If you do a quick google search of ‘Bible study methods’ you will find a plethora of bible study techniques. Among the many choices, I would have to say that one of my favorite methods is a chapter Bible study.
How Do You Study a Chapter in the Bible?
A chapter Bible study is simply studying a specific chapter in the Bible. Studying the bible chapter by chapter may seem very straight forward – however, I have found that there are some specific strategies we can use to help us dig a bit deeper into this kind of study.
Chapter Bible Study Techniques
In a chapter summary method of bible study, we want to begin by familiarizing ourselves with the chapter as a whole, then break it down and study each section in-depth.
1) Identify the Chapter Theme
First, read the entire chapter once through without stopping. Look for people, repeated words, references to time, geographical locations, and any historical context. If there is any part that doesn’t make sense, write it down so you remember to study that section more thoroughly later on.
Finally, write a 1-2 sentence summary of the chapter.
Example of a quick chapter summary: John 1 – Jesus deity with God. His relationship to John the Baptist and His 12 disciples.
2) Identify Paragraph Themes
Once you have a basic understanding of the chapter as a whole, read through the chapter again. This time try to identify the different sections and/or paragraph breaks. Look for terms of conclusion such as “therefore” or “as a result” as these phrases can help you to identify these breaks in the chapter.
Once you identify the different breaks, write out a 1-2 sentence summary for each section.
3) Observe the Chapter
Observing the chapter helps you to see the finer details of the text while also gaining a deeper understanding of the chapter as a whole. There are two main components to observing a chapter. First, you want to mark your Bible. Then, you want to go back through and make lists of what you learn from your markings.
Mark Your Bible – Use a distinct marking for each of the following listed below. I suggest using colored pens or pencils that don’t bleed through the pages of your Bible. I also like having a specific Bible that I use for marking in.
Download this free Keyword Key to help you choose simple markings for common keywords in the Bible.
- People: Use a distinctive marking for each person in the chapter you are studying.
- Keywords: Keywords are words that are repeated or words that would change the meaning of the text if you were to take them out. Mark each keyword in a distinctive way.
- References to time and geographical locations: These references are important for keeping the scriptures in their original context.
- Comparisons and contrasts and terms of conclusion: Mark these references the same way throughout your Bible. Looking at these words or phrases helps us to determine the main points the author is making.
Make Lists – After you mark your Bible, you want to go back and make a list of what you learn about each person and each keyword you marked. Write down everything that answers the who? what? when? where? why? and how? questions.
4) Interpret the Chapter
When doing a chapter study, it’s important that we take additional steps to correctly interpret any portion of the chapter that we do not fully understand. We cannot apply the scriptures appropriately if we do not interpret them accurately.
Blue Letter Bible is my favorite bible study app for Bible interpretation.
- Cross Reference Other Verses – Consider the full counsel of God’s Word. When you are having a hard time interpreting a certain passage, cross reference other verses that relate to that scripture.
- Biblical Word Studies – Take the keywords that you identified in the observation step, and do some biblical word studies. Look at their definition in the original language.
- Consult Biblical Commentaries – After you do a thorough study of the chapter for yourself, it’s a good idea to consult a trusted commentary to compare your interpretation to other scholars.
5) Apply the Biblical Principles to Your Life
After you gain the correct interpretation of what the text is saying, ask the Lord how He would have you apply it to your life.
Application questions to ask yourself:
- Are there any promises of God to hold on to?
- Are there any commands or warnings to follow?
- Is there anything to praise Him for?
- Does the text reveal anything about the character or nature of God?
- Is there any sin I need to confess?
Chapter Study Guide PDF
Use this single-page chapter Bible study guide to walk you through each step of this process.
What Book Should I Start with Bible Study?
The book of John chapter 1 is a great place to start using this method! Not only does this chapter cover the identity and deity of Jesus, but it also gives us a great introduction to the life and ministry of Jesus while here on earth.
Many of the principles in this method of Bible study are taken from the Inductive Bible Study Method.
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