Holy Spirit Interactive
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

Direct Bible Discovery

Chapter 19 - Summary: Thirty Key Principles of Bible Study

The most basic and most important ideas which are discussed in the preceding chapters are here condensed into thirty key principles.

  1. Respect the Bible as God's inspired, reliable Word. Approach it prayerfully and with an open mind, ready to respond with obedience whenever appropriate. Beware of Bible study done out of a motive of pride or self enhancement.

  2. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you actively engage in the work of Bible study with his help.

  3. Go directly to the Bible instead of depending on sources about the Bible (interpretive aids).

  4. Discover what the Bible says. Let the Bible speak for itself by using an inductive process, rather than reading meaning into the text.

  5. Keep these three phases in their proper logical order: first observe, then interpret, then apply.

  6. During each step and operation of Bible study, keep the distinction between observation and interpretation clearly in mind. Interpretation of what the text means must be based on systematic observation of what the text says, not on assumptions which you bring to the text.

  7. Do not overlook the clear, straightforward statements of the passage.

  8. Seek to understand each passage as the writer and original readers understood it.

  9. Learn as much Greek and Hebrew as you can, but do not substitute that knowledge for proper hermeneutics and thorough Bible study procedure.

  10. Remember that each passage has only one correct interpretation, which may have many applications.

  11. Use literary interpretation. Begin with a literal understanding of the passage, and then make whatever adjustments are called for by the figurative elements in the passage, determined in light of the context. Avoid allegorizing the text.

  12. Interpret each passage according to its historical background, cultural background, and literary genre.

  13. Always examine a passage's context carefully, especially its immediate context. Interpret every passage in light of its context.

  14. Do not let an overemphasis on details or mechanical procedures hide the message of the text. Read and study each passage as a whole for meaning.

  15. When studying a topic, examine all the passages which are relevant to the topic.

  16. Compare passage with passage. Interpret less clear passages in light of clear ones.

  17. Use such noninterpretive aids as an English dictionary, a set of Bible maps, and a complete concordance throughout your study procedure.

  18. After you have arrived at your own interpretations and conclusions, carefully examine what others say by using a variety of interpretive aids.

  19. Reason properly. Avoid circular reasoning based on unfounded assumptions, overgeneralizing, arguing from silence, arguing by analogy, and misusing the converse and inverse.

  20. Persevere and be patient. Keep examining the text, and keep asking (1) Do I have all the relevant facts? and (2) Have I considered a full range of possible interpretations?

  21. Be willing to proceed slowly and suspend judgment on difficult matters when necessary. Distinguish between primary and secondary matters.

  22. No translation is perfect. Use one or two translations as your basic study Bibles, but also keep a few other translations handy for survey readings and for comparisons, passage by passage.

  23. Your basic study Bible(s) should be an accurate translation, relatively literal rather than a paraphrase. It should also use current English and should be a committee translation.

  24. Read through the Bible to get a bird's-eye view before you begin intensive study of a book or topic.

  25. Generally, book study should precede topic study, since book study lays a necessary foundation for topic study.

  26. The Bible's teachings are not merely to be understood, they are to be applied in our lives. However, application must be based on correct interpretation. General spiritual principles can be applied directly; specific examples and commands must be examined in order to uncover the underlying general spiritual principle which can then be applied.

  27. Write out your thoughts. Organize your notes in a loose-leaf notebook rather than marking up your Bible.

  28. Adopt a procedure for studying Bible books which follows the whole-parts-whole pattern, namely:
    1. Pray
    2. Survey the book
    3. Divide the book into its natural divisions
    4. Scrutinize each unit of immediate context in succession (see 29 below)
    5. Examine topics throughout the book
    6. Synthesize the parts into a meaningful whole
    7. Compare your findings with the findings of others
    8. Apply your findings in your life

  29. Scrutinize each successive unit of immediate context using a variety of operations, namely:
    1. read the unit for meaning
    2. respace the text
    3. outline the unit
    4. note the function of the unit in its larger context
    5. ask the six standard questions of the unit
    6. note grammatical details in the unit
    7. identify internal and external relationships
    8. temporarily alter the wording
    9. paraphrase the unit
    10. list the unit's main teachings
    11. condense the unit
    12. employ other operations which fit the nature of the unit

  30. Adopt a thorough procedure for studying Bible topics, namely:
    1. Pray
    2. Delimit the topic
    3. Recall your present ideas on the topic
    4. Find all the passages relevant to the topic and sort them into appropriate categories
    5. Scrutinize each passage
    6. Synthesize your findings from the definitive passages
    7. Compare your finds with the findings of others
    8. Apply your findings in your life.

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