Christian Bible Study Methods & Approaches Part 1


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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God Freely Giving, Man Humbly Receiving


God’s Word

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? . . . What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it? (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 4:7)

Observation And Analysis

The Lord’s plan for rescuing and transforming lives by His grace is established upon the Son of God being given for us as a sacrifice for our sins: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” This gift of God’s Son assures us that God will also give us with Christ everything we need. “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ” God’s giving is to be coupled with man’s receiving. As God is freely giving to man, He wants man to be humbly receiving from Him.

Every blessing that we have was received from God. “What do you have that you did not receive? ” There is no other source from which we can receive true spiritual benefits than the Lord above. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27). The joy of having Jesus dwelling in our lives as the children of God became true by us receiving Him. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). The fact that we are now reconciled to God and are no longer His enemies is based upon us receiving the gift of reconciliation. “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11). The privilege of serving the Lord in ministry is a gift of grace to be received: “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). The spiritual gifts that we need for enablement in our ministries is another blessing received from the Lord. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another” (1 Peter 4:10).

From initial salvation to growth and service, all that is needed must be received from the Lord. This is an encouraging reality. Yet, it is also a humbling truth. It leaves no room for us to glory in ourselves. “Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?”

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, I confess that every blessing I have ever received was given by You from above. I bow humbly before You, admitting that I do not deserve even one of Your innumerable benefits. Lord, I praise You for freely giving to me. I want to humbly receive from You day by day, in Your gracious name, Amen.

By Bob Hoekstra In Day By Day By Grace