10 Big Picture Prompts to Help you Through Your Bible StudyAre you looking for ways to deepen your quiet time and strengthen your understanding of the Bible? I’ve got 10 power-packed questions that you can add to your Bible study to help you do just that! I used to think the questions, “what does this verse speak to me?” was sufficient when it came to studying the Bible. But these 10 simple questions will take you to a new depth of understanding. They’ll make you dig deeper. They’ll help you understand why the Bible is relevant to you, and how the gospel of Christ should affect your day to day living. I’ll show you how it works using the book of Romans.
10 Bible Study Questions That Will Help You Dig Deeper
1. Who wrote this text? What do you know about them?We know that all scripture is God-breathed (God-inspired) (2 Timothy 3:16-17) but God chose and entrusted specific people to get his Words down on paper (or tablet?). By taking a minute to consider who the author is and what we know about them we gain two things:
- A testimony. You get to see how yourself how God transformed the life of the person writing the text you are reading
- Additional context into what you are reading. You’ll understand a little bit more where the author was coming from and his need to write what he did.
2. Who is the audience? What do you know about them?This information helps us piece together the big picture story within the book of the Bible that we are studying.
3. What was the purpose of this book and why was it written?Some books of the Bible were written to define and instruct in regards to the law. Some were written to record significant moments in history (like Genesis and the four gospels). Still others were written to address specific issues taking place among the people in those days (many of which are issues still present in our societies today). Romans is a great example of that so let’s answer this questions with Romans as our subject. Turn to Romans 1:15 and let’s read (through verse 17): So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed form faith the faith; as it is written the just shall live by faith. UNITY. Paul wrote this letter to the Roman church with the hope of bringing understanding and unity to the Jews and Gentiles; especially in regards to faith, salvation, the gospel, and how those two things should affect the way they live; both individually and as a church body. Paul goes to great lengths to explain these truths to the Jews and Greeks in the Roman church hoping that they will in return accept each other, grow together, and as a church, carry out the great commission (found in Matthew 28:18-20).
4. When was this text written?Did you know the bible isn’t necessarily written in numerical order? That is the reason why knowing when a text was written is important. It helps us piece the historical accounts together. It also helps us know what else in history was happening when these accounts were written.
5. What is the genre of this book?Each book of the Bible can be identified by one of six genres: Law, History, Wisdom & Poetry, Prophecy, Gospel, Letters. Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand how to approach that particular book. Psalms is a great example of this! It would be classified as poetry. This clues me into the idea that there is probably going to be a lot of imagery, similes, and metaphors within the text. Romans is categorized as a letter, which clues me into the idea that the text will be more conversation based; sharing thoughts, concerns, ideas, etc.
6. How does this fit into the bigger picture (creation, the fall, redemption, restoration, etc.)?This is one of my FAVORITE questions to ask as I study. When I focus my attention on this question I am constantly seeing how each chapter of the Bible (even Old Testament books) reflect the gospel. Romans (especially Romans chapter 5) paints such a powerful picture of the redemptive grace of God. While we were sinners, while we were even considered enemies of Christ (yes, enemies! Look it up!) God’s love toward us abounded so much that He made a way. He did for us what no one else could do. He gave us life and life abundant. No matter what book of the Bible you’re reading or the history accounted for in you, you can bet that they’ll lead the reader right back to the heart of the Gospel.
7. What does the text reveal about God and His character?A person’s character is often reflected by consistent patterns of behavior. What better way for God to reveal His character to us than to keep an account of it through the Bible. I LOVE reading the Old Testament for this purpose. I talk more about this in a portion of my book, “Rooted,” where we work our way through Old Testament and explore the many different circumstances where God showed His true nature and character to us.
8. What does this text teach about human nature and myself?The cool thing about the Bible is that it’s full of historical accounts of regular people just like you in me. Which means that as we observe these biblical accounts we can prepare our hearts to learn a lesson or two about ourselves. For example, one of the topics that Paul addresses in his letter to the Roman church was the truth about salvation. In all the confusion, the Jews had begun creating their own definition of salvation. People began trying to alter God’s Word to fit the lives that they wanted, instead of doing the opposite; allowing God to renew their lives according to His perfect Word. I couldn’t help but laugh as I learned this because we are still making this same mistake today. Instead of changing our lives, we would much rather change the Bible. Doesn’t that just sound messy? I was reminded through Romans that God’s grace is PURPOSEFUL, His guidance ESSENTIAL, and our obedience to Him; CRUCIAL! Not simply for the sake of eternal salvation; but also for the lives we live on Earth. In my own strength, I can’t do it. It’s human nature to want to live for ourselves. Living a gospel-centered life requires me to submit to God’s will for my life. 100%. Something I know I can’t do without His grace.
9. How does this new truth change me?Because the truth of God should do just that, change us. You can’t embrace the Word and stay the same. Did your understanding expand or your perspective shift? Did God plant something in your heart? Were you prompted to let go of anything? Or maybe pick up something new (or something you shouldn’t have let go of)? How has what you learned affected your life? This truth should change the way I look at people. I should look at them with the same adoration God does. And pursue them with the same loving desperation that He does. I shouldn’t let sin and imperfections create distance between us myself and other people. If anything I should look at those things as a reason plunge head first towards them.
10. What are some action steps I could put into place to honor God with what I’ve learned?
The word of God is living and active (see Hebrews 4:12). Which means when taken to heart, when applied, this truth can and WILL change your life. But it doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through obedience. How can you use what you’ve learned today to honor God tomorrow?
I can work towards growing in the fruits of the Spirit, specifically, gentleness, patience, and kindness, extending those traits (accompanied with grace) to the people I encounter on a daily basis, no matter what kind of lifestyle they live. I can honor God by leading with God-inspired love and grace.
Pushing Past the Surface
See how just those few questions turned the average Bible study into a life-altering encounter with God? In order for me to answer each of these, I have to really reflect on what it is that I’ve read and studied. Suddenly I’m not just reading Bible stories, I am growing in Christ, nurturing my spirit through Biblical accounts.
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