If you do a quick google search of ‘Bible study methods’ you will find an abundance 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?
Using the chapter summary method of Bible study may seem very straightforward. 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.
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5 Chapter Bible Study Techniques
To do this chapter analysis Bible study method, we want to begin by familiarizing ourselves with the chapter as a whole, then break it down verse by verse.
Make sure to grab your free Bible study worksheets to help you do your own study of any chapter in the Bible.
1) Write a Chapter Summary
The first thing you want to do in your Bible study lessons is to 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 it 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.
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3) Use the Verse by Verse Bible Study Method
Observing the chapter verse by verse 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 in this way. 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. There are some great Bible study tools you can use for this. 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 studying the Bible chapter by chapter, it’s important that we take additional steps to correctly interpret any portion of the scriptures that we do not fully understand. We cannot apply the scriptures appropriately if we do not interpret them accurately.
- 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 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?
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.
How to Use the SOAP Method with a Chapter Bible Study
The Praise SOAP Method is a great study to use alongside the Chapter Study Method as it helps you to apply what you are reading. SOAP stands for scripture, observation, application, and prayer. I like adding the element of praise. This is a great method for making a meaningful connection with the Lord when you don’t have a lot of extra time. Simply choose a verse or two that stood out to you and go through the Praise SOAP process.
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