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 (Manna 17)
Guide to Bible study
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Guide to Bible Study

Bible reading and Bible study are two different things. In Bible study one searches the Bible in depths, takes notes, analyses, summarizes, compares and researches in order to understand the Bible better.

I.  The Benefits Of Personal Bible Study

1. Enables one to comprehend the will of God, to follow the correct path to the heavenly kingdom, to obtain spiritual teachings and to be equipped with spiritual armour (Eph ).

2.   Enables one to obtain spiritual insight, understand the mystery of God and also to “eat what is good and delight in fatness” (Is 55:1-2).

3.   Enables one to compile useful materials for future use.

4.   Enables one to be enlightened by the truth and to have a profound understanding of God’s salvation.

I.       II.  The Benefits Of Group Bible Study

1.   Affords opportunity for participants to give their opinions.

2.   Able to learn different viewpoints.

3.   Encourage fellowship and enable participants to unnderstand one another better.

II.    Ill.  Group Bible Study

It can be held at any place. It may be held at night or alter Sabbath service. No fixed number of participants is required but ideally the group should consist of more than ten people. When the number is big it can be divided into two or more groups. The ideal duration for one session is about 60 minutes.

The leader of a Bible stud group should be rotated. This will enable more people to gain experience in leading a Bible study.

According to the findings of psychologists, one can only retain 10% of what he hears; 50% of what he sees; 75% of what he says and 90% of what he does. As such, Bible study is the most effective way of remembering the passage of the Bible.

1.   The Participants

 a.      Must thirst for the truth and must attend services (Lk ).

 b.      Must always read the Bible regularly (Deut —20).

 c.      Must beseech the Holy Spirit for understanding (Eph — 20).

 d.      Must listen carefully to other opinions (1 Thess —22).

 e.      Must mention only the main points when asked to speak and be objective, gentle and courteous when speaking (Ac -34).

 f.       Must advance in spiritual knowledge, virtue and power. Must apply the teachings studied to every day life (Jas -25).

III. 2.   The Leader

 a.      Must take the role seriously by praying constantly about it.

 b.      Must be fully prepared and well versed. Topics for discussion and questions to be asked must be written beforehand.

 c.      Must arrive at the place of meeting early. Arrange the place properly and receive the participants.

 d.      Must be God—tearing, frank and thoughtful.

 e.      Must not be too serious or too relaxed.

 f.       Must be able to generate discussion and to conclude.

 g.      Must keep to the time set for the study and to guide participants not to stretch the time (Col 4:6).

IV.  IV. Methods Of Bible Study

1.        Character Study

a.   Material:

A passage from the Bible on a certain character.


(i)       Study his good points. For example, the manifestations of his faith, purity and love.

(ii)     Study his bad points. For example, his disbelief, wicked deeds, rebellion and treachery.

(iii)    Study his typology. For example, Isaac is a type of Christ. However, since no one is perfect in this world, nobody can be a perfect type of Christ.

(iv)   Summarize the teaching. Follow the good points and avoid the bad points. Understand Christ better through the study of types.

2.        Incident Study

a.   Material:

A passage from the Bible on an incident.

b.   Method:

(i)       i.              Study the incident generally such as the beginning, the development and the end.

(ii)     ii.             Find out the cause direct, indirect, immediate or remote, single or complex.

(iii)    iii.            Find out the effect : upon a person (physical, material and spiritual), upon his family, his people, his church and his country; and upon the glory of God.

(iv)   iv.            Summarize the teachings. Follow the good and avoid the bad.

3.        Passage Study

a.   Material:

(i)       Passages with identical theme. For example, Prov 31:10-30, the theme is “Virtuous woman” and Ps 23:1-6, the theme is “The Lord is my shepherd”.

(ii)     Take one chapter at a time but if the chapter is too long then take two or more sessions to complete it. This method enables the group to go through the Bible book by book.

b.   Method:

Studs’ the passage in detail, give its intended meanings and summarize the applicable teachings.

4.        Topical Study

b.   Material:

For example, the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit; the hope of Christians; the filial—piety of Ruth; the manifestation of humanity; the requisites of salvation; the Second Advent of Christ. You can pick one of the above-mentioned topics for discussion.

The topic should not be too wide. Choose one which can  be completed in one session.

V.  The Conduct Of A Bible Study

1.        Begin by singing a hymn and followed by a prayer.

2.        Read a chosen passage aloud by turn.

3.        Summarize the important points.

4.        Throw some questions (prepared beforehand ) to the participants.

5.        Interpret the passage. Participants may give their opinions. Do not quibble over trifle matters. If there are difficult verses, they may be reserved for further discussion or may be referred to the leaders of the Church.

6.        Apply the teachings of the Bible to daily life (1 Cor ; Rom 15:4).

7.        The participants should share what they have learned from the passages. They may want to bring out the verse that inspired them most. Or they may want to give a brief account of an experience relevant to the passage. Conclude with a prayer.

Vl.  Interpreting The Bible

1.        Interpret the Bible correctly as the wrong interpretation may bring destruction (2 Tim ; 2 Pet ).

2.        2.     Ask the speaker, to whom was he speaking, when and where was it spoken, what was spoken, and why was it spoken?

3.        Pay attention to the main points. For example, the important point about the fight between David and Goliath is that faith is vital. So what the participants should take note of is David’s faith and not the implications of the 5 stones (1 Sam 17).

4.        4.     Pay attention to the context. For example, Jn applies to those who are not yet converted and not to Christians (Ac 8:3-11).

5.        5.     Discern whether a passage is to be interpreted literally or spiritually. For example, the washing of robes in should not be taken literally.

6.        Miracles recorded in the Bible are true events. They should not be taken as mere allegories.

7.        Not all the characters in the Bible are types. Even if they are, they cannot be complete types, since no one is perfect in this world. For instance, Moses prefigures Christ, but Moses had two wives.

8.        Parables are designed to convey a truth. They are not true incidents. They cannot be taken literally.

VII.            A Model Bible Study

1.   Character Study Topic

Topic                      : Noah

Bible verses            : Genesis 6-9

The good points of Noah:

i. He was a righteous man (6:9, 7:1).

ii. He was blameless (6:9).

iii. He walked with God (6:9).

iv. He did all that God commanded him (, 7:5, 16).

v. He obeyed the command of God by going out of the ark (-19).

vi. He built an altar after he came out from the ark ().

The bad points of Noah:

i.He became drunk. He lay himself in his tent naked (—21).

Application to daily life:

i     To be righteous, blameless, obedient, thankful and walk with God.

ii.    Do not follow his drinking habit.

d.   Prefigurations:

i. The ark prefigures the true church (cf Lk , 27).

 iii. Those who believed and entered into the ark were save  (Gen —20). This prefigures those who believe in Jesus, baptize and come to the true church shall he saved (Mk ; 1 Pet -21; Eph ).

iv. The construction of the ark was according to the instructions of God (Gen —22). This prefigures the teachings preached by the true church are in accordance with the Bible (Eph —20; Gal 1:6—9).

v. There was only one door in the ark (Gen ). This prefigures the only one door of salvation (Jn 10:9, 3:5).

vi. There was only one ark (Gen ). This prefigures the only one true church (Eph , 4:4, -32; 1 Cor , 20).

Incident Study

Topic          : Judas betrayed the Lord.

Bible verses : Mt 26:14—16, 20-25, 47—50, 27:1-10

The cause of betrayal:

ii. He was greedy for money and often stole money from the offering box (Jn 12:6).

iii. Even though he was upbraided by the Lord, he won Id not correct himself and this led him to commit a grave mistake (Jn -27; Mt 26:25).

The result of betrayal:

i.    He could not use the money he got (Mt 27:3-5).

ii.    He lost his apostleship (Ac , 17, 20).

iii.   He hanged himself and his bowels gushed when he fell (Ac ).

iv.   He faced severe judgement (Mk —21).

C.   Application to daily life:

i.    Do not be greedy (Heb 13:5; 1 Tim 6:6—10).

ii.    Fault must be rectified or we will give in to Satan (Prov ; Eph ).

3.   Passage Study

Topic                      : The widow of Zarephath received Elijah.

Bible verses            : 1 Kings 17:8-24

a.   Questions to ask:

i. Where did God want Elijah to go to and who did God ask to feed Elijah? (17:8, 9).

ii. Upon arrival at the gate of the city what were the things Elijah asked from the widow? (17:10, 11).

iii. How did he Widow answer him? (). What did Elijah say to her for the second time? (17:13,14).

iv.   What happened when the woman did according to the instructions of the prophet? (17:15, 16).

vi.   How did Elijah pray to God to revive the widow’s son? (, 19-22).

b.   Points to ponder:

i.   Why must God ask a poor widow to feed Elijah? To embarrass her? Or to shower the blessing on her?

ii.    What caused the widow to change her mind to receive Elijah willingly? (-15). Out of love? Or by faith?

c.   Application to daily life:

i.   The Lord said, “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Mt 10:4 1). We should seize the opportunity to receive God’s servants and even to receive the least of the brethren (Mt 25:40).

ii.    The widow later received Elijah because she believed the word of God. Faith breeds love. We must pray to the Lord to increase our faith so that we can serve others better and love God more (Heb -19).

iii.   Elijah believed that life and death lie in the hands of God. He prayed very earnestly to God to bring back the life of a dead child. May God also grant us the faith so that we too, can be brave enough to pray for the sick and to revive the dead (Mt , 22).

d.   Sharing.

e.   Conclude with a pray

4.   Topical Study

a.   Topic:

Evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit.

b.   Example:’

i.    On the day of Pentecost those who received the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues (Ac 2:1-4).

ii.    Cornelius spoke in tongues when he received the Holy Spirit (Ac -46).

iii.   The believers in Ephesus acknowledged that the speaking of tongues was the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit (Ac 19:6-7).

c.   Correction:

i.    It is not true to say that when one believes in Christ he is filled with the Holy Spirit (Ac 19:1, 2).

ii.    It is not true to say that when one is baptized he receives the Holy Spirit (Ac , 6).

iii.   Those who have good deeds may not be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ac 10:2, 22, 44).

iv.   Those who are fervent may not necessarily have the Holy Spirit (Mt ; Ac 1:4, 5).

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