Tools for Passage Analysis.

A study Bible
Several Contemporary translations
An Exhaustive Concordance
A Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia (
New and Old Testament Surveys
A Bible Handbook

Definition of Passage Analysis:  A passage is a portion or section of a written work such as a chapter, paragraph, or a verse. For the purposes of this method, an entire book of the Bible when viewed as a small portion of the Bible itself can be viewed as a passage and so be studied following this method.In passage analysis, we first select our passage of scripture, which could be a book, chapter, paragraph or verse. Then we proceed to do the most thorough verse-by-verse analysis of the passage. We break it down, take bite-size-pieces, and do a verse-by-verse study using the inductive approach to Bible Study which includes observation, interpretation, and application.  Our goal is to answer three basic questions that may be asked of any text: What does it say? What does it mean? How does it impact me?

We’ll use the following steps to do a passage analysis:

Step 1: Observation—What does it say?
Step 3: Interpretation—What does it mean?
Step 3:  Application—How does it impact me?

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Step 1: Observation –What does it say?

One of the most important skills that we must learn to become proficient Bible students is the skill of observation. We have an entire chapter devoted to how to observe the text of the Bible as you study. Please review that chapter.

Employ the follow steps to observe the text as you read.

Start with prayer. All Bible study must be done prayerfully.

Read the text over several times. Read slowly, repeatedly and carefully. Read over and over at least eight times.

Carefully examine the text and let it speak for itself. Do not force your opinions on the text.

Record your observations. Writing is the difference between reading and studying.

Establish Context. Take not of the text that comes before and after the portion you are studying. It frequently influences the meaning of the passage being studied.

Interrogate the text.  Begin your observational interrogation of the text by using the 5Ws, 1H. You ask Why, What, Who, When, Where, and How questions about different aspects of each verse. Please review observational questions.

Mark Keywords and Key Phrases. Keywords and key phrases are repeated throughout the text. These vital to the understanding of the passage. If you take them out, the passage loses meaning.

Focus on the Obvious: Look for things that are obvious such as people, places, events, and keywords

Summary the Passage. We can summarize the text by any of the following methods:
1) Write an outline sketch of the Book
2) Write a summary in composition form in a few paragraphs.

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Step 2. Interpretation—What does it mean?

The purpose of this step is to find out the exact meaning of each verse. As we continue from the observation step, we stay at the verse level, examining every detail but now focusing on a different question—not what does it say, but what does it mean? Review the chapter on interpretation at this point if you need help carryout out this step.

There are several things we need to get the exact meaning of a verse.

Begin with Prayer – As God for to teach you.

Observe with purpose – Continue observation and interrogating the text by asking observational questions.

Word Study – Establish the meaning of all the unfamiliar words in the verse by doing a word study.

Establish context –  Context refers to the words or sentences that before and after the passage the passage you are studying. It’s important in determining the right meaning of the passage.

Cross-Referencing (Compare Scripture with Scripture)—Correlate each verse with other verses by examining parallel passages (passages that treat the same subject).

Employ the Principles of interpretation. As you interpret, review the principles of interpretation.

Analyze and Interrogate the Verse. Interrogate the verse to find out what lessons it teachers. Record them.

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Step 3. Application— How does it impact me?

The most important part of studying the Word of God is the application. Without it, the word cannot impact you! In this step, we want you to do to things.

1) Final Recording: Studying the word of God is like mining for gold. You have done a lot of hard work but it has paid off. You now have some gold nuggets that will change your life. But the safe of our memory is not a trustworthy place to store your hard earned pearls! We lose 80% of what is locked up in that memory safe just two days after we locked it in! That’s why some one has said a short pencil is better than a long memory. So, record your pearls down. I know you have done some writing up until this point. But you don’t want to lose anything that you have learned up to this point.

So write a report of at least 400 words in which you write down everything you have learned that has not previously been recorded on a sheet of paper you can save. You may also type into the computer directly if you have one.

2) Apply to self: Write down all the possible applications that can be made from the passage you have studied. Then pick one and work on it.

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