Lessons will be posted here so you can follow along with the class.
LESSON #1 Introduction to Your Bible & Study Resources
Focus on what we will be doing, general discussion, Q&A. Introduction to online resources.
LESSON #2 Which Bible Translation?
Why there are so many Bible translations? One of the most popular translations into the English language for over 400 years has been the King James Version. During the last 50 years, other English translations have gained popularity worldwide, such as the New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), and the New Living Translation (NLT). For those who want to go deep into Bible study (especially study of the words as used in the Bible), one of the best translations to use is the New American Standard Version — considered a great word-for-word translation. In this course, we use predominantly the NLT as it is easy to understand and provides a good translation (thought-for-thought) from the Hebrew & Greek into English.
What are the key differences among the translations? Go here for a great online resource on the modern Bible translations: Understanding Modern Bible Translations.
LESSON #3 February 24 Bible Study & Devotions
Passage from John 1: Example from Our Daily Bread, Feb 12, 2013 (John 1:35-42).
A devotional is not meant to just read, ponder, and pray. Use it as an opportunity to read and study more, by using your Life Application Study Bible. Here is how you can do that with a well-respected devotional, Our Daily Bread, by RBC Ministries.
LESSON #4 Book Study – Part 1
John: Book summary & background.
There are 66 books in the Bible – 39 in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) and 27 in the New Testament (The Gospels and writings of the early Christian church). At the beginning of each book in your Life Application Study Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – there is an introduction and summary information on what it’s about:
- VITAL STATISTICS — Purpose, Author, Original Audience, Date Written, Setting, Key Verse, Key People, Key Place, and Special Features.
- DESCRIPTION — Written synopsis of what to expect in that book.
- THE BLUEPRINT — Outline of the topics.
- MEGATHEMES — topics of major interest or application in our Christian life, with an Explanation and Importance.
Many of the introductions also include a Timeline at the top of the pages, especially in the Old Testament.
LESSON #5 Book Study – Part 2
John: Bible characters and finding references to Jesus Christ.
One of the exciting studies is the study of Bible characters: from Adam and Eve in Genesis, all the way to John (the author of Revelation). The easiest place to start is looking up the name in the Master Index in the back of your Life Application Study Bible (be careful not to confuse it with the Dictionary/Concordance, which comes after the Master Index). When you find the name in the Master Index, go to the bottom of the listing and find “PROFILE” for the applicable page to turn to.
The most well-know “character” we come across in the Bible is Jesus Christ. If you look in the Master Index you get pages and pages of material — usually too much to dive into for a short study (unless you want to spend weeks on that topic). A better place to start is the Harmony of the Gospels, found at the end of the book of John (i.e., the end of the Gospels). There you will find a listing of Jesus life found in the various Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and you can start anywhere with what you find. You don’t need to study all of them — choose one for now. There is also a listing after the Harmony section on the Parables of Jesus, the Miracles of Jesus, and the some of the Prophecies and Fulfillments relating to Jesus as Messiah.
The important thing is: enjoy and ask questions. Keep your notebook handy. By the way, feel free to post any questions or comments you may have (and couldn’t find answers) on this website, under Leave a Reply.
LESSON #6 Chapter Study
John 3: Themes, context, key passages.
Use the above snapshot of a page out of your Life Application Study Bible. When you look at a chapter to study in some depth, always start where the Section heading begins. For example, if we were to study John chapter 3, start at John 2:23 since that is the section that begins discussing Nicodemus’ visit to Jesus at night. It also helps to refer back to the Introduction to John to get the context around the chapter — both before and after it. Always read the Introduction to a book (like we did in the last lesson) before taking on a Chapter study.
If there is a focus on any individual who may be new to you (e.g., Nicodemus), look for the Character Profile. Many times it’s close by — if not, look that person up in the Master Index.
Read the verses in the chapter. As you read them, go ahead and look at the Notes at the bottom that go along with the verses. They provide some valuable insight in helping understand what the verses mean. This is the real strength of the Life Application Study Bible: explaining what it means to us today! Also use the Cross References (in the inner margins next to the verses themselves) by looking up those verses. Again, follow the Notes at the bottom for those. You can keep going and going and …… how exciting!
Back to the Section headings. Notice the bold number in parentheses next to the section name. In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) these numbers refer to the numbering in the Harmony of the Gospels, found after the book of John. You can look up those similar passages in the other Gospels.
Look for and write down what you think is a Key Verse, or maybe a couple of Key Verses. Also, find out at least one Theme the describes the chapter. You can tie that with the Key Verses. For example, for John 3 you might find these themes: (1) Born Again (verse 3), (2) Salvation for All (verse 16), and (3) John the Baptist vs. Jesus (verse 26).
LESSON #7 Topical Study: Words & Issues
Ever wondered what the Bible says about a Bible word or everyday issue? You’ll learn here where to start.
Let’s look at a word that stirs a lot of discussion and possibly controversy. Actually, it’s best to express it as a question: What does the Bible say about sin for Christians that believe in Jesus and the non-Christians that don’t believe in Him?
In any study of a Topic or Word, you nearly always start here: the Master Index and the Dictionary/Concordance. I would start with the Master Index because it is broad in scope and you can begin focus on the closest description or summary that closely addresses your question. Look up SIN — and wow, it nearly covers a whole page! Here are some examples of where you could start:
seriousness of …… Genesis 19:26
unintentional sins are still sins …… Leviticus 4:1 ff
danger of ignoring it …… 2 Samuel 14:33
don’t accommodate it under the guise of being open-minded …… Revelation 2:14
Oh, the Master Index abbreviates the books of the Bible that are referenced (I spelled them out in the above examples). You can find the list of the abbreviations in the ABBREVIATIONS IN THE MASTER INDEX, right before the Master Index. Mark it with a sticky note — you’ll likely use it a lot. The Dictionary/Concordance is a bit easier to read, but only lists where the word that actually occur in the translation. Use that when you think you know a little what the verse says, and then look it up there.
As you look up the passage that the index takes you, follow the same methods learned in the Chapter study. So, here is the order you generally follow for a Word or Topic study:
1. Put the word or topic in the form of a QUESTION first.
2. Look it up in the MASTER INDEX.
3. If not found there, try looking in the DICTIONARY/CONCORDANCE (or look it up there anyway).
4. As you look up the verses, read the VERSES and the NOTES (if there are any).
5. Check for CROSS REFERENCES. Look those up and read the Verses and Notes.
6. Go back to the Master Index, and do it AGAIN.
7. WRITE down what you find in a notebook, and ask more QUESTIONS.
You will be amazed what you will learn, and have fun doing it. You can go as far and as long as you wish.
LESSON #8 Topical Study: Pick a Topic!
Quickly find out what the Bible says about a topic of choice. Use the Master Index, Dictionary/Concordance, cross references, etc., as we did in the previous lesson.
Here are some topics that some of our groups looked at in the past (or at least considered):
Pharisees & Sadducees
Pain & Suffering
Happiness & Joy
Living for Jesus
Working & Jobs
Death, Burial, & Cremation
Go ahead — try some of these! We had fun with them!
LESSON #9 Using Your Bible Every Day
Can you find answers to life’s questions anywhere in the Bible?
Now that you have an idea how to study your Bible, we’ll have some fun here. You can take ANY situation you face in your daily life, and look towards the Bible as to what it says about it. OK, there may be some contemporary issues that may not be simple to look up exactly, but you can think of ways to find out if there is anything close to helping answer your questions. The key is to focus on what Jesus would say and do in a situation similar to yours. Many times, there is no easy answer, but it might lead you to the right one as God speaks to your heart.
I hope you enjoyed this quick summary on How To Study Your Bible Too. Send me your thoughts and question, and I’ll try to get back to you. May God bless you richly as you delve into His Word using your Life Application Study Bible.
– Bill Injerd