How to study the Bible – using Galatians as an example

One of the goals of this blog is to help people come to understand how to study the Bible. There are numerous ways to do a study of a book of the Bible.  We have looked at various outlines and ways to study the Bible. This time we will have a six post series showing the steps to study the Bible.

The same steps apply whether you are creating a study of a book of the Bible, a Bible study lesson, or a sermon. Let me preface this by saying that each step must begin with prayer, and prayer should be continued while working each step. We will read the book (it helps if you read it three times) and write a summary (Summary of Galatians). Then we will outline the book, describing what the text says (I like to begin by using paragraphs divisions from the NIV, while using the NASB for the text) in what is known as a hermeneutical outline (Galatians Outline – first pass). Its best to do an entire book, because there were no paragraph or page or chapter divisions in the original writings – so it is more likely you will see groupings of ideas or passages that you might have missed had you not been working on the entire thing. Then we will revise the outline with a focus on the timeless ideas found in the text that apply to the original audience then and there as well as your intended audience here and now – this is called a theological outline (Galatians Outline – second pass). Then we will revise the outline again with a focus on what message God wants you to focus upon in your study – this is known as a homiletical outline (Galatians Outline – third pass).  Finally, because we are creating a study of the book, we will explain the book (Study of Galatians). If we were creating a Bible study lesson, or a sermon, we would do it at this point, in place of explaining the book. For this last part, we can use commentaries for details of the history and culture of when and where the book was written. But please do not use the commentaries until you have completed the summary and outlines.

Please pray and read Galatians tonight and write up a summary (remember to keep praying while reading and while writing). If you prefer, you can wait to write the summary until tomorrow, so you can see an example. Please understand – the things I write for this study example is what I came to understand from what I read when I read it. Each person will likely come up with their own ideas and summary – and indeed it might be different based on what was going on in your life and how God is working on you when you wrote it.

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One Response

  1. […] a comment » Wb Moore is studying the book of Galatians and I thought that I might take along. There is nothing better than a good, getting to the nitty […]

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