Bible Study Methods


A. Why study Scripture?

B. What is Bible study?

C. Summary.


A. Treat the Bible as a book.

B. Treat the Bible as a UNIQUE book.


A. Tools for Bible study.

B. Preparation for Bible study.

  • Observation.
  • Interpretation.
  • Comparison.
  • Application.


  • Devotional study
  • Word study
  • Verse by verse study
  • Chapter study
  • Book study


  • Topical study
  • Character study
  • Biographical study



A. Why study Scripture?

The apostle Paul said something important about the Scriptures. Read what he wrote to Timothy, 2 Tim 3:14 -17. Paul gives us two reasons why we should know the Scriptures:

  1. The first purpose is that we might come to know Jesus Christ and receive His salvation, vI5. We learn about Him and redemption through the word. The scriptures will make us wise unto salvation.
  2. The second purpose is to help us grow spiritually that we might be equipped for whatever God wants us to do. v17? The scriptures will help us in our own spiritual growth.

The means to that growth are, Doctrine (teaching), reproof (rebuking), correc­tion (correcting), and instruction in righteousness (training)

Doctrine or teaching shows us the path on which we are to walk.

Reproof or rebuking shows us where we got off the path

Correction or correcting shows us to get back on the right path.

DOCTRINE Foundational teaching the objective standard by which all conduct and concepts are to be judged. Discipline for Godliness1 Tim 4:7 INSTRUCTION Provides training tools for the restructuring of habits, thought and action. Give guidance and encouragement
Study.. Rightly dividing the Word of truth.
2 Tim 2:15
The Bible
2 Tim 3:16
Putting in the new man with his deeds.Col 3:10, Eph 4:23
REPROOF God’s view of wrong thinking and wrong behaviour. Point’s out the errors. Brings conviction. Putting off the old man with His deeds.Col 3:9, Eph 4:22 CORRECTION Prescribes God’s corrective measures. Encourages repentance, confession, restitution and forsaking sin.

The Standard is Scripture –  The Holy Bible

Authority of Scripture in danger here.   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Same level The Holy Bible


Scripture is the basis for all the issues of life.The Bible


Three stages of attitudes toward Bible Study.

  1. The “castor oil” stage -when you study the Bible because you know it is good for you, but it is not too enjoyable.
  2. The “cereal” stage -when your Bible study is dry and uninteresting, but you know it is nourishing.
  3. The “peaches and cream” stage -when you are really feasting on the Word of God.

B.    What is Bible study?

One dictionary gives’ the definition of study ”study”, is the devotion of time to the acquisition of information; a careful examination or observation of something.

This is a good starting point for a definition of Bible study.  In other words, in studying the Bible we devote time to acquiring understanding about the Bible and to examining carefully what it says.

But there is more to it than that. True Bible study is not just a matter at acquiring information and knowledge; it should affect not only the mind, but also the heart and will, and should lead to obedience and worship of God. Besides learning about the Bible, we should also expect to see our day-to-day living changed by the Bible.

A good definition of Bible study might be; the prayerful study and application of the Word of God enabling us to develop a greater understanding of what the bible teaches, in order to obey it, and be transformed more into the image of Christ.

Ezra is a good example of a man who felt responsibility toward God’s word. What was his approach to Scripture?  Ezra 7:10


See also 2 Tim 2:2 and Prov 2:1-6

C. Summary.

God has communicated to man through His Word the Bible, The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Through the Scriptures you can get to know God better, understand His desires for your life and discover new truths about living for Him. God commands believers to let His Word dwell richly in them, so it is necessary to give yourself wholeheartedly to allowing God’s Word to fill your life. God places great emphasis upon the practice of meditating on His word, because effective meditation leads to personal application. Meditation and application not only will help you “to get into the Bible” but also will allow “the Bible’ to get into you”.

Answer these questions from Joshua 1:8

    1. What should be the object of our meditation?
    2. What is the relationship between meditation and application?
    3. What are the results of meaningful meditation?


A. Treat the Bible as a BOOK.

The Bible is one book, with one theme of God’s salvation to sinful man by Jesus Christ. Any one part of the Bible should be read with ultimate reference to this grand theme. Otherwise the main point of the writing will be los t.

The Bible is a library of 66 volumes which grew together in the course of the century by the guiding hand of God. There is a general chronological order, from the original creation, Genesis, to the new creation, Revelation.

The Bible At A Glance

Old Testament(39 books) ‘’The New is in the Old concealed.The Old is in the New revealed’’. New Testament(27 books)

66 books
























Song of Solomon





























God used 40 different men over a period of 1500 years (about 1400 BC to AD 90) in writing the Bible- 2 Peter 1 verses 1 -21.

B.  Treat the Bible as a UNIQUE book.

 1.  It is God’s only written communication to man.  In a miraculous way, God inspired men to write His message, telling the world that He wants to save them and that He can save them and wants to have a relationship with them.  The bible is God’s personal love letter to us.

      1. 2.  It is completely trustworthy. The scripture cannot be broken (John 10 verse 35).  It is the absolute word of God. The bible is not a book of ‘cunningly devised fables’ but ‘a sure word of prophecy’ (2 Peter 1 v16-19). No other book has such distinction.
      2. 3.  It is dependable.  We need to see out need of bible study, or incentive or inspiration will be lacking.  Convinced of our need of studying the bible and knowing also our inability to understand it without help, we should depend on the Holy Spirit who indwells us (Romans 8 v9) and who was given to guide us into all truth (John 16 v13). D L MOODY ONCE SAID ‘THE BIBLE WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A SUNDIAL BY MOONLIGHT’.
      3. 4.  It is one thing to know that we need to study the Bible; it is another thing to desire to study it.  Such a desire is not forced, but should come naturally to the one who knows the author personally, and loves His fellowship.  This is what Peter had in mind when he wrote 1 Peter 2:2-3.
      4. 5.  Last of all then let us approach the Bible with an attitude of submission and mould ability.  We approach the Bible not to do something to it, but let it do something to us.  With an open heart and mind, we are prepared to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)   


We need to realise the importance going to Scripture as our primary source, rather than gleaning spiritual truths from studies other men have made.

Don’t avoid reference material

A.       Tools for Bible Study

We will look at a basic library and a more advanced library.

Basic Library

1.  A study Bible.    Scofield reference Bible

The Thompson Chain-reference

The Open Bible, Thomas Nelson Inc.

A wide margin bible would be helpful.

One with a good system of cross references.

Include one or several recent translations (see point 2)

2.  An Exhaustive concordance

An exhaustive concordance lists every usage of every word in the Bible and gives all the references where the word may be found.

Two exhaustive concordances in print today are:-

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible

Of the two, Young’s is better for word studies because of the way it is organised.

3.  A bible dictionary and/or Bible encyclopaedia.

A bible dictionary explains many of the words, topics and traditions in the bible as well as giving historical, geographical, cultural and archaeological information. A bible encyclopaedia is an expanded bible dictionary with longer articles that deal in greater detail with more subjects.  Three good ones:-

The New Bible Dictionary. Eerdmans

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopaedia. Two volumes. Moody Press

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible. 5 volumes.

4.  A topical Bible

This is similar to a concordance except that it categorises the verses of the Bible by topics instead of by words; e.g., if you were to look up the subject ‘trinity’ in the Nave’s Topical Bible, you would find 83 references listed, even though the actual word does not appear in the bible.

5.  A Bible handbook

This is a combination of an encyclopaedia and a commentary in concise form.  It is used for quick reference while reading through a particular book of the Bible.  Instead of being arranged by Topics alphabetically, handbooks are designed to follow the order of the books of the Bible.  They give background notes, a brief running commentary, and include maps, charts, archaeological notes and many other helpful facts.  The best ones are:-

Hailey’s Bible handbook.  Zondervan

Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible.  Eerdmans

A more advanced library

 6.  Additional versions and paraphrases.  Three useful and reliable translations are:-

The N.I.V

The N.A.S.B

The Amplified Bible

7.  A set of word studies

(An excellent way to study.  Could be in the above list)

These books help us study the original words of the Bible without knowing anything about Hebrew or Greek.  Some men have spent their lives searching out the full meanings of the original words, and then writing about them in simple, comprehensible language.

A good set of word studies will give you the following information:

The original root meaning of the Hebrew or Greek word

The various uses of the word throughout the Bible and in similar non Biblical literature of that historical period.

The frequency with which the word occurs in the Bible.

These reference books range from one volume dictionaries to twelve volume sets e.g.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament words

Kenneth Wuest’s Word studies in the Greek New Testament (excellent value)

Old Testament Word Studies by William Wilson. Kregel

8.  A one volume commentary and/or individual commentaries on the Bible.

Commentaries come in all sizes, ranging from one=volume commentaries to multivolume sets.

9. A Bible Atlas

10.  Old and New Testament surveys.

11.  Harmony of the Gospels.

12.  Chronological charts and general charts.


Since the bible is God’s word, Bible study should have a top priority.  With these tools you will be able to dig into the Scriptures effectively- an all important endeavour that will change your life.

B.  Preparation for Bible Study.

You must do the initial investigation.  See Acts 17.11.  When the Bereans received the message, they received it with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.

Let us look at four basic parts to Bible study.

(O)     OBSERVATION              Read the passage.           Why written?

Who to?

What is happening?

(I)     INTERPRETATION        What does it mean?

(C)     COMPARISON                Compare Scripture with Scripture.

(A)     APPLICATION                How can I apply this to my life?

1. Observation          

Webster’s dictionary defines observation as ‘the act of recognising and noting a fact or occurrence’.  It means to be aware of what you see.  To become as familiar as possible with what is being said and            implied.

A.  Observation requires.

      1. An act of the will.  Have a will and desire to learn.
      2. Have a persistence to know.  It will need diligence and discipline.
      3. Patience.  Today we want instant communication, instant everything.  Real learning takes time.  Short cuts are only short circuits and lead to ineffective results.
      4. Diligent recording.  We only remember a small portion of the observations we make.  So keep an accurate record.
      5. Observation requires caution.  Remember observation is only the first step.

B.  Use six basic questions.

Use these six basic questions when observing a passage of Scripture.

      1. Who?      List the people involved. Note Paul speaks about we, you and they.
      2. What?    What happened? What ideas are expressed?
      3. Where?  Where does this take place?
      4. When?    When did this take place? What was the historical background?
      5. Why?      Why did this happen? What is the purpose or stated reason?
      6. How?       How are things accomplished? How well? How quickly?

C.  Discover the form or structure of the passage under study?

Ask yourself questions like, how does the writer deal with the content? E.g. Does the writer ask questions and answer them.  Does he list things to avoid?  Does he give us commands to obey?

Is the passage in the form of poetry, narrative, history, parable, practical advice etc?

D.  Find key words

In some passages that you study, the key word jumps out at you and is readily apparent.  I.e. Love in 1 Corinthians 13.

In Romans 3, words like propitiation, justified, remission, redemption, righteousness and forbearance are all key in understanding the meaning of the passage.

E.  Consider comparisons and contrasts. Comparisons show how things are alike; contrasts show how things are different.  To help you in this look for words like ‘even so’, ‘as…….’ and likewise.

F.  Investigate the use of Old Testament references.

The book of Galatians is a beautiful example of this.  Paul reasoning from the Old Testament convinced those in Galatia that Jesus was the Christ.

G.  Note the progression of an idea or thought.

Through thoughts with similar ideas.  See 1 Thessalonians 2:1

V2:  we dared  V5:we never used flattery  V6: we were not looking for praise from men.
V7:  we were gentle V8 :we loved you.

H.  Be alert for Proportions

The law of proportions is one of the keys to maintaining a balance of emphasis in your personal Bible study.  Make sure that you are observing such proportions as importance of the subject, people involved, the time element and the subject matter itself.  The following chart of the Book of Acts will help you observe the time element as it is found in the book.






















1 ½




2 ½








Time span

I.  Record Repetitions

As you do your Bible study, take particular note of the repetition of words, phrases, and expressions in the passage being studied.  You can do this by making a chart of the repetitions in the passage.  The benefit of this method is not filling out the chart, but in enabling you to ask the right questions after you have seem the repetitions in the passage.  An example from 1 Thessalonians 3 may be seen below in Figure 17.

 Word or Phrase

Number of Repetitions

Verses Used







J.  Visualise the Verbs.

Look at the actions in the passage.  In Grammar, action is carried by the verbs.  They tell us what is being done, and show the flow of the passage.

Note the difference between active verbs, e.g. Hebrews 11 and passive verbs, Ephesians 1: 3-11, where the believers are acted upon.

K.  Picture the Illustrations

Many of the writers God used to record His word talked in pictures.  Jesus did this when he was talking about his followers.  He called them, vines, sheep, fishers of men, farmers and many other such expressions.

Some illustrations are obvious, like the vine and the branches in John 15, others are not.  In James 3 alone, there are at least nine different illustrations (and comparisons and contrasts).

L.  Examine the Explanations

An explanation is anything that is used to illustrate, clarify, illuminate, describe or demonstrate.  An explanation may be one verse long or a whole chapter.

M.  Concentrate on connecting words and conjunctions.

Note the words ‘if therefore, because, or, it, then, but’.
If you see the word ‘therefore’, stop and see what it is there for.

N.  Be willing to change your viewpoint.

Put yourself in their shoes when studying the passage.  How would you react?

O.  Mark your Bible.

Summary:  Be aware that some of these principles will not apply to every passage.  You will find that prayerful reflection is indispensable.  Enjoy your observations.

2.  Interpretation

Observation seeks to answer the question ‘what does it say?’  Interpretation seeks to answer the question ‘what does it mean?’  The dictionary defines interpretation as ‘the act or process of explaining; to clarify the meaning of; to offer an explanation’.  What we want to do is clarify the meaning of the passage and understand the writer’s meaning as he communicated these words to the people of his day.

Foundational to this step in Bible study is the application of the rules of interpretation.  They form the ground rules for understanding the Bible.  You should review them periodically, for the value of your Bible study will be in direct proportion to their application.

Interpretation follows observation.


 We will be looking at this in five ways.  First;

A.  Three methods of interpretation.

1.  LITERAL, GRAMMATICAL, HISTORICAL.  This method gives to each     each word the same exact basic meaning it would have had in normal

customary usage, whether in writing thought or speech.  It is so called to

emphasise the fact that the meaning is to be determined by both grammatical and historical considerations.

2.  ALLEGORICAL.  This method regards the literal sense of the record as a vehicle for a secondary, more spiritual and more profound sense.

3.  UNDISCERNING LITERAL VIEW.  This view takes the Word literally but is not consistent in doing so.  It makes no distinction between law and Grace; Jews, Gentiles and Church; the believers position and condition.  It is particularly confusing in its eschatology.

B.  General Principles of interpretation.

The first law of interpretation says the Bible is the final court of appeal.  The Bible is authoritative but it is easy to make tradition or reason (what the human mind can understand) our authority.  For example, Mary the mother of Jesus.


The subject of Biblical authority is tied to the question of the inspiration of the Scriptures.  A person cannot submit to the Bible as his authority if it is not the inspired Word of God.


When you study the Bible, let it speak for itself, do not add to it or subtract from it.  Let the Bible be its own commentary.  Compare Scripture with Scripture.  For example Isaiah 7:14.  In Hebrew the word translated in many versions as ‘virgin’ can actually be translated either ‘young woman’ or ‘virgin’.  This same verse is quoted by Matthew in reference to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, Matthew 1:23.  In Greek, however, the word has only one meaning, ‘virgin’.  In other words, Matthew interprets the word for us and we translate Isaiah’s expression as ‘virgin’.


Another example of comparing Scripture with Scripture is the truth of the assurance of salvation.  You can compare John 10:  27-29 with 1 John 5: 11-13.

In all these examples the principle remains the same – let Scripture explain Scripture.  The Bible will interpret itself studied properly.

The unsaved cannot understand what the Bible is saying. We need the help of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 2:14. People have two sets of eyes and ears. One set sees and hears things physically, the other spiritually. Paul said the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, 2 Cor 4:4.

As you read through the New Testament, you will discover that it contains three types of literat­ure.

      1. Narrative…. Gospels and Acts
      2. Instructional or teaching….. Epistles/letters
      3. 3.        Prophecy…. Revelation and part of the Gospels When studying the instructional portions you discover the writer does not say that because such and such a thing happened, therefore this must be true. Rather, he asserts just the opposite. Because this is true, a particular thing happened. For example, the NT does not teach that because Jesus rose from the dead He is therefore the Son of God. Rather, because He is the Son of God, He rose from the dead.

Do not draw doctrinal conclusions from the book of Acts unless they are supported by the Epistles. As you read through the Bible it becomes obvious that you are not to follow the example of every person that you meet. You need not follow the example of Moses and confront the leaders. You are not to follow the example of David and commit adultery and murder.

But the Bible is full of many examples that we are to follow. Are we obliged to follow these? Yes, if the example illustrates a Biblical com­mand. No, if the example is not followed by such a command.

Look at Jesus as an example. Jesus was a man of great love and compas­sion. You know you are to follow his example because He said so, John 13:34-35. All men will know we are His disciples if we love one another.

When He superintended the writing of the Bible, the Holy Spirit intended that we who read the Scriptures learn to apply what is taught. The Scriptures themselves state this as their intended purpose, 1 Cor 10:6.

Every part of the Bible is applicable to us. Correct interpretation is essential before you seek to make application. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary misunderstanding and heartache. Take care to interpret the passage correctly, and then make prayerful application.

We need to realise that church tradition does not determine what the Bible teaches; the Bible determines what the church teaches. Scripture is always the final authority.

C. Grammatical principles of interpretation.

Grammatical principles deal with the words of the text. How should you understand the words and sentences in the passages under study? What are the rules to remember?

The words were written in the everyday affairs of life and should be interpreted literally. If you do not take a passage literally all sorts of fanciful interpretations could take place.

No journalist would like to write of the famine and in India and have his words interpreted to mean that the India were experiencing a great intellectual hunger.

Ask yourself questions like, am I questioning this passage being literal because I do not want to obey it? Am I interpreting this passage figuratively because it does not fit my preconceived theological bias?

As you study a particular word you should determine four things:

1)        Its use by the writer. For example, the word sin is important to the Apostle John. A study of this word as used by him in his first Epistle will help you understand the whole letter.

2)       2. Its relation to its immediate context. The context will almost always tell you a great deal about the word. Acts 16:29-31, Paul and Silas in prison with the Jailer.

3)        Its current use at the time of writing.

4)       Its root mean­ing.

When interpreting a word or passage, your goal is to determine the author’s meaning when he wrote it. Free yourself of any personal bias when studying a passage. Your objective is to understand the thought of the writer, not what you think he ought to have said.


      • What goes before? What follows?
        • Are there any link words (e.g. “for,” “therefore”)?
          • Are there any references to other parts of the letter?

Beware of taking verses out of context

 This is basic and essential in interpreting the Bible that it is listed as a separate rule.  Look at an example of this. Take the word, FAITH.  It is an important word in the Bible, yet it has dif­ferent meanings. In Gal 1:23, the word faith means, the doctrine of the Gospel. In Romans 14:23 the context leads you to see that faith means, conviction that this is what God wants you to do.

When language is not used literally, the author will often resort to figures of speech. Let us look at the five most common ones:

1. Metaphors. A metaphor comprises two things by identifying one with the other. Usually one of the metaphors is easily recognised and is used to clarify the other that is not so easily understood. Matt 5:13, “ye are the salt of the earth”. Meaning just as salt is a flavouring influence in food, so Christians should be a flavouring influence in society.

2. Similes. A simile compares two things and usually the words, “like, so, as” are used to introduce them. Matt10:16, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves”.

3. Analogy. An analogy is a comparison of two things where one explains the other. Usually, an analogy is used as a type of reasoning. In 1 Cor 1:18, Paul said, “for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.

4. Hyperbole. A hyperbole is a deliberate attempt to exaggerate for the purpose of attracting attention. For example, Mt 7:3, “why beholdest the mote that is in thy brothers eye but consider not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

5. Anthropomorphism. This word essentially means ascribing human characteristics to God. The Bible teaches that God id a Spirit and does not have a body, but we talk of, the Lord’s ear, or the Lord’s voice, or the Lord’s hand”.

This rule suggests that you should not exceed the intended limits of the parable; don’t try and say more than it was intended to say. The parable of the sower is a good one because Jesus gives us the intended interpretation. The purpose of the parable in Lu 8 is to illustrate the different Types of responses the Word receives when it is preached. As you study the parable, don’t extend its purpose beyond the author’s intent.

Prophecy should be interpreted literally unless the context or some later reference in Scripture indicates otherwise. An example is the prophecy of Malachi regard­ing the forerunner of Christ, Mal 4:5-6. Malachi says that God will send Elijah the Prophet. When John the Baptist showed up as the forerunner of Christ much confusion was generated. Jesus said that this prophecy was to have a figurative rather than a literal 1u11ill­ment. Matt 11:13-14.

D.  Historical principles of interpretation.

You need to study history to understand to whom was it written, why, when, who were the main characters.  Understanding the historical background helps in understanding and interpreting the book.  Understanding the history to the book of Galatians will help us to see why Paul spoke the way he did.

The Old Testament sets the stage for the correct interpretation of the New Testament.  You would have difficulty understanding what the NT is talking about if you were unfamiliar with the OT.  For Example, the serpent of brass on the pole, Numbers 21 compared with John 3:14.  The whole book of Hebrews is an example of this.  Unless you are familiar with the OT tabernacle, priesthood and sacrificial system, you will have difficulty following the book.  God’s revelation of himself is progressive as you read through the Bible, but His character is unchanging.  God’s great plan of redemption is clear in both the OT and NT.  They are tow parts of the same book, not two separate books.

An example of the Bible’s use of a historical event as a symbol of a spiritual truth is Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10 v1-4.  Israel passing through the Red Sea, Exodus 14:22 symbolised their baptism.  The same rule is also applied to allegorising.  Paul uses Sarah and Hagar to develop his theme that justification by faith in Jesus

Christ is apart from the law.

E.  Theological principles of interpretation.

You must understand what the passage says before you can expect to understand what it means.  When you understand a passage says you can draw some doctrinal conclusions.  Many people use Hebrews 10:26 to teach that it is possible for a Christian to lose his salvation.  A study of this verse in its context leads you to an entirely different conclusion.  This passage speaks specifically to Jews who believed in animal sacrifices in anticipation of the coming Messiah, not realising that He had already come.

Solomon warned, Proverbs 18:13, that he who answers before listening, that it is his folly and shame.  It is foolish to come to a conclusion before hearing all of the arguments.  We need to gain all the evidence on any doctrine before reaching a conclusion.

A number of seeming contradictions or paradoxes exist in the scriptures.  “seemingly” because really they are not.  They appear contradictory because the mind of man cannot comprehend the infinite mind of God.  Some familiar paradoxes are:

1.  The Trinity – three yet one.

2.  The dual nature of Christ – God, yet man.

3.  The origin and existence of evil.

4.  The sovereign election of God – God’s election and man’s responsibility.

In Mark 12: 26-27, we see that there was a question on the resurrection.  Did the OT teach it?  The Pharisees believed it and the Sadducees denied it.  The Lord said that the resurrection could be proved from the OT, Exodus 3:15

3.  Comparison

This is an exciting and rewarding aspect of Bible study.  It will range from relating one verse to another, to relating one paragraph to another, and relating the various chapters of a book to one another.  Some basic ways of comparing scripture with scripture are through cross-references, outlines and charts.

A.  Cross references

You may find an important word that you will want to cross reference.  Melchizedek is an example, Hebrews 5:6.  We will find Him discussed also in Hebrews chapter 7.  Outside of Hebrews he is introduced in Genesis 14:18 and briefly mentioned in Psalm 110:4.

Parallel Cross-referenceThese are verses or thoughts that say the same thing.  Often the wording and context are slightly different, giving you fresh insight o the subject you are studying.

Cross reference Ephesians 5:19 with the exhortation to the Colossians in Colossians 3:16.

Corresponding cross-reference

The NT writers frequently quoted from the OT.  A study of the context of the passage quoted is often helpful in understanding the point the author is making.  When Jesus was in Nazareth, the town in which He was raised, He read the scroll of Isaiah in the local synagogue, Luke 4:16-30.  When you cross reference Luke 4:8 with Isaiah 61:1-2, you note that Jesus ends his quotation of Isaiah halfway through verse 2.  Why does he do this?  He does this because Isaiah includes both of His comings.  The first in humility and the second in Glory…and He was at that time in Nazareth only in His first advent.

Idea cross-reference

Here you endeavour to capture the thought of the author in the passage being studied and compare it with a similar thought elsewhere in the Bible.

The key though of 1 Peter 1:23, is that a person needs to be born again by the eternal Word of God.  When cross references with John 3:1-8, you find Jesus saying that a person needs to be born again, but by the Holy Spirit.

Contrasting cross-references

Contrasting examples help pinpoint and bring into balance a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches on a subject.

Contrast how Jesus handled temptation in Matthew 4, with how Adam handled it in Genesis 3.  The first Adam met Satan and was defeated: the second Adam met Satan and was victorious.

B.  Detailed Outline

Some people enjoy using a detailed outline when studying a passage.

Some people enjoy using a detailed outline for their correlation of a passage within itself.  This type of outline includes every idea mentioned in the section you are studying without omitting any details. Such an outline of 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 appears in Figure 21

I.            PAUL’S GREEING (1:1)

      1. From:           Paul, Silvanus and Timothy
      2. To:             The Church of the Thessalonians – in God and Christ
      3. Greeting:      Grace to you and peace.


      1. Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians (v2, 3)
      2.           1.  Always giving thanks for them
      3.           2.  Constantly remembering their

a)  work of faith

b) labour of love                 }                   – in Christ

c)  Steadfastness of hope                         – in the presence of God

Paul’s Gospel Ministry to the Thessalonians (v4-5)

      1.           1.  God loved the Thessalonians and chose them.
      2.           2.  The Gospel came

a)  in Word

b) in Power

c)  In the Holy Spirit

d)  With full conviction

      1.           3.  Paul’s manner of living was for their sake.

C.  Charts

 Charting maximises your opportunity to be creative in your Bible study.  There are various charts.

1.  Horizontal Charts.

A.  Survey Chart.  You see the whole of your study at a glance.

Paul’s Effective Ministry

(1 Thessalonians 1)

Gospel’s Causes

Gospel’s Effects

  Praying always

Work of faith

Labour of Love

Steadfastness of hope

Election of God

Holy Spirit

Example of Men

Became Imitators

Received the Word

Became examples of faith

Turned to God

Serve a living God

Wait for his son

1                                                    5 6                                                   10

Gospel Received

Gospel Results

Prayer, Preaching and the demonstration of power are these keys to communicating the Gospel.

An effective ministry includes being imitators of some and examples to others.

Turning to God from idols is a work of faith, serving a living God is a labour of love and waiting for His Son is steadfastness of hope.

Paragraph Title



Key Thoughts





For each paragraph


For the whole








Introduction (1:1-2)

Plot Permanent vs. Passing









Introduction (2:11-12)



(2:13-17) CIVIL


(2:18-25) SOCIAL


(3:1-17) DOMESTIC

Summary (3:8-12)


Conclusion (5:12-14)










1:3                       2:10 2:11                   3:12 3:13                5:11




Our relationship to God

Our relationship to others

Our relationship to circumstances

Our Belief

Our Behaviour

Our Buffeting







Commitment to a vision

Commitment to Christ

Commitment to Truth


Commitment to Character

1                            7 8                          13 14                         19 20                         26






























Places visited and length of stay

Churches established and the date

Men Travelling with Paul

Letters written and dates





























Men Paul appeared before

Men sent out by Paul and where sent

Men with Paul

Letters written and dates


























 A topical grid:  Many passages of Scripture deal with one particular topic.  For example, 1 Corinthians 13 is about love, 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection and 2Peter 2 about false teachers.  The themes of these chapters are usually best stated in a word or phrase rather than a sentence.  See below a topical grid on 2 Thessalonians 2.


Positive Characteristics

Negative Attitudes




Approved by God; entrusted with Gospel

Not speaking to please men.


No flattering speech; not greedy


No glory seeking; not asserting authority



A missing mother

Caring for them


Having fond affections; very dear to them

Impacting lives

2.  Vertical Charts

A.  Comparative Chart

B.  Chronological Chart



Rehoboam      931



Jeroboam  931





















Abijam         913



Nadab     910





Asa            911



Baasha    909
































Elan      886








Zimri     885

7 days







Omri     885





Jehoshapahat 873



Ahab    874





























Jehoram      853



Ahaziah  853








Jehoram 852





Ahaziah       841








Athaliah      841



Jehu    841





Joash        835



































Jehoahaz 814





























Amaziah       796



Jehoash 796




C.  Pyramid Chart

D.  Illustrative Chart

E.  Combination Chart

 4.  APPLICATION                            


The application of God’s word to my life is the goal.  James put it this way, “do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves; do what it says”. (James 1:22)  Learning is far easier than applying.  Remember the primary purpose of the Bible is to change our lives, not increase our knowledge.

 Here are six suggestions that are helpful in stimulating your mind as to possible applications.  They are:

        Is there any example for me to follow?

       Is there any command for me to obey?

       Is there any error for me to avoid/

       Is there any sin for me to forsake?

       Is there any promise for me to claim?

       Is there any new thought about God Himself?



1.  How to apply Scripture to life.

 We have already seen that the ultimate goal of all Bible study is application, and not interpretation/head knowledge.  God wants to change our lives through His word so it is important to learn how to apply scripture to our lives.

2.  Definition of devotional method of Bible study.

The devotional method of Bible study involves taking a passage of the Bible, large or small, and prayerfully meditating on it until the Holy Spirit shows you how to apply its truth to your own life in a way that is, practical, possible and measureable.

The goal is for you to take seriously the Word of God and to “do what it says”, James 1:22.

3.  Four steps to practical application.

 When you do a devotional Bible study, follow four simple steps.  These steps can be summarised in the words pray, meditate, apply and memorise.

 Step one          Pray for insight on how to apply the passage.

Step two                   Meditate on the verse(s) you have chosen to study.

Step three                  Write out an application.

Step four                   Memorise a key verse from your study.

Step One             Pray for insight on how to apply the passage.

Ask the Lord for insight as to how to apply the passage and to show you specifically what to do.

You already know that the Lord wants you to do two things:

1.  Obey His Word

2.  Share what we learn to build others up.

Step Two             Meditate on the verse(s) you have chosen to study.

Meditation is essential.  Read a passage through a few times,

thinking it over.  Meditation may be compared to rumination;

that is what a cow does when it chews the cud. (the process of

digestion is repeated three times).

Scriptural meditation is reading a passage, concentrating on it in

different ways.  Here are several practical ways you can meditate

on a passage of Scripture.





1.  Visualise

Put yourself into the situation and try to picture yourself in the situation as an active participant.

How would you feel if you were involved in the situation?

What would you say?

What would you do?

2.  Emphasise

You can emphasise words in the passage under study, e.g. look at Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

3.  Paraphrase

Paraphrase the passage under study.  Take the verse or passage you are studying and rephrase it in your own words.  The Living Bible and J B Phillips’ the New Testament in Modern English are two examples of paraphrases of Scripture.

4.  Personalise

Personalise the passage under study.  This can be done by putting your name in the place of the pronoun or nouns used by Scripture, e.g. John 3:16, 1Corinthians 13.  Use Colossians 1:9-14 or portions of it in personalised prayers.

Use the   s-p-a-c-e    and     p-e-t-s      acrostic as an aid to meditation.

Sin to confess                                 Prayer to pray

Promise to claim                      Error to avoid

Attitude to change                            Truth to believe

Command to obey                    Something to praise God for

Example to follow

Another example of personalised praise is the first three verses of Psalm 23.  Use these verses as an example of thanksgiving, e.g.

Thank you Lord, for being my Shepherd, and that I lack nothing.

Thank you for making me lie down in green pastures

For leading me beside the quiet waters,

For restoring my soul,

Thank you for guiding me in the paths of righteousness.

For your name’s sake.

Step 3            Write out an application.

Write out the application so you can remember it.  It has been proved

that if you write something down you will remember it longer and be able

to express it to others.

The passage you study may not be applicable at the time, but will be to you  a later time. Remember three things in writing out a good application.  Your application should be Personal, Practical and Possible, realising it is all only possible in Christ.

Step 4            Memorise a key verse from your study.

Memorise a key verse from the passage you are studying.

Ideas for devotional studies.

Romans 12        Psalm 15 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22    1 John 4

Devotional Study

Date:  June 30th                Passage:   Luke 12  22-26  
   1.     Prayer
   2.    Meditation:  This is my personalised paraphrase.

I shouldn’t worry so much.  God will take care of all my needs.  Since God gave me my life, surely I can trust Him to sustain it.  I can learn from the example of birds –

they don’t worry about the future.  God takes care of them on a daily basis.  And if God takes care of the birds; of course He will take care of me!  Besides, worrying never does me any good.  It never really changes the situation.  So, what’s the use of worrying?  None!

Command to obey;  Don’t worry (v22)

Promise to claim;    God will take care of me (v24)3.       APPLICATION; I need to apply this lesson in the area of our family finances.

For this next month (I’ll take it one month at a time!) the devil tempts me to worry

about our bills, I’ll resist that thought by quoting Luke 12:24 aloud.4.          MEMORISATION:  “Consider the ravens:  They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them.  And how much more – valuable you are than birds! Luke 12:24 NIV                     


Date:  July 10th                Passage:   Judges 6: 1-18  
   1.     Prayer
   2.    Meditation:  This passage is on the call of Gideon.

Lessons (Truths to believe)

      • When God wants us to accomplish something, He looks for people to use.
      • God often uses the most unexpected people.
      • God can show His strength best through our weaknesses.
      • God’s power in us is the answer to our inadequacies.

SIN TO CONFESS/ATTITUDE TO CHANGE:  Lord, forgive me for not being willing to be used by you.  I’ve felt that You couldn’t use me because of my weaknesses.  I’ve used my inadequacy as an excuse for laziness.  Help me remember that trusting in myself will cause failure, but relying on Your strength will bring victory.  Use my weaknesses to bring glory to Yourself.   3.    APPLICATION;  I ‘ve been afraid to accept my church’s invitation to  teach a

Sunday school class.  I’ve made up excuses for not taking the position because I felt inadequate.  But I know God wants me to teach that class, so I’m going to tell my pastor I’ll accept the esponsibility.4.          MEMORISATION:  “Remember what God told Gideon “I will be with you”. (v16)


1.  How to discover the meanings of Bible words.

The bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  Even though the average Christian does not know these languages, he can still do word studies because of the availability of many excellent translation and reference tools.

2.  Definition of the Word study method of Bible study

The Word study method of Bible study takes a microscopic look at the origin, definition, occurrences and uses of a particular word, especially as it relates to the context of a passage of Scripture.  The purpose is to learn as precisely and comprehensively as possible what the writer meant by the word he used.

3.  Why we should study words in the Bible.

We believe in the word by word inspiration of the Bible as written in the original writings.  David said, “the words of the Lord are flawless, like fire refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times” Psalm 12:6.  Proverbs 30:5 says “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”

These words were written in a language other than our own, and their full meanings are not always transmitted completely through a translation.  No translation is perfect because no two languages correspond exactly and word equivalents do not always exist between languages.

When the Bible was translated into English, some 6,000 different words were used and in the original languages 11,280 words were used.

4.  Keep two things in mind.

1.  Our word studies must be based on original language words and not English words.

2.  We must always allow the context to indicate the ultimate meaning of the word being   studied, no matter what the English equivalent might be.

5.  Two approaches to the word study method of Bible study

Contextual approach – looking at one word in the passage in context.

Comparative approach – compares every usage of the word through the Bible.

6.  Tools to use

A study bible

Several recent translations

An exhaustive concordance – Young’s is particularly good for this study

A bible dictionary and/or encyclopaedia

7.  Three common difficulties in doing word studies.

 A.    Sometimes several Greek words are translated by one English word. In the NT the English word, servant, translates seven different Greek words, each of them having a slightly different shade of meaning for a servant.  Our language, a later one, is unable to completely give the full meanings of the original word.  Be sure to check the concordance carefully to see if this might be true of the word you are studying.  Find out what each different word meant.

      1. B.    Sometimes one Greek or Hebrew word is translated several different ways in English.  The Greek word, Koinonia is translated five different ways in the King James Version – 1) “communication” – once, 2) “communion” – 4 times, 3) “contribution” – once, 4) “distribution” – once, and 5) “fellowship” – 12 times.

Follow this procedure in solving this difficulty;

      • List the different ways the word is translated.
      • List how many times it is translated each way.
      • Give examples of each translation (if possible)
      • Write down how the different meanings might be related.

C.  Sometimes an original word is translated by a whole phrase in English.  This difficulty will take a little more work to overcome because the concordance will not list a phrase.  An example of this is the phrase “beholding as in a glass” 2 Corinthians 3:18.  This is just one Greek word, Katoptrizomenoi.

8.  Eight steps on doing a word study.

       Step one           Choose your word.

       Step two               Find its English definition.  Use an English dictionary and write out the  definition.

      Step three           Compare translations.  Write down the different renderings of the word.

Step four          Write down the definition of the original word. Find out the original word in your concordance or

Word study book and write down its definition.

Step five          Check the word’s occurrences in the Bible.

How many times does the word occur?

In what books does it occur?

What writers used the word?

In what book does it occur most?

Where does the word first occur in the bible?

Where does it first occur in the book you are studying?

       Step six                Find the root meaning and origin of the word.

Use a bible dictionary, Bible encyclopaedia, a word

Study set or book for a fuller meaning.


       Step seven           Discover the word’s usage in the Bible.

      • Find out how the word was used in other writings.
      • Find out how the word was used in the Bible.

i.        How is the word used in other parts of the bible?

ii.        How is the word used in other books?

iii.        What is the most frequent use of the word?

iv.        How is it used the first time in Scripture?

      • Find out how the word is used in the context of the passage.  The context will be your most reliable source for insights into what the writer meant.  Ask these questions.

i.        Does the context give any clues to the meaning of the word?

ii.        Is the word compared or contrasted with another word in the context?

iii.        Is there any illustration in the context that clarifies the meaning of the word?

Step eight               Write out an application.  Be careful to keep to your goal of “application not interpretation”.

 Word Study Form


  1. English Word: Repent (noun-Repentance)
    1. English Definition: “To feel such remorse or regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it.”
      1. 1.
      2. 2.
      3. 3.  Comparison of Translations: Luke 13:3 “Repent”-NIV. NASB. KJV. Amplified. etc. “Turn from your sins”-Good News Bible
“Leave your evil ways and turn to God”-Living Bible
  1. 4.   Original Word and Short Definition:
  • “metanoeo” (Greek) “to change one’s mind”
  • “metamelomai” (Greek) “to regret or show re-morse”
  1. 5.  Occurrences in the Bible:

Two different Greek words are translated “repent” in the New Testament:

      1. Melanoeo

“Repent” (verb) 34 times

5 times in Matthew 2 times in Mark

9 times in Luke

5 times in Acts

I time in 2 Corinthians 12 times in Revelation

“Repentance” (noun) 24 times

3 times in Matthew 2 times in Mark

5 times in Luke

6 times in Acts

I time in Romans

2 times in 2 Corinthians I time in 2 Timothy

3 times in Hebrews

I time in 2 PeterB. Melamelomai

“Repent” (verb-6 times)

3 times in Matthew

2        times in 2 Corinthians I time in Hebrews 


Interesting Insights

      • The word is never used in the Gospel of John; but it. is used in Revelation 12 times.
      • The author Luke used it the most (Luke and Acts).
      • Repentance is not emphasized much in the Epistles because they were written to believers.




  1. Root Meaning and Origin (use reference books):

Metanoeo literally means “to perceive afterward.”  It is made up of two Greek words: meta. which means “after” (implying change), and noeo. which means “to perceive” (nous is Greek for “the mind”).

From this we get the meaning of “to change one’s mind or purpose.” In the New Testament this change is always for the better and it denotes a genuine, complete change of heart and life.

Not only does it imply a turning away (negative) from sin, but a turning to (positive) that which is right and godly. It means more than just feeling sorry for wrong you’ve done. It also means to completely change your mind about the sin and go a different way.

Metame/omai comes from meta (“after”) and melo (“to care for”). It means to regret, or express remorse for something you wish you hadn’t done. It means to have painful anxiety (sorrow) over a past deed. This is not genuine repentance. It means to regret something you did without ever really changing your mind about it (I’m sorry I got caught but I’m not sorry I did it. Or, I’m not sure I wouldn’t do it again). The best illustra­tion of this is Judas. He was regretful for betraying Jesus (metame/omai-Matthew 27:3) but he never genuinely repented of it (metanoeo).




7.  How the Word was used

     A.  In other writings

Metanoeo was not used much in classical Greek literature

When the word was used, it did not mean the radical change of a man’s

Life as a whole as it does in the New Testament.

B.  Throughout the Bible

      • Repentance in the Old Testament is seen most clearly in Ezekiel 18, and 33:10-20 (naham)
      • “Repent” was the basic message of John the Baptist (Matt 3:2), Jesus (Matt4:17), the 12 disciples (Mark 6:12), Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:38).
      • It is commanded by God for everyone (Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9).
      • It is part of saving faith (Luke 13:5, Acts 3:19).
      • It produces joy in heaven (Luke 15:7, 10)
      • It is proven by our actions (Acts 26:20)
      • Jesus used the word 17 times in the Gospels and 8 times in Revelation.
      • What causes use to repent?

God’s goodness to us (Romans 2:4)

Godly sorrow for our sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

God’s Grace (2 Tim 2:25)

      • It is a foundational truth of the Christian life (Hebrews 6:1)

 C,  In the Context of the Passage:2 Corinthians 7:9-10

This verse shows the difference between genuine repentance (metanoeo) and

mere regret (metamelomai).  Real godly sorrow brings about genuine repentance.    This brings about a change of life, not just regret.

 8.  Application

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance,       and patience, not realising that God’s kindness leads you toward

repentance?” (Romans 2:4) NIV

Sin to confess/Attitude to change:

I have held a personal grudge in my heart against John ever since the incident in the

mountains last fall.  It has put a strain on our relationship.  The Lord has convicted

me about this in the past but I have put of making restitution.  I know I have sinned.

I want to repent of this sin now.  Tomorrow afternoon I will visit John and ask his

forgiveness.  I want to straighten this matter out.

  Resource Books used:

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament words

Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1






The verse by verse method of Bible study involves selecting a passage of Scripture and examining it in detail by asking questions, finding cross references and paraphrasing each verse.  You then record a possible, personal application for each verse you study.

The verse by verse method takes each verse and examines it from five viewpoints.

The five steps you will do with each verse are:


STEP ONE                 Select a verse and write a personal paraphrase of the verse.

STEP TWO                 List some questions and whatever answers you find.  Use your notes

on observation, particularly the six basic questions.

STEP THREE               Find some cross references for the verse.

STEP FOUR                Write down some insights that you have discovered.

STEP FIVE                 Write out a brief personal application.


This method can be used without reference tools, or you can engage in a more in depth approach which requires a minimum of tools.  To do a more in depth study you should have at least the following to help:

A study Bible

An exhaustive concordance for cross references

A Bible Dictionary and/or Bible encyclopaedia

A set of Word studies



STEP ONE     select a verse and write a personal paraphrase

Select a verse and note the context, (remember context is crucial).  You must note the boundaries of the verse.

Write out the verse in your own words.  Do not use a modern paraphrase except to get the ideas of how to do it.  Stay true to the verse you are paraphrasing and try to condense rather than to expand it.





STEP TWO    List some questions, answers and observations

List any questions you have on the verse, or on words, phrases, persons, topics and doctrines in that verse.  Write down any answers you are able to find to your questions.  Also, record any observations you have on that verse.  Use your notes on Observations, particularly the six basic questions.


STEP THREE          Find some cross references for the verse.


Using the cross references in your study Bible or from your personal Scripture memory, write down some cross-references (try to get at least one) for the verse you are studying.  Use a concordance if you do not have a cross reference Bible.


STEP FOUR           Write down some insights that you get from each verse.


Having thought through the words, phrases and concepts in the verse, record any insights you may get from it.  These could be further observations, words and names that you have looked up and defined or any other thought that comes to you.


STEP FIVE           Write out a brief personal application.


Because of the number of verses you will be studying, you may not be able to make an application for every verse.  Instead try to record some devotional thoughts that have come to you, as you will be able to pick up on these thoughts later.  Or, if a particular verse seems to meet an immediate need, go ahead and write out an application that is possible, practical, personal and measureable.



Verse by verse analysis                                                                       BOOK               1 Timothy

Verses Personal Paraphrase Questions and Answers Cross-references Insights Possible Personal Applications

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and of Christ Jesus who is our hope.

1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.Paul, one sent forth as Christ’s representative, by the commandment of God, the One who saves us, and Christ Jesus our hope.
To Timothy, my true child in the Christian faith.  May love, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord be yoursQ.  What does the word ‘apostle’ mean?

A.  The Greek word apostolos comes from the verb apostello ‘send forth’.

Q.  God the Father rather than Christ is called Saviour.

Q.  Does the name Timothy have any special meaning?A.  Timothy means ‘he who honours God’.

Apostle2 Corinthians 1:1

God my Saviour

Luke 1:47

Titus 1:3

Christ our hope

Colossians 1:27




My Child

2 Tim 1:2  Christ Jesus

1Tim 1:151.  The name Paul came from the Latin name Paulus which means ‘little’

2.  The name Timothy means ‘he who honours God’.

3.  Paul did not need to tell Timothy that he was an apostle so perhaps this letter was intended to be read by others as well.

Messiah in Hebrew means ‘Christo’ in Greek, which means Christ in English.  Christ means ‘the anointed one of God.’I must begin to see myself in the role of Christ’s ambassador who has been authorized and sent out with a divine message.  The authority of my witness will only be as effective as my awareness of my mission.

May my name become synonymous with a life that is honouring to God, like Timothy’s.


1.        1 Thessalonians 5:17

Boundaries, 16-18

Never stop rejoicing, praying or being thankful.

2.        rejoice, pray and give thanks – all have a modifier

Rejoice  ………              Evermore

Pray………                   without ceasing

In everything….   give thanks


3.        Philippians 4:4              Rejoice

Ephesians 6:18              Praying always

Ephesians 5:20             Giving thanks always

4.        Pray is in between rejoicing and giving thanks.

The pivotal point is prayer.

5.        Application

Rejoicing, praying and giving thanks are not my strong points.

I grumble, don’t pray often enough and don’t rejoice always!




The Bible as it was originally written had not chapter or verse divisions.  Chapters and verses were added later in about 1228 AD to make the various sections of the Bible more readable.  Although the chapter and verse divisions do not always break in the best place they do provide breaking points in our reading.


The Chapter method of Bible study involves gaining a good understanding of the material in a chapter by looking carefully at each paragraph, sentence and word in a detailed and systematic way.

hy is this method important?

This method is important because it enables you to begin understanding chapters of the books of the Bible.  It is a good method for those beginning Bible study, because it does not require deep study to do a chapter summary.

In preparing for this study, read through the chapter at least five times.  The more times you read a passage of scripture the more alive it will become to you.

The great Bible expositor G> Campbell Morgan was famous for his powerful, exciting sermons.  When asked for the secret of his ability to communicate God’s word, he replied that he made it a habit to read a passage of chapter 30 or 40 times before he began working on it for a sermon.  It is no wonder his sermons were exciting and meaningful.

Here are some ideas on how to read a chapter of the Bible.

1.  Read it in a Bible without notes.  If you read it in a Bible with notes, you will have the tendency to concentrate on the ideas that are conveyed in the notes.  If you read it on your own first you will allow the Lord to give you insights into the passage.

2.  Read the whole passage through in one sitting.  This way you will get the flow of the whole chapter.  Don’t be concerned with details at first, try to capture the idea of the whole passage.

3.  Read the chapter several times in different translations.

Six steps to doing a chapter study of the bible.

 Step one      list your observations

This step begins the verse by verse observation of the chapter.  In this step you are looking at every detail, at every sentence and word, and writing down everything you see.  You are answering the question, what does it say?

Before you can begin to interpret the meaning of a verse or passage, you must first see what it actually says.  It is very easy to overlook things, so (1) Do not rush through the passage quickly.  (2) Write down your observations, when you do, you tend to see more.  (3)  Do not pass on too soon.  The more you look at it the more you will see.  (4)  Ask yourself questions; the art of good bible study is to ask yourself good questions.

Step two      Ask interpretation questions and do a chapter summary

This step involves asking questions and trying to answer them.  You will discover the writer’s purpose and message.  Look again at your notes on OBSERVATION.

1.  Asking questions.  Usually interpretive questions include asking What or Why.  Some examples are:

Why did the writer say this?

What is the meaning of………………?

What is the significance of…………………….?

What is the implication of………………………?

Why is this important?

You should think of your own questions and remember no question you can ask can be too silly.

2.  Listing difficulties.  You may have difficulties with a passage and it would be good to write these down for future discussion.

3.  Finding the right meaning of the text.  After doing the above we need to look at the passage.

      1. A.    Study the background of the text.  Interpret your text in light of the historic, cultural, geographical, economic, social and current events of the book.  Use your reference tools for this.  For an illustration of a background study, see a background study illustration at the end of the notes on the Book method of Bible study.
      2. B.    Check the context.  What are contents of the chapter?  You should always begin here, because often the answers to your questions will be found in the verse before or after the verse you are looking at.  Always interpret a passage in the light of its context.
      3. C.    Chief people.  List the important people in the chapter.  Ask questions, like, who are the most important people and why are they included?
      4. D.    Choice verse.  Choose a verse that summarises the whole chapter or one that speaks to you personally.
      5. E.    Crucial words.  Define the words and phrases used.  You must interpret the verse according to the right meaning of the word.  Look up the word in a Bible dictionary or word study.
      6. F.    Look at the grammar structure of the sentence.  Sometimes a problem of understanding a verse can be cleared up by diagramming a sentence.
      7. G.    Compare several translations.  Compare different translations with each other, to see how they render a particular word, phrase or paragraph.
      8. H.    Compare scripture with scripture.  Find cross references for the verses in the chapter to further explain the verses in your text.  This is based on the principle of interpretation that says, ‘the Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains Scripture’.  You can often interpret passages that are not clear by looking at other passages that are clear.
      9. I.    Consult a commentary.  After you have done your own study; look at a good commentary for comparison.
      10. J.    Look for a title.  You could use a word from the passage or create your own.
      11. K.    Put a summary of the chapter together.  See a summary of Luke Chapter 15 at the end of these notes.



Step Three    Write out a chapter outline

Begin by reading the chapter through several times.  As you do this you will be able to make general observations on the chapter as a whole.  After you have read the passage through several times do the following:

      1. Paraphrase the passage.  Rephrase the passage in your own words
      2. Outline the passage.  Find out where the paragraph divisions are and then give a title to each paragraph.  Then place some sub-points under each one.
      3. After you have written the chapter summary, you could give a title of the chapter.  One from the Bible or one that occurred to you during your study.  The shorter the title the more likely you are to remember the chapter.  1 Corinthians 13 could be called Love.  Hebrews 11, Heroes of Faith.  See below a summary outline of 2 Peter Chapter 2.


2 Peter 2 – An example to follow



Sanctified to grow

Christ rejected

Who we are

Sanctified to be seen

How we ought to live


response to rejection

2: 1-3

2: 4-8

2: 9-10

2: 11-12

2: 13-20

2: 21-25



Show forth







For your own sake                                                   For the world’s sake



Step four      List some possible applications.

Remember our goal is not just to interpret and understand the bible but to make it real to our everyday life situations.


Step five      Write down some concluding thoughts

Go back over these first steps and review them carefully.  Write down some concluding thoughts on the chapter.


Step six      

You could go back to some of the applications made in step five and choose one of those or another one.  Remember to make your application personal, practical, possible and measureable.


See below two charts


First is a summary of Luke 15.

Second is an outline of Ephesians 1



Chapter summary

Chapter:  Luke 15
1. Caption (title)             Lost and found
2.  Contents:

This chapter contains 3 parables

      1. 1.     Verses 3-7:  The lost sheep
      2. 2.    Verses 8-10: The lost coin
      3. 3.    Verses 11-32 The lost son

 3.  Chief People

The shepherd with the lost sheep

The woman with the lost coin

The father with the lost son


 4.  Choice Verse

         Luke 15 v7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner

        that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no


5.  Crucial word(s)

Lost (v 4,5,9,24,32)     Found (5-6,9,24,32)

6.   Challenges (Difficulties I need to study)

What does this verse mean….. “ninety and nine just persons

who need no repentance?”

7.  Cross references:  Luke 15 v4-6

      • Matthew 18:11-14
      • John 10:10-14
      • 1 Peter 2:25
      • Isaiah 53:6
      • Psalm 119:176

8.  Christ Seen

1st Parable – Jesus the Good Shepherd searching for lost

sheep.  2nd Parable – the Holy Spirit our rightful owner

finding and restoring.  3rd parable – God the Father waiting

to welcome us home.

9.  Central Lesson(s)

Insights – The son went away saying “Give me” v12 .

He returned saying “Make me” v19.

God cares for sinners and anxiously waits for them to return home.


Characteristics of the immature brother:

Anger v28

Childish v28

Jealousy v29-30

Wrong perspective v29-30

Grumbling v29-30

10.  Conclusion (Personal Application)

In each of the 3 parables a concrete effort was made to recover what was lost.  Many of my friends are lost without Christ.  I need to develop specific witnessing plans for reaching them with the Good News.  I will start by sharing my faith with my friend Jim this weekend.

I need to express more joy when I hear of people who have accepted Christ.


Chapter Outline

Chapter:  Ephesians 1  
Chapter Title: God’s Great Purpose for our lives
Chapter Summary:

Introduction (1:1-2)

1.  The Revelation of the Purpose of God (1:3-14)

      1. The Summary Statement – What He has given us (1:3)
      2. The Basis of Our Salvation –The Work of God the Father (1:4-6)
      • Chosen to be holy and blameless (1:4)
      • Adopted as His sons (1:5)
      • Grace freely given us (1:6)

C.    The Benefits of Our Salvation – The work of God the Son

      • He sacrificed Himself for us (1:7)
      • He lavished grace on us (1:8)
      • He revealed His will to us (1:9-10)
      • He made us part of his inheritance (1:11-12)

D.    The Bestowment of Our Salvation –The work of God the Holy Spirit

      • He revealed Christ to us (1:13-14)
      • He sealed us as God’s children (1:13)
      • He guarantees our inheritance (1:14)

2.  The Response of Prayer to God (1:15-23)

      1. The Foundation of the prayer (1:15-17a)
      • For faithful and loving believers (1:15)
      • To a faithful and loving God (1:16-17a)
      1. The formulation of the prayer (1:17b-20a)
      • Prayer for wisdom (1:17b
      • Prayer for enlightenment (1:18a)
      • Prayer for experiential knowledge (1:18b-20a)
      1. The Finale of the prayer (1:20b-23)  Acknowledgement of:
      • Christ’s resurrection (1:P20b)
      • Christ’s dominion over all (1:21)
      • Christ’s headship over all (1:22)
      • Christ’s lordship over the church (1:23)


This chapter shows what God has given His people- He has blessed them with every spiritual blessing there is.  It goes on to list many of those blessings in the Trinitarian work of salvation.  This is what God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have done for us.  Reading a section of Scripture like this should give us a real sense of worth because this is God’s commentary on what He thinks of those who belong to Him.

The proper response to this grand revelation should be a prayer of thanksgiving, adoration and praise which is exactly what Paul does at the end of the chapter.

A Personal Application

I need to develop more of the spirit of prayer as Paul does here.  He is so overwhelmed by what God has done for us that he spontaneously prays.  I need to meditate on what God has done for me and so respond back to Him with a prayer of adoration and praise as well.

To implement this I will reread Ephesians 1 five times, substituting “I” and “me” for the pronouns in the chapter and then spend time praying without asking anything for myself, but directing all my requests toward God and His glory.









Eph verse verse
1:3 God has blessed me with 3 God thinks the world 3 1 Peter 1:3 Thank God for what
EVERY spiritual blessing of me 2 Peter 1:4 He has done for me.
1:4 God chose me to live a 4 I must obey God and His 4 Romans 8:29 I must make sure I’m
life of holiness commandments Exodus 20:1-17 leading a holy life.
1:5 God has adopted me into 5 This means that I belong 5 Galatians 4:5 I need to act as belonging
His family. to Him forever Philippians 2:13 to God’s family
1:7 Through Christ I have 7 Christ is the only One 7 Mark 10:45 I must thank God for
been forgiven who can forgive sins Romans 3:25 totality of his forgiveness
1:9 God has revealed His will 9 Christ is God’s total 9 Galatians 1:15 Bible study is an essential
to us through Jesus Christ revelation of Himself Ephesians 3:9 if I’m to know God’s will
Hebrews 1:1-2
1:11 I am made an heir of God 11 I have all the privileges 11 Romans 8:16-17 I should thank God for this
through Christ of being an heir Acts 20:32 great gift
1:13 The Holy Spirit in me is 13 This means I am important 13 John 3:33 I need to live my life in
1:14 a guarantee of my salvation 14 that God gave me 14 Ephesians 4:30 such a way as not to offend
and acceptance So great a guarantee 2Corinthians 5:5 the Spirit who lives in me.
1:16 Paul prays for the 16 I need to pray for fellow 16 Philippians 1:3 I need to pray for John,
Ephesians Christians Romans 1:8-10 Sue and Bob.
1:18 Paul prays for others’ 18 I need to pray that others 18 Acts 26:18 I need to pray this for
enlightenment may know God’s will Charlie and Gail.





How to get an overview of a whole book of the Bible


Martin Luther, who began the great reformation in the 16th Century, gave some practical suggestions for Bible study.  He once said that he studied the Scriptures like he gathered apples.  First he would shake the whole apple tree so that the ripest fruit would fall to the ground, (study of the Bible as a whole).  The he would climb that tree and shake each branch, (study of a book as a whole).  Then he would move to the smaller branches and would shake each one individually, (study of a chapter of a book).  He would next shake each of the twigs, (study of the paragraphs  and sentences); and conclude by looking under each leaf, (study of single words).


First we make an initial survey of the book to see it as a whole.  We will want to see where it fits into the rest of Scripture.  This will also involve research into the geographical, historical, cultural and political background of the book.  Then we can take it apart chapter by chapter and do a detailed study of each chapter and each verse.  Finally we can apply it to our lives.  So we will do the following:

Survey – get a bird’s eye view of the book.

Analyse- study everything in every chapter in detail.

Apply- make application to everyday life.



A book study involves a sweeping overview of an entire book of the Bible.  It involves seeing how it fits into the rest of Scripture, taking a wide angle look.  We can then chart the overall content, so we can look right into the book itself.



We have already seen that the Bible is really 66 different books under one cover.  Each of these books is unique and has an important message for us today.  The book method of Bible study is a practical way to master the contents of each book.




Five steps to doing a book study


Step one.  Read the book.

It is easy to read books about the Bible, rather than reading the Bible itself.  So follow these suggestions.

      1. Read the book through a few time, a complete reading at one sitting.  For some of the longer books of the Bible you may want to take longer.  As you read through the Bible, read it through ignoring the chapter divisions.  Remember that the chapter divisions were not in the original writings.  As you read it through, your purpose is to get the flow of the book and the feeling of the writer.
      2. Read through the book in a recent translation.  This will enable you to understand what you are reading in a contemporary language.
      3. Read through the book without referring to commentaries or other people’s thoughts.
      4. Read the book prayerfully.
      5. Read through the book with a pen or pencil in your hand as you will want to make notes or observations.


Step Two.  Do a background study.

Find out the geographical, historical, cultural and political setting of the book and what background the book fits into.  (see notes at end of this study method for a background study on the book of Ephesians).  Use some Bible study tools to help you in this.  It would be good to look for the following:

Learn about the writer.  Who was he?

What date was the book written?

Where was the book written?

Who was the book written to?  Who were they?  What was their background?

Why was the book written? Investigate the circumstances of the writing.

What other background information sheds light on this book?

What is the place of the book in the Bible?  Is it a bridge between various places in


What are the geographical locations mentioned in the book?  You might want to draw a

map to see where they are.


Step Three  Make notes on what you read.  Then put together a book survey.

Use the notes on your verse by verse method of Bible study and Chapter method of Bible study to help you.

As you read through, write down your impressions and the important facts that you discover.

      1. Category.  Is the book history? Poetry? Prophecy? Law? A biography? A letter? Etc.
      2. First impressions.  What is the first impression you get from the book?  What is the purpose of the writer?
      3. Key words.  What are some of the significant words that the writer uses?  What words are repeated most?  What word or words is he emphasising?
      4. Key Verse.  Is there a key verse?  Are there any ideas or phrases that are repeated that show his main thought?
      5. Literary Style.  Is the book narrative? Drama? A personal letter? A discourse? Poetry? A combination of narration and poetry?  Does the writer use figurative speech?  Is he using logical argument?
      6. Emotional Tone.  Is the writer angry?  Sad?  Happy?  Worried?  Excited?  Depressed? Calm? How do you think his hearers must have felt when they received his writings?  How do you feel?
      7. Main theme(s).  What is the main theme?  What is the main emphasis?
      8. Main structure.  What are the obvious divisions of though in the book?  How is the book organised?  Is it organised around people, events, time, places etc?
      9. Major People.  Who are the principle personalities in the book?  Who is mentioned the most and what parts do they play in the book?


Book Survey

Book:  Ephesians  
Chapters:  6
Notes on the Book:
      • Category:  New Testament Letter
      • First Impressions:  It is a book which strengthens my faith and challenges me to my responsibilities.  Strongly doctrinal.
      • Key Words:  “in Christ” and “walk”.
      • Key Verses:  1:3 and 4:1
      • Literary Style:  A general letter that is punctuated by two worshipful prayers.
      • Emotional Tone:  Calm with the intention of teaching the readers and challenging them to their responsibilities.
      • Main Theme(s): What we are because of Jesus Christ (“in Christ”) and the responsibilities that are ours because of our standing.
      • Structure:  Two main divisions separated by a “therefore”.  In the first part two prayers are recorded.
      • Major People:  Paul, the Ephesian Church, Evil forces and Tychicus

Reference Books Used:

Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible

William Hendriksen’s Ephesians

The New Bible Dictionary




Step Four.  Make an outline chart of the books contents.

The value of an outline chart is that it enables you to visualise the contents and divisions of a book.  It gives you an overall perspective of the book.  As you study the book write down the insights that come to you.

There are at least three parts to an outline chart.

      1. Major divisions
      2. Chapter titles
      3. Paragraph titles


What are the benefits of an outline chart?

      1. It helps you to summarise the main ideas and contents of a book.
      2. It enables you to see the contents of an entire book at a glance.
      3. You see the relationships between chapters and paragraphs.
      4. You become aware of ideas that are repeated in several places.
      5. You will be able to remember the chapter’s contents quickly.
      6. You will be able to think through a book and remember it.


See an outline of Ephesians 6.


Step Five.  Write out a personal application and/or the main theme of the book.

Put together what you think the theme of the book is.  For example, the theme of the book of Ephesians  could be called “Christ, the Head of the Church” or “In Christ”.  The subject is “the church of which Christ is the head”.  Paul seems not so much concerned about the local church as he is about the universal, true church or the Body of Christ.

Even though the main purpose of the book study is to get you acquainted with the book, you should not forget to make some personal application of some insight that you have discovered while looking at the book.




1.  Subject:  Ephesus (Book of Ephesians)  
2.  Reference Tools Used:
      • Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible
      • The New Bible Dictionary
      • The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia

3.  Geographical Background:

The city was situated on the western coast of Asia Minor at the mouth of the Cayster River, one of the four major east-west valleys that ended in the Aegean Sea.  It was at the beginning of a major highway that went eastward across Asia Minor into Syria then into Mesopotamia, Persia and India.

Ephesus was a large port city and had a population of around 400,000 in the apostle Paul’s time.  It was the most important city in the Roman province of Asia.  Its strategic location caused it to be the meeting place of the land and sea trade routes in that part of the world in those days.4.  Historical Background:

Ephesus was an ancient city whose origins are lost in the mists of antiquity.  It was known as an important port city in the days of the ancient Hittites (early 1300s BC)

Around 1080 BC it was taken and colonized by the Greeks from across the Aegean Sea and Greek ways and influence were introduced.  Five centuries later it was taken by the legendary King Croesus who restored Asian influence to the city.

The Persians took Ephesus in 557BC and two centuries of conflict with the Greeks over it followed.  Alexander the Great captured the city in 335 BC and the Greek influence prevailed until Roman times.

The Romans took the city in 190 BC and it remained in their hands or in the hands of their allies until the days of Paul and later.  It became the major city in the Roman province of Asia although Pergamum still remained the capital.5.  Cultural Background:

From the time that the Greeks took the city in 1080 BC, cultural conflict existed between the Asian and Greek ways of life.  The original religion included the worship of the mother-goddess whom the Greeks later called Artemis (Diana in the Roman system).  Here the original goddess had a shrine and the Greeks later built a grand temple that became known throughout the whole Mediterranean world.

Being at the cross roads of Europe and the Orient, the city had an international flavour as peoples of many backgrounds, particularly traders and sailors, mixed here freely.  Thus it was a cosmopolitan city, primarily Greek in culture, but with Asian underpinnings existing there at the same time.  It had all the conveniences of a modern Roman city – gymnasium, stadium, theatres and a central market place.

6.  Political Background:

In Paul’s day, since it was a city loyal to Rome it was governed by the Roman proconsul from Pergamum.  Thus it was allowed to have its own government and was divided into “tribes” according to the ethnic composition of its population.  In Paul’s time there were six of these tribes and the representatives to the gathering elected the “town clerk” who was responsible for all public meetings.

Other government officials included the Asiarcle municipal officers of Rome and Neokoros, the temple officials.7.  Background of the Book:

The City of Ephesus was an important city and because of its strategic value, Paul and his team headed there on their second missionary journey.  Paul later ministered there for some time (on the third journey).

Because of its cosmopolitan population, here was an opportunity for ministry to many different kinds of peoples- Romans, Greeks and the Asians of that part of Asia.  Also a ministry could be had with the travellers and traders , who came both by land and sea.

Its history and geography made the city strategic for the planting of churches and then spreading the news of the Gospel throughout the whole territory around, as well as many other places through the caravans and shipping.

Paul had founded the church in Ephesus on his second missionary journey and left Aquila and Pricilla there for follow up with the converts.  Whilst there, they had an influence in Apollo’s’ life.

At the beginning of his third mission, Paul returned and ministered in the city for a lengthy time, during which the Gospel spread throughout all of the Province of Asia.

Then, after Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he wrote this letter to the church.  Its occasion was simply an opportunity to strengthen the church both doctrinally and practically.  It was written to strengthen believers in that church in their opinion of themselves (in light of the other powerful religious influences in the city – in the temple of Artemis) and in carrying out their responsibilities  as Christians in their community.

Many references in the book have pertinence to the original readers because the background is the city of Ephesus, its culture, government and history.

Book:  Ephesians
Chapter:  6

Introduction (1:1-2)

1.  The Author   (1:1)

2.  The Recipients (1:1)

3.  The salutation (1:2)

1.  God’s plan for the church us (1:3- 3:21)

(Who we are in the sight of God)

A. The Selection of the Church (1:3-23)

      1. The Revelation of the purpose of God (1:3-14)
      • The summary statement (1:3)
      • The basis of our salvation – work of God the Father (1:4-6)
      • The benefits of our salvation- work of God the Son (1:7-12)
      • The bestowment of our salvation – work of the Holy Spirit (1:13-14)

2.    The response of prayer to God (1:15-23)

B.    The Salvation of the Church (2:1-22)

1.  The work of Christ in regeneration (2:1-10)

      • What we were (2:1-3)
      • What He did (2:4-9)
      • What He made of us (2:19-22)

2.   The work of Christ in reconciliation (2:11-22)


      • What we were  (2:11-12)
      • What He did (2:13-18)
      • What He made of us  (2:19-22)

C.    The Secret of the Church (3:1-21)

1.  The revelation of the mystery

      • All people saved are “heirs” together (3:1-6)
      • This needs to be preached to everyone (3:7-13)

2.  The response of prayer to God (3:14-21)

      • Praying for others to know this (3:14-21)
      • The doxology (3:20-21)


2.  The Conduct of the Church (4:1-6:20))

(What our responsibilities are before God)

A.  The Responsibilities of the Church ( 4:1-5:21))

      • To have a united walk(4:1-16)
      • To have an understanding walk(4:17-32)
      • To have an unselfish walk (5:1-4)
      • To have an unsullied walk (5:5-21)

B  The relationships within the Church (5:21-6:9)

      • Marital relationships (5:21-33)
      • Family relationships (6:1-4)
      • Employment relationships (6:5-9)

C  The Resources of the Church (6:10-20)

      • The admonition (6:10)
      • The adversaries (6:11-12)
      • The armour (6:13-17)
      • The access (6:18)
      • The ambassador (6:19-20)


Conclusion (6:21-24)

      • The messenger (6:21-22)
      • The greeting (6:23-24)





Chosen by God

Saved by Christ

Empowered by the Holy Spirit










Three doxologies separate the work of the Trinity:

Father (1:4-6)

Son (1:7-12)

Holy Spirit (1:13-14)The work of Christ is seen as a work of grace which we receive by faith

Redemption (2:1-10)

Reconciliation (2:11-22)

(The results are seen here)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to make all believers of all backgrounds One in Christ.  This was a mystery before.“Therefore…”

1.  We are to have a united walk (4:1-16)

2.  We are to have an understanding walk (4:17-32)

3.  We are to have a holy walk (5:1-14

4.  We are to have a Spirit led walk (5:15-21)The specifics are now given.

1.  Husbands and wives (5:22-33)

2.  Parents and children (6:1-4)

3.  Employer and employee (6:5-9)The reason we have difficulties in our responsibilities and relationships is because of our spiritual warfare.  But we have God’s armour to protect us.Paul’s first prayer (1:15-23)Paul’s second prayer (3:14-21)Paul’s closing greetings, Tychicus sent (6:21-24)

     The Epistle to Philemon



Paul – Paul calls himself a “prisoner of Jesus Christ”.  He means that he, in contradistinction to the other Roman prisoners, is imprisoned because of his connection

with Jesus Christ.  Paul does not need to remind Philemon that he writes with apostolic authority.  Philemon will obey without this reminder.

Timothy- Timothy is with Paul at the time this epistle is written so Paul associates Timothy with himself as the epistle’s author.  Paul calls him “our (the) brother”.

Philemon, a good man, will be moved when he receives this appeal from the suffering prisoner of the Lord and his devoted assistant “the brother”.



1.  Philemon.  Paul calls him “our dearly beloved and fellow labourer”.  The term “fellow labourer” is not an official title but it is a term which could be applied to any layman in the church.

2.  Apphia.  She is called “our beloved Apphia”.  She was probably the wife of Philemon.

3.  Archippus Paul calls him a “fellow soldier”.  Here and in Philippians 2:25 this term is used, referring to a fellow minister.  Archippus was probably Philemon’s son.  It appears that he was left in charge of the church at Colossae while the regular pastor was away visiting Paul in Rome.  Colossians 4:17

4.  The church in thy house.  We do not know whether all or only a part of the Colossian congregation met in the house of Philemon (See Acts 12:12, Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15 for similar terms).  We have no record of special church buildings (“church houses”) until the third century AD.


Here we have Paul’s usual wish of greeting, that God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord would continue to furnish the readers with sanctifying grace and peace.


What Paul thanked God for (1:4-5).  Whenever Paul mentioned Philemon in his prayers, he always thanked God for Philemon’s faith toward the Lord Jesus and his love for all the saints (the Greek has two different prepositions)  Love for the saints is a fruit of faith toward Jesus Christ.  Philemon had manifested his love for the saints in his charitable deeds toward them.  Paul had heard of Philemon’s faith and love through Epaphras who had recently arrived from Colossae and through Onesimus, Philemon’s slave.

What Paul asked God for (1:6) “That the communication of Philemon’s faith may remain active by recognizing (having a full knowledge of) all the good things which may be done among the Colossians to reveal and glorify Christ”.

Our faith is actively communicated when we are alert and responsive to all of the good things in our midst that may be done for Christ.  Paul has in mind the forgiveness of Onesimus and the recognition of him and of all other Christian slaves as brothers in Christ.

Why Paul asked this thing for Philemon (1:7)  “I ask God that the communication of your faith might continue (toward Onesimus now) that our joy in you might continue, for we have great joy in you because the bowels (tender feelings) of the saints have been (in time past) refreshed by you, brother”.

Philemon had communicated his faith to the saints in time past and had given Paul and Timothy great joy.  Now Paul prays that he will continue to actively communicate his faith by receiving and forgiving Onesimus.  If he does, then Paul and Timothy’s joy in him will continue.


PAUL’S APPEAL (1:8-21)

Nearly every word of Paul’s introduction 1:1-7 has served as preparation for Paul’s appeal to Philemon.  Now we have the appeal itself, the central portion of the epistle.


A.  THE ESSENCE OF THE APPEAL (1:10,12,17,18)

“Forgive Onesimus for his wrongdoing and receive him back into your household, no longer looked at as a slave but as a brother”.  “Receive him as you would receive me, Paul”.



Paul does not use trickery or high pressure tactics in his appeal to Philemon.  He uses true, unselfish, God-given psychology.  He knows how to touch the springs which motivate men to action.  Successful spiritual leaders possess this ability, this gift.

1.  Philemon is a man filled with Christian love (1:8,9) “Wherefore, though I might as an apostle of Jesus Christ enjoin (command) you to do that which is fitting, I do not command you but rather, I beseech (urge) you for the love’s sake (the Greek has the word the before the word’s love’s sake), for the sake of the love that I hear you possess (the love spoken of in verses 5-7) “.  “I know that you possess Christian love and that all I need do is to urge you to use it”.

How can Philemon disappoint Paul after he reads this sincere compliment?  Men seldom disappoint us after we remind them of their good reputation.

Paul is an old man and is in prison (1:9b)  Paul is an old man, probably around 60 years of age, who has laboured as a minister for around 25 years and is even now in prison suffering for the gospel.  Philemon, a fellow-labourer in the gospel, verse 1, cannot resist the urgings of an old suffering warrior like Paul.

Onesimus is Paul’s own child (1:10)  “ I begot Onesimus in my imprisonment, so he is my own tender child who must receive gentle care if he is to survive and grow”.  The tender emotions of Philemon will be touched when he reads this appeal.

Onesimus is a changed person (1:11) “He was, before his conversion, useless (unprofitable) to you, Philemon, but now he is useful (profitable) to you and to me”.  (He had proved himself in ministering to Paul after his conversion).  Christianity (true salvation) changes a person’s wrong attitudes, his wrong habits and his whole outward pattern of life.

To receive Onesimus is to receive Paul’s own hear (1:12)  “Onesimus is a part of me.  To receive him is to receive my heart”.  To reject him would be to reject Paul.  Can Philemon turn from such an appeal?

Paul esteems Onesimus very highly (1:13-14)  “I thought for a time to keep Onesimus with me to minister to me in your stead during my imprisonment for the gospel’s sake.  But I gave up this thought because I would not want his services unless you freely and willingly volunteered them without any suggestion on my part”.  Paul tells this to Philemon, not to have Onesimus returned to him, but to let Philemon know how highly Paul regards Onesimus’ services.  Philemon should be glad to receive such a valuable servant.

God’s providential hand can be seen (1:15-16) “Philemon, God really wanted to bless you when he allowed your servant to run away to Rome,  He took Onesimus away from you for a little season (and you were deprived of his services) but know God is returning him to you forever, no longer just a pagan servant but now a person much more than a servant, a beloved brother.  He has become beloved to me in our short acquaintance since his conversion:  how much more, as the years go by, will he become beloved to you both as a conscientious and dedicated servant in the flesh and as brother in the Lord”.  If Philemon rejects Onesimus, then he will be rejecting the providential plan, and blessing of God.  What a beautiful type?  God lost us temporarily in the fall that He might someday have us back with Himself forever, no longer servants but as dedicated and loving sons.

To fellowship Paul is to fellowship his spiritual brother (1:17)  “If you count me a partner (as one fellowshipped) then receive Onesimus as you would receive me for he is now a brother and one to be fellowshipped”.  (Slave brothers and the apostle brothers are equal before the Lord and both must be equally fellowshipped.)

Onesimus’ debts to Philemon, if any, will be paid by Paul (1:18,19)  Paul now attempts to remove any remaining objection that Philemon may have to the full restoration of Onesimus.  “If you consider Onesimus to have wronged you by depriving you of his services and so as owing you a debt (Onesimus is often accused by the commentators of having stolen from Philemon but this may not be true), then you may charge that debt to me.  I now give you my word, in my own handwriting.  I will repay it  (Paul probably took the pen from his scribe to write these lines)  not mentioning the debt you owe me, your own self, besides what you owe me for converting and returning Onesimus to you”.  Paul says “I will repay any supposed wrong done by Onesimus although you owe me your very self for I led you to the Lord”.  If Paul cancels the large debt owed him by Philemon, then Philemon should cancel the small debt owed to him by Paul’s son, Onesimus.

Paul will be refreshed in the Lord if the request is granted (1:20)  “Yes brother, I am desirous of making a profit of thee in the Lord”  (KJV) “Have joy of thee in the Lord”.  “Refresh my heart in Christ”.  “Philemon, the only payment I ask on the debt that you owe me is that you refresh me in granting my request. “  How happy Paul will be to see two of his converts, one a master, one a slave, united in true Christian fellowship, under Christ.

Paul has confidence in Philemon’s obedience (1:21)  On the basis of Philemon’s record of obedience to the law of love, Paul tells Philemon he has confidence that he will go even beyond Paul’s urgings concerning Onesimus.  How can Philemon destroy Paul’s confidence in him?  How can he disappoint his spiritual father?  How can Philemon resist the whole appeal of verses 8-21?


PAUL’S CLOSE (1:22-25)


“Along with your Christian reception of Onesimus, prepare lodging for me”.  Paul expects a hearing before Nero soon and hopes for an early release from imprisonment in answer to many prayers.  He hopes to visit Colossae after his acquittal.  Philemon is requested to be preparing (present tense)a lodging for Paul and his party.



Five of Paul’s associated who are known to Philemon send their greetings.  Epaphras is singled out because he is the pastor of the Colossian church.  Epaphras, either voluntarily or involuntarily, shares Paul’s imprisonment.



“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Amen”.


Topical Study


Topic:   The Faithful Man (2 Timothy 2:2)
Compile a list of Words:   Faithful
Collect Bible References:
      • Number 12:7
      • 1 Samuel 2:35
      • 1 Samuel 22:14
      • Nehemiah 7:2
      • Nehemiah 13:13
      • Isaiah 8:2
      • Daniel 6:4
      • Psalm 12:1
      • Proverbs 20:6
      • Proverbs 28:20
      • Matthew 24:45
      • Luke 16:10-13
      • Luke 19:17
      • 1 Corinthians 1:9
      • 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, 16-17
      • 1 Corinthians 10:13
      • Ephesians 6:21
      • Colossians 1:7
      • Colossians 4:7,9
      • 1 Timothy 1:12
      • 2 Timothy 2:2
      • 1Peter 5:12
      • 1John1:9





Topical Study Form Comparison Chart

Steps 3 and 4

versesCross-ReferencesObservations and InsightsNumbers 12:7 Moses was called faithful by God1 Samuel 2:35 It was prophesied that Samuel would be a faithful man.

A faithful man is obedient to God’s will.1 Samuel 22:14 David was called a faithful man by Ahimelech.Nehemiah 7:2Matthew 24:45Hanani was called a faithful man by Nehemiah

A faithful man is given leadership roles.Nehemiah 9:7-8 Abraham was considered faithful by the Lord.Nehemiah 13:13 Nehemiah’s treasurers were considered faithful by Nehemiah so he gave them responsibility.Isaiah 8:2 Uriah and Zechariah were faithful witnesses in the sight of the Lord.Daniel 6:4John 19:4The Persian princes could not accuse Daniel of any wrongdoing because he was a faithful man.

A faithful man lives a blameless testimony before the world.Psalm 12:1Proverbs 20:6

Philippians 2:19-20Faithful men are few in number and are hard to find.Proverbs 20:6Philippians 2:19-22There are not many faithful men in the world.

A faithful man cares about the interests of others while an unfaithful man is always bragging about himself and serving himself.Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man abounds with blessing.

A faithful man has his values right, in contrast with a man who is eager to get rich.Matthew 24:45Nehemiah 7:2A faithful man is given leadership role.Matthew 25:21,23Luke 19:17A faithful servant will be rewarded with greater responsibilities in heaven and will experience the Lord’s joy over his faithfulness.




Topical Study Step 5


Condensed Outline.

1. Faithfulness is a Godly quality.

      • 1 Corinthians 1:9
      • 1 Corinthians 10:13
      • 1 John 1:9
      1. Faithful men are hard to find.
      • Psalm 12:1
      • Proverbs 20:6
      • Philippians 2:19-20
      1. Biblical Examples of Faithful Men


Old Testament Examples

Abraham – Nehemiah 9:7-8

Moses – Numbers 12:7

Samuel- 1 Samuel 2:35

David- 1 Samuel 22:14

Hanani- Nehemiah 7:2

Nehemiah’s treasurers-Nehemiah 13:13

Uriah and Zecheriah-Isaiah 8:2

Daniel- Daniel 6:4


New Testament Examples


Timothy- 1Corinthians 4:17

Tychicus- Ephesians 6:21

Ephaphras-Colossians 1:7

Onesimus- Colossians 4:9

Paul- 1 Timothy 1:12

Silas- 1 Peter 5:12



      • Many men called faithful in the New Testament received training from Paul.
      • Paul himself was a faithful man.  He was an example to those he trained.


      1. Characteristics of a Faithful Man


      • He cares for others’ interests, not his own (Proverbs 20:6, Phil 2:19-22)
      • He has his values right.  He is not anxious to get rich. (Prov. 28:6)
      • He lives a blameless testimony before the world. (Daniel 6:4)
      • He is obedient to God’s will (1 Samuel 2:35)
      • He demonstrates wise stewardship (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)
      • He passes on to others what he has learned (2 Timothy 2:2)


5.  Ways to Test a man’s faithfulness (Luke 16:10-13)


      • Test him in small responsibilities before giving him large ones (v10)
      • Test him in non-spiritual matters before giving spiritual truth (v11)
      • Test him in how he value what isn’t his, before giving him his own.  Observe how he serves faithfully in someone else’s ministry before sending him out on his own (v12)


6.  The Benefits of being a faithful man.


      • He is given leadership roles (Nehemiah 7:2, Matthew 24:45)
      • He will abound with blessing (Proverbs 28:20)
      • He will be rewarded with greater responsibilities in heaven and will experience the Lord’s joy over his faithfulness (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17)
      • He is given a ministry (1 Timothy 1:12)
      • He is entrusted with spiritual truth (2 Timothy 2:2)
      • His discipler shows confidence in him be sending him in his place (1 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 2:19-24; Ephesians 6:21)



Conclusions (summary and application)

As I have done this study on the faithful man God has impressed on me the need to be more faithful in two specific areas.  First, I need to be more faithful in my prayer life; I need to be more disciplined in setting aside a daily period for prayer.  The other area I need to be more faithful in, is my finances. (Luke 16:10) is the verse that I needed.  It teaches that if I am not faithful in handling my money, God will not trust me with true riches – spiritual blessings.



      • I plan to memorize the passage on “Tests of a man’s faithfulness” by next week.
      • I will set up a family budget with my wife this weekend.  We will start keeping better records of how we spend our money and will ask God to guide us in our spending, saving and giving,
      • I will begin spending 20 minutes each morning before breakfast to review my prayer list and pray.


Biographical Study

Name:   Stephen
Scripture References:

Acts 6:3-8:2

Acts 11:19

Acts 22:20First Impressions and Observations

Stephen was an early Christian who had a tremendous testimony in the church, was a powerful preacher and witness, and was willing to die for his faith.

Outline of His or Her life:

A.  Chosen by the Early Church as a leader

      • To help resolve conflict (Acts 6:5)
      • On the basis of certain godly characteristics (Acts 6:3,5,8)

B.  He had a wide ministry

      • Waited on tables (Acts 6:2,5)
      • Performed miracles (Acts 6;8)
      • Preached and taught powerfully (Acts 6:10)

C.  He was persecuted

      • Opposed by Jews from “overseas” (Acts 6:9)
      • Falsely accused and brought before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:12-14)

1.  false witnesses testified against him.

2.  defended himself with a masterful review of OT scriptures (Acts 7:2-53)

3.  testified to Jesus (Acts 7:55-56)

4.  lynched by an angry mob (Acts 7:57-60)


      1. He had a ministry after his death – persecution caused the church to spread (Acts 8:2-4, 11:19)

General Insights

A.  Why was he chosen to be a leader?  Because:

      • He was full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3)
      • He was full of faith and the Spirit (Acts 6:5)
      • He was full of God’s grace and power (Acts 6:8)
      • He knew the scriptures (Acts 7:2-53)


B.  What was his response to false accusations?  He “kept his cool”, remained silent, and only answered when he was directed to speak by the high priest.


C.  Are there any parallels with Jesus?  Yes, he was falsely accused, demonstrated love and concern for his accusers and died an ‘undeserved’ death.


D.  What was his attitude towards his executioners?  He was forgiving, even to the point of praying that God would forgive them for their sin of murder.

      1. What were the long term results of his life, ministry and death?  They forwarded the plan of God.  His death caused the disciples to scatter and take the Gospel to other parts of Judea, Samaria and regions beyond Palestine in fulfilment of Acts 1:8.  His death aloes helped bring Paul to the Lord.

Character Qualities Identified:  The Book of Acts

      • Spirit filled (6:3,5,10)
      • Wise (6:3,10)
      • Faithful (6:5)
      • Available to God (6:8)
      • Persistent (6:10)
      • Holy (6:15)
      • Knowledgeable (Chpt. 7)
      • Bold (7:51-53)
      • Brave (7:51-53)
      • Forgiving (7:60)
      • Respected by others (8:2)
      • A witness to Jesus (22:20)

Bible Truths illustrated in His or Her life

      • The presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit in the trials of life (Acts 7:54-55; Hebrews 13:5-6)
      • False accusations and persecution will come into our lives (Acts 6:11)
      • God’s grace is sufficient when we walk with Him (Acts 6:10; 1 Cor 1:27-31; 2 Cor 12:9)

Summary of Lessons learned from His or Her life

The outstanding characteristic of Stephen was his commitment to the Lord and his willingness to do anything for Him, including giving up his life.

This commitment is seen in the fact that he was a man who walked with God (he was “full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, faith, God’s grace and power”.  He had a great testimony before others in the church.  He witnessed to people both in life and in death.

He was, furthermore, a man of the Word.  He really knew his Bible- the Old Testament.  He must have spent hours studying the scrolls and the parchments.Personal Application:

I need to become a person like Stephen – a person of the Word who knows Jesus Christ intimately and who is able to answer others with Scripture when they ask questions.  As a result of this study, I will commit myself to having a daily quiet time for at least 15 minutes to get to know Christ better.  I will also commit myself to memorizing two Scripture verses each week so that I can answer people who ask me questions.Transferable Concepts (ways I can share this with others)

The concepts in this study that are transferable.

1.  The necessity of a personal walk with Jesus Christ.  The only way we can become men and women of faith and wisdom like Stephen is to have a daily quiet time with the Lord.  Stephen had a dynamic walk with Jesus Christ.

2.  The necessity of being in the Word of God on a regular basis – Bible study and Scripture memory.  If I am to know my Bible as Stephen did, I need to spend quality time in it and be able to teach others how to do so as well.  This book is one means to help me do so.  I need to share these methods with others.

3.  The necessity of courage in times of adversity and persecution.  I need to pray that God will give me boldness.


Character Quality Study

Character Quality:  Boldness

    An exhibition of courage and fearlessness; bravery; willingness to move ahead confidently in

the face of danger”.   Opposite Quality:  Timidity, Fearfulness

“To shrink back from a difficult or dangerous circumstance; to be hesitant”.Simple Word Study

Old Testament word: Butah means to be confident.

Example:  Proverbs 28:1 – “The righteous are as bold as a lion”.


New Testament words:  Tharreo means “to be confident, bold or daring.”

Example:  Hebrews 13:6 – “So that we may boldly say, ‘the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me’”” (KJV)


Parresiazomai means “to speak boldly or freely “.

Example:  Acts 19:8 – “He went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (KJV).


Reference Tools used:

Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT words.

Cross reference Insights

      • Christ spoke boldly in the face of opposition (John 7:26)
      • Our confidence and boldness come from knowing that the Lord will help us in difficult situations (Hebrews 13:6)
      • Peter and John were bold because they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)
      • When the Holy Spirit fills your life, you will be able to speak the Word of God boldly.  The first Christians prayed for boldness in witnessing and God answered their prayer by filling them with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:29-31)
      • When Christ’s love is in us we will be bold because there is no fear in love.  Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:17-18)


Simple Biographical Study

The apostle Paul is a major example of boldness.  His entire life seemed to be characterized by this quality.

      • As a young Christian in Damascus, he witnessed boldly for Christ. (Acts 9:27)
      • Everywhere he went, he shared his faith boldly in spite of opposition and persecution:

In Jerusalem (Acts 9:28-29)

In Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:46)

In Iconium (Acts 14:3)

      • He wrote bold letters to the churches (Romans 15:15)
      • He asked people to pray that he would continually preach and teach with boldness (Eph 6:19-20)
      • His Christian testimony while in prison caused others to speak boldly for Christ (Phil 1:14)
      • He even face death boldly (Phil 1:20) “In nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death “.  (KJV)

Memory Verse(s)

“So we say with confidence ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)A situation or Relationship (where God wants to work on this quality in my life).

I have been afraid to witness to my friend Ted, who works with me at the office.My Project:

First, I will ask my wife to pray with me about overcoming my timidity in witnessing to Ted.  Then, each day this week, I will pause before going into the office and ask the Holy Spirit to fill my life and give me boldness to witness to Ted (Acts 4:31)Personal Illustration:

Monday and Tuesday of this week I prayed for boldness to witness to Ted but the opportunity just didn’t arise.  Tuesday night, I decided that I needed to be more earnest in my prayers so I asked my wife to pray with me specifically for a chance to share my faith with Ted on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, I paused at the office door before going in and I prayed silently that Ted would sense “that I had been with Jesus” like Peter and John (Acts 4:13) .  Then I went in and placed my Bible on top of my desk, hoping Ted would recognise it.

During the coffee break, Ted came over to talk to me.  He noticed my Bible and said “Is that a Bible?”

I answered “It sure is.  Have you ever read it?”

“Not lately” he said

I said “Well, I’ve been reading it a lot lately and I’ve discovered some neat things in it.”  I then shared a brief testimony of what God was doing in my life.  Ted seemed mildly interested – at least he wasn’t turned off.  It’s a start and I thank God for giving me the boldness to go this far.



“The men who have most fully illustrated Christ in their characters, and have most powerfully affected the world for Him, have spent so much time with God as to make it a notable feature in their lives……. to be little with God is to be little for God”  EM BOUNDS


We have seen God has communicated to man through His Word – the Bible.  The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  Through the Scriptures we can get to know God better, understand His desires for our lives and discover new truths about living for Him.  God desires us to let His Word dwell richly in us.  So we will want to give ourselves wholeheartedly to allowing God’s word to fill our lives.  God places great emphasis upon the practice of meditating on His word, because effective meditation leads to personal application.  Meditation and application  not only will help us “to get into the Bible” but will also allow “the Bible to get into us”.

But there is more to it than that.  True Bible study is not just a matter of acquiring information and knowledge; it should affect not only the mind, but also the heart and will, and should lead to obedience and worship of God.  Besides learning about the Bible, we should also expect to see our day to day living changed by the Bible.



A good definition of a quiet time might be: the prayerful study and application of the Word of God enabling me to develop a greater understanding of what the Bible teaches, in order to obey it, and be transformed more into the image of Christ.

So a quiet time is an unhurried time of Bible reading and prayer.  It helps us in that it helps our Spiritual growth and nourishment, and it will also help us in developing our personal relationship with God.

The following article is reproduced from a Navigators booklet called “Seven Minutes with God” and ought to be helpful in developing and maintaining a consistent daily quiet time.





It was in 1882 at Cambridge University that the world was first given the slogan “Remember the morning watch”.  Students like Hooper and Thornton found their days packed with studies, lectures, games and discussions.  Enthusiasm and activity were the order of the day.  These dedicated men soon discovered a flaw in their spiritual armour – a small crack which if not soon closed would bring disaster.

They sought an answer and came up with a scheme the called “the morning watch” – a plan to spend the first minutes of a new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible.

The morning watch sealed the crack.  It enriched a truth so often obscured by the pressure of ceaseless activity that it needs daily rediscovery.  To know God is necessary to spend consistent time with Him.  The idea caught fire. ‘A remarkable period of religious blessing’ followed and culminated in the departure of the Cambridge Seven, a band of prominent athletes and men of wealth and education, for missionary service.  They gave up everything to go out to China for Christ.

But these men found out that getting out of bed in time for the morning watch was as difficult as it was vital.  Thornton was determined to turn indolence into discipline.  He invented an automatic foolproof cure for laziness.  It was a contraption set up by his bed: “The vibration of an alarm clock set fishing tackle in motion, and the sheets, clipped to the line, swiftly moved into the air off the sleeper’s body”.

Thornton wanted to get up to meet his God!

The intimacy of communion with Christ must be recaptured in the morning quiet time.  Call it what you want- the quiet time, personal devotions, the morning watch or individual worship – these holy minutes at the start of each day explain the inner secret of Christianity.  It’s the golden thread that ties every great man of God together – from Moses to David Livingstone, the prophet Amos to Billy Graham – rich and poor, business man and military officer.  Every man who ever became somebody for God has this at the core of his priorities; time alone with God!  David says in Psalm 57:7 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed”.  A fixed and established heart produces stability in life.  Few men in the Christian community have this heart and life.  One of the missing links has been a workable plan on how to begin and maintain a morning watch.

I want to suggest that in order to get under way you start with seven minutes.

Are you willing to take seven minutes every morning?  Not five morning out of seven, not six days out of seven- but seven days out of seven!.  Ask God to help you : “Lord, I want to meet You first thing in the morning for at least seven minutes.  Tomorrow when the alarm clock goes off at 6.15 am, I have an appointment with you.”

Your prayer might be “Morning by morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation (Psalm 5:3).

How do you spend these seven minutes?  After getting out of bed and taking care of your personal needs, you will want to find a quiet place and there with your Bible enjoy the solitude of seven minutes with God.  Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart.  Thank Him for the good night of sleep and the opportunities of this new day.   “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures.  Open my heart.  Fill my heart.  Make my mind alert, my soul active and my heart responsive, Lord.  Surround me with Your presence during this time.  Amen”.

Now take four minutes to read the Bible.  Your greatest need is to hear some word from God.  Allow the Word to strike fire into your heart.  Meet the author!

One of the gospels is a good place to begin reading.  Start with the book of Mark.  Read consecutively – verse after verse, chapter after chapter.  Don’t race, but avoid stopping to do a Bible study on some word, thought or theological problem which presents itself.  Read for the pure joy of reading and allowing God to speak – perhaps just 20 verse or maybe a complete chapter.  When you have finished Mark, start the Gospel of John.  Soon you’ll want to go ahead and read the entire New Testament.

After God has spoken through His book, then speak to Him – in prayer.  You now have two and a half minutes left for fellowship with Him in four areas of prayer that you can remember by the word ACTS.

A        ADORATION.  This is the purest kind of prayer because it’s all for God- there’s nothing in it for you.  You don’t have to barge into the presence of royalty.  You begin with the proper salutation.  So worship Him.  Tell the Lord that you love Him.  Reflect on His greatness, His power, His majesty and sovereignty.

C        CONFESSION.  Having seen Him you now want to be sure every sin is cleansed and forsaken.  Confession comes from a root word meaning ‘to agree with’.  Apply this to prayer.  It means to agree with God.  Something happened yesterday that you called a slight exaggeration – God calls it a lie!  You call it strong language – God calls it swearing.  You call it telling the truth about somebody in the church – God calls it gossip. ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me’ Psalm 66:18

T        THANKSGIVING.  Express your gratitude to God.  Think of several specific things to thank Him for: your family, your business, your church and ministry responsibilities – even thank Him for hardships. ‘In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

S        SUPPLICATION.   This means ‘asking for, earnestly and humbly’.  This is the part of your prayer life where you make your petitions known to Him.  Ask for others and then for yourself.  Why not include other people around the world, such as missionaries, student studying abroad, friends in distant places, above all the people of many lands who have yet to hear about Jesus Christ?





Let’s put these seven minutes together:

Prayer for guidance (Psalm 143:8)     .30

Reading the Bible (Psalm 119:18)     4.00

Prayer                                         2.30

Adoration( 1 Chronicles 29:11)

Confession (1 John 1:9)

Thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:20)

Supplication (Matthew 7:7)

= 7 minutes

This is simply a guide.  Very soon you will discover that it is impossible to spend only seven minutes with the Lord.  An amazing thing happens – seven minutes become 20, and it’s not long before you’re spending 30 precious minutes with Him.  Do not become devoted to the habit, but to the Saviour.

Do it not because other men are doing it – not as a spiritless duty every morning, nor merely as an end in itself, but because God has granted the priceless privilege of fellowship with Himself.  Covenant with Him now to guard, nourish and maintain your morning watch of seven minutes.


Spending time with God is our privilege as Christians.  We have just looked at how to spend a few minutes with God.  You will probably want to do more than that.  But what we have just looked at will help us get started.  So let us start by spending quality time with Him because we will gain tremendous benefits from keeping close to Him.


So, select a specific time and a place where you can be undisturbed if possible.  Follow a simple plan, possibly like the one just looked at.  Or, you can follow one of the Bible study methods we have been looking at.

Remember the main purpose is to get to know the Lord better.  Do not let your quiet time become a legalistic exercise in “doing your duty”.  Let us remember we are here to get to know Jesus Christ better.  It is not an intellectual exercise, but a living relationship.

Be disciplined.  Remember to get enough sleep as tiredness, TV etc are time robbers and prevent us from spending time with the Lord.  We always spend time on that which is important to us.

The Holy Bible