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How to do a Bible Word Study

Tools for doing a Word Study.

A Study Bible e.g. NASB, NKJV, KJV.
Recent translations e.g. NIV, NLT, Amp., NASB, NKJV, KJV, Living Bible etc.
An English Dictionary
A Bible Dictionary and /or Encyclopedia
An exhaustive translation.
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament.
Some trusted Commentaries.

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Application – apply the Bible to your life

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 NKJV

“Bible study is not for information but for transformation”

It is not those who hear (or know) but those who obey (or apply the word) that will be declared righteous. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)

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KJV: King James Version,
NKJV: New King James Version,
ESV: English Standard Version
NASB: New American Standard Bible
CEV: Contemporary English Version
NIV: New International Version
NLT: New Living Translation
TNIV: Today’s New International version

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Definition of Bible Study Words

Many words are used in this text on How to Study the Bible. Some of the words may be new to the reader. This chapter provides a definition of many of the words that the reader needs to know to understand the text.


1) Systematically: The Bible should be studied systematically and not randomly. This doesn’t necessarily mean chronologically. It means more than studying cover-to-cover. It also means more than starting a book and finishing it before going to the next.

Here is the dictionary definition of systematically from

1. Having, showing, or involving a system, method, or plan: a systematic course of reading; systematic efforts.

2. Given to or using a system or method; methodical: a systematic person.

3. Arranged in or comprising an ordered system: systematic theology.

4. Concerned with classification: systematic botany.

5. Pertaining to, based on, or in accordance with a system of classification: the systematic names of plants.

To study the Bible systematically means to use a system, a method, and to classify things.  Systematic theology is a division of theology into systems that explain various areas. For example, many books in the Bible give information about Christ. No single book gives you all the information about Christ. Systematic theology goes through all the books in the Bible and gather all the information they have about Christ and organize them into a system called Christology (the study of Christ). Systematic theology is all about organizing the teachings of the Bible into categorical systems.

With systematic theology, you can gather all the information on angels in the Bible and put it into a category called angelology.  The Holy Spirit is called “pneuma” in Greek. So if you gather all the information on the Holy Spirit and put it into a categorical system, you call it pneumatology. In the same way, soteriology is the study of salvation, eschatology is the study of the end times, ecclesiology is the study of the church, and demonology is the study of demons.

When you study the Bible systematically like that, it helps us to understand and teach the Bible in an organized manner. The topical Bible study method is a method that allows you to study the Bible systematically.

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Quiet Time


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The Purpose of the Bible

The main purpose of the Bible is to transform us into the image of Christ.

Why was the Bible written? The Bible was written to reveal Jesus Christ to us. In Colossians 1:15, Paul writes that Christ is “is the image of the invisible God”. He is the Word of God (John 1:1-14). Jesus reveals God to us just like a person’s words reveal his invisible thoughts. Yet, most psychologists agree that a person’s thoughts and his speech (his word, what he says) are one and the same thing. One is the expression of the other. More than that, speaking completes and complements the thought and the thought enhances speaking. So they are two sides of the same coin. So is Jesus and God.

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Know the Subject of the Bible

The Bible is a Revelation of Jesus Christ.

As you begin to study the Bible, it is important to know the purpose of the Bible. The Bible is an anthology of 66 books, written by about 40 different authors over a period of about 1500 years. But the central feature, the theme of each of them and of the whole anthology we call the Bible today is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the subject of the entire Bible. God the father is the object and Jesus reveals the father to us through the scriptures. We cannot know the father by looking for him directly in the Bible. No, we look for Jesus and when we know Jesus, we will know the father. Here are some scriptures that throw more light.

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How to do an outline

What is an outline?

As you study any book (in this case the Bible), you would sometimes need to do an outline. An outline is a concise skeletal representation of the material in the book, chapter, or passage that you are studying. It’s a general plan of the book (or passage) which shows the order of the various topics, the relative importance of each of them, and the relationship between the various parts.

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Book Analysis

Definition of Book Analysis: Book analysis is passage analysis where the scope of the passage is the entire book. It is a detailed analysis of every verse in the book, one by one using the inductive principles of observation, interpretation, and application.

As such, the material for this chapter is the same as for the passage analysis. Some authors call passage analysis chapter analysis and then define book analysis as chapter analysis of every chapter in the entire book. That is still an acceptable way to view it. We chose to call it passage analysis and define a passage (with the entire Bible in view) as either a verse(s), paragraph (s), or the entire book.

So go and read the information under passage analysis and apply it to the entire book in this case.

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Bible Study Quotes


  1. The New Testament lies veiled (hidden) in the Old, and the Old Testament is unveiled (revealed) in the New.– Augustine.
  2. The Old Testament altar points to the New Testament cross.
  3.  The new is in the old contained, and the Old is in the New explained. – Graham Scroggie
  4. “When I read this passage for the 100th time, the following idea came to me.” A T Pierson, a well known 19th century preacher
  5. “I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest might fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf” — Martin Luther, the great reformer.
  6. “Of Course, I admit a verse may have a primary meaning and then other more remote meanings. For example, a prophecy may have its primary fulfillment in some personage or even at hand, such as Solomon, with a more remote and complete fulfillment in Christ” — R. A. Torrey
  7. “The place of a verse in a book is often the key to understanding it” Rick Warren.
  8. “There is no substitute for reading the Bible”!
  9. “A surrendered will gives that clearness of spiritual vision necessary to understand God’s Book. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise simply because the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the Book. It is remarkable how clear, simple, and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to that place where we say to God, ‘I surrender my will unconditionally to Yours. I have no will but Yours. Teach me Your will. A surrendered will does more to make the Bible an open book than a university education. It is simply impossible to get the largest profit out of your Bible study until you surrender your will to God. You must be very definite about this. Many will say, ‘Oh, yes, my will is surrendered to God,’ but it is not. They have never gone alone with God and said intelligently and definitely to Him, ‘O God, I here and now give myself up to You, for you to command me, lead me, shape me, send me, and do with me absolutely as you will.’ Such act is a wonderful key to unlock the treasure house of God’s Word. The Bible becomes a new Book when a man surrenders to God. Doing that brought a complete transformation in my own theology, life, and ministry”
  10. “You can see a lot by just looking” Yogi Berra
  11. “While there may be a certain value in hanging up texts on the walls of our homes or reading a collection of texts in a book like Daily Light, let us never forget that such practices can be dangerous, because there is a balance in Scripture, and the context of each and every verse is always important…It is the simple truth to say that most of the heresies that have troubled the Church throughout her long history have arisen because men and women have forgotten this simple principle. They have taken a text out of its context, and have formulated a doctrine out of it. If they had but taken it in its context they would have been saved from the error they have embraced.” — D Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  12. “It is only when truth is discovered that it is appropriated. When a man is simply told the truth, it remains external to him and he can quite easily forget it. When he is led to discover the truth himself it becomes an integral part of him and he never forgets.” William Barclay
  13. “We must read our Bibles like men digging for hidden treasure.” J C Ryle
  14. Studying the Bible is like peeling an onion.
  15. It is only when truth is discovered that it is appropriated. When a man is simply told the truth, it remains external to him and he can quite easily forget it. When he is led to discover the truth himself it becomes an integral part of him and he never forgets –William Barclay
  16. “Never conclude that you have the right meaning of a verse until you have carefully determined the meaning of all doubtful words in it by an examination of Bible usage. Even when you are pretty sure you know the meaning of the words, it is well not to be too sure until you have looked it up.” Dr. R.A. Torrey
  17. “Just as a great door swings on small hinges, so the important theological statements of the Bible often depend upon even the smallest words, such as prepositions and articles” Irving Jensen (Enjoy Your Bible, World Wide Publication, p. 96)

    10% of what we read
    20% of what we hear
    30% of what we see
    50% of what we see and hear
    70% of what we discuss with others
    80% of what we personally experience
    95% or what we teach others
    – Edna Gale (corroborated by research at University of Texas)
    –  A study at the University of Texas ( Accessed on 8/24/2012 ) This website cites Metcalf, T. (1997) Listening to your clients, Life Association News, 92(7) p16 – 18

    10 percent of what they read;

    20 percent of what they hear;

    30 percent of what they see;

    50 percent of what they see and hear;

    70 percent of what they say; and

    90 percent of what they do and say

  19. “What I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I understand.”  Confucius (in the fifth century B.C.)
  20. “A text taken out of context becomes a pretext.”
  21. “We must read our bibles like men digging for hidden treasure” R. C. Ryle
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Meditation Form

Meditative Reading Form


Scripture Reference:

God’s Message to me:

PRECEPTS acrostic:

How does this apply to me?:

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How to Meditate : Types of Meditation

Types of Meditation you can choose from.

  1. Devotional Reading (also called Quiet Time  or personal daily devotion)
  2. Visualization Reading [This technique is best used for meditating on the scenes of any specific Bible story or the entire story itself. It is especially good for the gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry. You could use this to meditate on the stories of the Old Testament, the book of Acts. You can even put yourself in Pauls shoes as he writes to the Corinthians or as he writes to Timothy from a prison cell. Or you can put yourself in Peter’s shoes as he preaches on Pentecost.
    You visualize or imagine the scene of the story in your mind. Put yourself in the story
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Why Study the Bible

Why hear, read, study, memorize, meditate, do, or teach the word of God?


The benefits of hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, doing, or teaching the word of God are one and the same. They may vary in degree and in the person who is benefiting but they are all the same. The more of this you do, the greater the benefit that you get.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” –Psalms 119:105

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” –Psalms 119:11

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:31-32

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do –Joshua 1: 8, NLT

A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent” –Prov. 15:5 NKJV

 [heading] Why Study The Bible? [/heading]

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Other reasons why we should study the Bible, Memorize the Bible, or Meditate on the Bible.

Conformity to Christ
Daily Triumph over sin
Daily Triumph over Satan
Comfort and counsel for people we love.
Share the gospel
Fellowship with God to enjoy him.

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Good Bible Study

Conditions for a Good Bible Study

  1. Be born again
  2. Have a childlike mind
  3. Be determined to obey what you learn
  4. Completely surrender your will to God
  5. Be willing to work hard (to dig to find the goal)
  6. Study it prayerfully
  7. Love the Bible
  8. Treat it as the Word of God
  9. Invest in Tools that are needed for understanding.
  10. Plan and schedule time for Bible Study
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Bible without verses and Chapters

The Bible was not written with Chapter and Verse divisions. These are very helpful in writing dissertations, papers, commentaries on the Bible but can be very detrimental for simple bible reading and meditation.
They add a lot of mental load.

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Bible Acrostics

Acrostics for Bible Study

  • MVP (Memorize, Verbalize, Personalize): You memorize a scripture, then you verbalize it by saying the scriptures out loud or muttering it to your self. Then you personalize that scripture and put yourself in the setting.
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Introduction to How to Study the Bible

In my professional work, one thing I have heard over and over again is people asking me, “what would you do?”
When faced with a tough situation, with something they want to know, they often don’t want me to tell them what the book says should be done. They want me to tell them what my heart says, what I would do.

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