to claim, command to obey or example to follow or avoid?
Is there a sin to forsake?
Be specific. Don’t leave that vague and definitely don’t avoid the challenge of how do I respond to what the passage is saying.
Does it challenge how I see the world. How does it effect the community I am part of.
What is my next step?
Spend some time in prayer- repenting, claiming the promises of the Word, Giving praise and thanks. Also pray that God would help you believe and obey the Word.
We set ourselves up for failure if we read the Bible and do not allow for it to change our lives.
Here is a link to a playlist of detailed examples of how to follow the Inductive method.
Today we covered a lot of methods yet when I was preparing for this I discovered nearly a half dozen more organized methods that could be utilized. Who knows? We may discuss those down the road.
The goal was not to give you a single “this is the proper way to study the Bible” approach, because we are all different. Our study processes will be different. Our approaches will be different. It is the goal to help equip you with the tools to take your study to a deeper place.
Honestly, I had personally only heard of one of these methods by name, prior to this. Another I was already doing but didn’t realize that it had a name. (If you think you know which method it is that I use, leave your guess in the comments on YouTube or email me.)
Today’s goal was to share with you various methods that you can pick from to find what works for you. If you are already using one of these methods, or if you are using another method, please tell me which one in the comments. And if you haven’t already been using an organized method, let me know which one sounds like it could be the one for you. I simply want to hear from you.
Whichever method you decide to use, whether it is one of these or another one, I just encourage you to dive deeper in the Word. Find something that works well for you and dig deep so you can keep Taking Root.
God Bless You My Friends!