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HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE VERSE BY VERSE
Studying the Bible Verse by Verse is probably one of the most common Bible study methods out there. “It’s easy,” is the thought that most people associate with it. And I agree, compared to other methods we’ve talked about, studying the Bible verse by verse is pretty simple. BUT like most everything, there are some key facts you want to keep in mind as you put the verse by verse study method to practice.
A Few Things To Consider When Studying the Bible Verse by Verse
Something BIG you’ll want to consider when practicing this verse by verse study method is that there is more to a verse than the verse itself. The context of the passage you’re studying carries a lot of weight. Context is the information or circumstances that set the stage for an idea, event, or a statement. It allows us to fully understand and assess the circumstances at hand. When you are only studying one portion of scripture at a time the changes of taking that verse out of context increase, which is a bummer because you aren’t going to be able to come to a full understanding of that passage of scripture or gain from it what God purposed. Without context, scripture becomes vague and open to interpretation. So when studying the Bible verse by verse, it’s important to keep in mind you aren’t getting an accurate view of the whole picture. We’ll address how to fix this is in the next section of this post.
The Big Picture
Another thing you are going to want to keep in mind is that because studying verse by verse doesn’t give you the birds-eye view that studying in bigger portions does, you’re likely to miss out on some of the parallels and mirror principles you would have been otherwise seen. This isn’t too big of a deal unless you only ever intended to read the Bible through once. Which I hope for your sake is never the case. The Bible is the biggest love letter you’ll ever read. I can’t imagine you only want to read it once.
5 Steps for Studying the Bible One Verse At A Time
Step 1. Read the chapter in full BEFORE you zero in on a particular view.
Can you guess why I would suggest this? Yup, just we talked about before; context matters. By reading the full chapter each time you intend to focus in on a verse you allow yourself the opportunity to take in information that is VITAL to providing biblical context to the verse you are studying, which ultimately will broaden your understanding the verse and help keep you on course.
Step 2. Write out the Verse you are studying.
Not only does writing the verse out benefit you for the purposes of scripture memory, but it also gives you a visual to work off of as you dissect the different portions of the verse, keywords, principles, etc.
Step 3. Highlight and define keywords.
We have to understand the Bible was primarily recorded in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) languages, which carry much more depth than our English language does. When the Bible was translated in the English length we lost a lot of that depth. Add to that the ever-changing definitions of words in the English language and you’ve got yourself quite the “telephone game” going on. Centuries long.
To combat this, I highly encourage you to highlight and research the keywords contained in each verse. To help you do this correctly, I recommend using the Strongs Concordance.
Step 4. Ask (and answer) this question: How does this verse apply to the author’s intended audience?
You’re probably wondering why the intended audience matters. We know that all scripture is God inspired and is useful for each and every one of us (2 Timothy 3:16) but what a lot of people misunderstand about the Bible is that many of the books were written for very specific peoples and specific purposes. For example; the book of Romans was written to the Roman church (newly comprised of both Jews and Gentiles – a result of Christ’s death and resurrection) who were struggling with understanding what this new found grace and faith-based salvation looked like and how to live according to it. Because we understand the WHY behind this book of the Bible we also know how it applies to us, seeing as how many in the church still face this same struggle.
Step 5. Take A Lot of Note
Write it ALL down. I remember sinking my teeth into some incredibly profound verses in Romans. I thought, “there’s no way I could ever forget this, I don’t need to write it down.” Weeks later and I am wishing more than anything that I had written it down. Sometimes God gives us the perfect words to bring our understanding full circle. Don’t take those for granted. Write about what you learn, write out your questions, write where you found the answers and how what you’ve learned has affected your thought process. Having the ability physically go back and review what God has taught you throughout your studies is PRICELESS.
Once you feel comfortable working through the basics of studying verse by verse, you can start applying these same concepts to larger portions of scripture. Just remember, the Bible is not something that is open to interpretation. It is the absolute standard of truth which means that when taking from it, you must take its words IN CONTEXT. Diluted truth is still short of biblically sound. Always aim for the truth!
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