Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
While reading is the basis of our growth in Christ, there must come a time when we begin to delve deeper into His word so we can go deeper in our walk. There is no one way of studying the Bible, however most methods are based on breaking down the passages to draw out the message of the writer. The technical term for expounding scripture is called ‘hermeneutics’.
1. the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures.
2. the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.
1. critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture
2. interpretation ‘out of’ scripture, as opposed to eisegesis (interpreting ‘in to’ scripture) ex.
Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches to Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text and understanding the context in which it was written. The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter comes to the text with an idea of what he is looking for, thus injecting his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.
In order to prevent us from reading into the text, we would like to present the following way of study.
1. Pray – Come to the text ready to learn by first praying that God would lead you. We can still take away the meaning of a text without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but we will not be able to apply it to our lives sufficiently without God working through us. Our hearts must be prepared to learn from Him who created us.
2. Read it – It may sound silly, but taking yourself away from distractions and simply reading the text can be a struggle. Set aside time to be able to read through the passage all at once, at least once.
3. Summarize – Get out your pen and paper and number each line in your notebook with the verses you are studying. For example, if you are reading Hebrews 7 you would go down the list of verses, one per line.. line 1 is verse 1, line 2 is verse 2, etc. Then go to the first verse and summarize that verse in your own words (keep it simple… as concise as possible). For example, for Hebrews 7:1 my line says “Melchizedek the priest blessed Abraham”. Line two, verse 2 says, “Melchizedek’s name means prince of peace and righteousness”.
4. Group – Group the verses into thoughts or topics (see below).
5. Summarize – Summarize your groupings and write out any theological concepts that jump out at you or that you can see being formed by the author.. If you don’t see any in those verses, don’t worry.. remember we are not trying to read ‘into’ scripture. Only write what you see.
6. Apply it – Then ask yourself.. how does this apply to me? If you have trouble with understanding an application, think about these questions:
- Is there a promise or principle to remember?
- Is there an example to follow or a command to obey?
- Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?
- Is there a sin being revealed?
- Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?
We hope that by taking the time to summarize the scripture it will not only help you understand what the writer is saying, but also help you remember what you’ve learned and where you read it. Also, let’s not forget why we are doing these Bible studies to begin with.. because we want to grow in Christ!