How to Study the Bible


Presentation Description

Presented at the Diocese of Victoria in Texas XXVII Annual Conference for Catechesis & Ministry


Presentation Transcript

How to Study the Bible:

How to Study the Bible “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”!—St. Jerome

A Prayer of Saint Jerome:

A Prayer of Saint Jerome O Lord, you have given us your word for a light to shine upon our path; grant us so to meditate on that word, and follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day . We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Why is Bible Study Important?:

Why is Bible Study Important? Because God is revealed through the Bible. The Bible is a message from the living God to people everywhere. He inspired its authors to communicate His plan of redemption and salvation for people of all times. Through the Bible, God reveals Himself as the source of LIFE and HAPPINESS!

The Bible Has Something for Everyone:

The Bible Has Something for Everyone History and Biography Drama Law Prophecy Poetry Wisdom


GETTING STARTED “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet .“—Lao Tzu (604-531 BC)

Get the “Big Picture”:

Get the “Big Picture” Out of the 73 books of the Bible, there are 14 narrative books that, if read in order, give you the overall “chronological” story of salvation history…the big picture! These 14 books are not “superior” to the other 59 books. What is meant by “narrative” books refers to how the narrative story of salvation unfolds in the Bible.

“The Butler Didn’t Do It”!:

“The Butler Didn’t Do It”! Let’s explain it this way… If you pick up a mystery novel at the local bookstore, you start on page 1 and end on page 350 or whatever. You read that book left to right, from beginning to end, and you have the entire “story” in order. By the way…”the butler usually didn’t do it ”!


BOOK or COLLECTION OF BOOKS? The Bible wasn’t really intended to be read “left to right,” from Genesis through to Revelation . The word “bible” comes from the Latin word biblia (which comes from the Greek word biblios ) which means “collection of books .” It was assembled by types, groups and styles of literary writings. Put simply, it wasn’t assembled to be “read through like a storybook .”

“The Big Picture”:

“The Big Picture” What happens when you read the following 14 books in order is that you begin to see the “big picture” of salvation, the “big story” from beginning to end…as if you were reading it (like you would a modern novel) from start to finish .

The Narrative Books:

The Narrative Books Genesis (Early World & Patriarchs) Exodus (Egypt & Exodus) Numbers (Desert Wanderings) Joshua (Conquest & Judges) Judges (Conquest & Judges) 1 & 2 Samuel (Royal Kingdom) 1 & 2 Kings (Royal Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, Exile) Ezra (Return from Exile) Nehemiah (Return from Exile) 1 Maccabees (Maccabean Revolt) Luke (Messianic Fulfillment) Acts (The Church)

Make a Realistic Plan:

Make a Realistic Plan TIME Set aside some time each day for Bible reading…at least 15 minutes. Choose a time that allows it to become a regular part of your daily routine.

Make a Realistic Plan:

Make a Realistic Plan PLACE A quiet place free from distractions Clear the decks Have references, notebook, pen/pencil, highlighter handy Comfy chair Good light

Make a Realistic Plan:

Make a Realistic Plan AMOUNT How much reading each day? Small enough to avoid rushing Schedule a month at a time Maybe ½ the Bible/year?

Study Aids:

Study Aids CONCORDANCE Alphabetical index of the principle words in the Bible

Study Aids:

Study Aids COMMENTARIES Books that explain and interpret the Scriptures. Many authors, viewpoints are available.

Study Aids:

Study Aids BIBLE DICTIONARY Alphabetical listing of Biblical terms and subjects Explains their meanings & applications.

Study Aids:

Study Aids BIBLE ATLAS A collection of maps showing the lands and the location of events in the Bible.

Study Approaches:

Study Approaches More than One Way to Skin a Cat…or Read the Bible!


BOOKS & VERSES Choose a book and spend enough time on it to understand it fully. Remember that the Bible is divinely inspired.


TOPICS & THEMES Gather together and clarify what the Bible has to say on a given subject. Use your concordance, look up all references to the subject, read & analyze passages.


BIOGRAPHY Follow the lives and family lines of the Bible’s characters, trying to discern God’s purpose and plan in each story.


RITUAL & LITURGY Many parts of the Mass and other liturgical celebrations originated from practices which began when the Bible was being written.


NAMES OR NUMBERS The names of persons & places have meanings that help our understanding of events For example, Peter means “rock.. Numbers are often used with symbolic significance. For example, “666.”


GEOGRAPHY The Bible is full of travels and unfamiliar places, from Genesis to Revelation. Knowing where Biblical events occurred helps make them more real for us today.


GET TO WORK! “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day!”


COLLECT YOUR THOUGHTS TAKE NOTES Organize facts, key points, important words, concepts MAKE AN OUTLINE Subjects, names, events, teachings, revelations, etc. MEMORIZE Names of the books and their basic content Focus on what has most meaning for YOU


STUDYING EACH BOOK Read the book as a WHOLE Who wrote it? Why? Where? For whom? Learn the Basic Theme Main characters & events Central messages, Style


STUDYING EACH BOOK Zero in on the PARTS Gather specific facts Location Characters Action Key terms Observe & Analyze Progression Turning points Key phrases Relationship to other parts of the book Outline each section Details of theme & action


APPLY YOUR INSIGHTS Your inner life Marriage and family Community Parish membership Crisis/death


RECAP Set aside time Follow a schedule Use study aids Open yourself…to the true spiritual meaning of God’s word as you read

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