Christian Bible Study Methods & Approaches Part 1

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There are many ways to do bible study in an effective and meaningful way for a casual young Christians to a senior preacher and pastor. Kindly refer to the below paragraphs on the broad definition of Bible study:

In Christianity, Bible study is the study of the Bible by ordinary people as a personal religious or spiritual practice. Some denominations may call this devotion or devotional acts; however in other denominations devotion has other meanings. Bible study in this sense is distinct from biblical studies, which is a formal academic discipline.

In Evangelical Protestantism, the time set aside to engage in personal Bible study and prayer is sometimes informally called a Quiet Time. In other traditions personal Bible study is referred to as “devotions”. Catholic devotions and Anglican devotions both employ the Lectio Divina method of Bible reading.
First and foremost, doing Bible study should be fun and interesting to reader as the Bible is the largest collection of thousand of storybooks of the past that contains the ethernal truth and moral for our lives.

malmesbury-bibleMost casual mordern Christians rarely reads the Bible and only able to finish one or two books of the Bible in a year. Moreover, they only read the Bible when in church and in small groups. Why is it so when Bible scriptures is becoming more readily available online, convenient to carry along and stored in our daily handheld personal mobile devices. Is the hunger for God’s Word not there?

 

In a nutshell, Bible studies can be categorized and sub-categorized into the following methods and approaches:

1. Personal Bible Study

1.1. Inductive Bible Study

1.2. Exegetical Bible Study

2. Small Groups / Cell Groups Bible Study

(The following will be covered in Part 2)
3. Children Bible Study

4. Bible Memory Verse

5. Sentences, Observation, Analysis & Prayer (SOAP) Method

6. Self Searching & Reflection Method

7. Watching A Biblical Based Movie That Depicts Sections Of The Bible (supplementary learning)

 

1. Personal Bible Study

1.1. Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible study is a means of studying and exegeting a biblical passage. Richard Krejcir describes it terms of “interviewing a passage” without preconceptions or agendas.[1] Inductive Bible study involves examining the ideas and words of the text, which leads to the meanings and then the interpretations, which in turn lead the reader to conclusions and applications.[1] In inductive study, the reader will read a passage and then ask questions of how they personally interpret the verse(s). These questions can range from what the verse(s) literally means to how it applies to the believer’s present personal circumstances. The purpose of these questions is to go deep enough into the text to extract the meaning and then to apply that gained knowledge to life.[2]

The association of Bible study and prayer is an important one. Christians do not merely study the Bible as an academic disciple, but with the desire to know God better. Therefore, they frequently pray that God will give them understanding of the passage being studied. They also consider it necessary to consider what they read with an attitude of respect, rather than the critical attitude which is frequently followed in formal study. To them, the Bible is not just a sacred book, but is the very Word of God, that is, a message from God which has direct relevance to their daily lives.

1.2. Exegetical Bible Study

In this type of study, also goes beyond the surface value of the text. However, the purpose is not so much for personal application as gaining information. Exegetical study is used most often by pastors, theologians, writers, professors, and church leaders in order to prepare for sharing lessons with others. It is often categorized as advanced Bible study and is meant to extract the ideas found in the text for the primary purpose of teaching.[2]

2. Small Groups / Cell Groups Bible Study

Bible study groups within congregations are sometimes known as cell groups, though many different names exist. The Bible is often studied in informal small groups, and groups within parachurch organizations. During these study times, groups will set their main topic to be biblical studies. Though there may exist some form of worship and prayer, the purpose of Bible study is to collectively grasp an understanding of God through His Word. These groups become small communities often sharing this personal journey to discovering the meaning of the passage.

 

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Moses Pointing to the Lord for Battle

Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies; do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:3-4)

Moses is another example of those who lived by grace in the Old Testament. He knew the necessity of relying upon the sufficiency of God, instead of upon the inadequate resources of man. One illustration of this is seen when he pointed Israel to the Lord for battle.

When the children of Israel would enter into the Promised Land, innumerable battles would lie before them. These battles were inevitable, since godless nations had entrenched themselves in the land: “because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you” (Deuteronomy 9:5). Thus, the history of Israel documents one battle after another.

Moses announced the truth that the people of the Lord need to hear as the battle draws near. “Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies; do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them.” So often, when the warfare appears, the foe seems invincible. “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you” (Deuteronomy 20:1). The natural temptation is to “faint . . . be afraid . . . tremble or be terrified.” Another temptation is to try to match the enemy horse for horse and chariot for chariot. The scriptures warn of the futility of turning to worldly resources. “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 31:1).

Moses knew that God’s people need a reminder that the Lord wants to be our hope. When we must go into the battles of life, the Lord accompanies us. “For the LORD your God is He who goes with you.” He is with us not only to comfort us, but also to battle on our behalf: “to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” The Lord can fight for His people in an unlimited variety of ways. He can change the hearts of those who oppose us. He can bring their plans to naught. He can trap them in their own evil plans. He can cause our enemies to turn and devour one another. He can effectively save us in any manner that He chooses.

O Lord, my defender, I face many battles that leave me intimidated and fearful. My hope is often placed in my own worldly strategies or the help that man can offer. Lord, I look to You afresh to fight for me to rescue me any way You chose, for Your glory and honor, Amen.

By Bob Hoekstra