The Seven Tru316 Bible Study Steps by Bruce C. E. Fleming (In a hurry? Email Bruce@Tru316.com and ask for a free download!)
How did you do that? What is the method to your studies? Every Bible Study we do follows Seven Tru316 Bible Study Steps. Following these seven Steps will help you too to take fresh look at one Bible passage at a time and allow each passage to “speak for itself.” Here they are with a brief explanation for each one:
Step 1. Think again about what the Bible says. Pick a word, phrase or idea to study. Find a passage where it is located. Set aside preconceived ideas and allow the Bible to speak for itself. Back up and read a page or two in the Bible that leads up to the verse you want to study. Read a page or two after it as well. Make sure you understand the general topic being discussed. Perhaps you will find that the idea or issue that concerns you is not really being addressed in this part of the Bible. If necessary, look for another passage that speaks more specifically to the concern you have.
Even before locating a Bible passage that contains the word to study, a person already has some idea about what the target word or phrase means. The problem is this. Often what is in their mind is not what the Bible says in their passage. Only what is in God’s Word, the Bible, is “true truth” and can depended on. Their own idea may be very wrong.
Perhaps their idea comes from some other passage in the Bible and is truly an idea from God. But it is possible it does not come from any Bible passage and actually runs counter to God’s truth.
Made up ideas often get us into trouble when we try to put them into practice. Major complications arise when they affect other people too.
You can spot such an idea when good people come to different conclusions and harsh divisions arise. You can spot it when some people end up being mistreated, or when God is made out to be very different from what is revealed in other Bible passages.
In cases such as these, it is especially important to make the effort to think again about the passage in question. The next Study Steps will keep you going in the right direction.
Step 2. Think again about the context. To ensure the Bible makes its own point in a verse, or a series of verses, first find the limits of your passage – the first and last verses. Then, notice how this passage fits into the larger context of the passages that come before and after it. Make sure you know where the flow of ideas is going and pay attention to how your passage fits into that context.
Step 3. Think again about the content. The main points of a passage should receive major attention. Recognize sub-points for what they are. They should receive secondary importance. They will not contradict the main points.
Step 4. Think again about the key image and/or idea. Take literal language literally. If that sense makes no sense, then move to the simplest level of abstraction and see if that fits into the flow of meaning. If not, then and only then, look for a more abstract possible meaning for an image or idea.
Step 5. Think again about the target verse(s). This Step concerns the word, the verse, or the paragraph, that drew your attention from the very beginning. Having taken the three previous Steps, now look at word order, the definition of various words, and come to conclusions about the meaning of the verses of special interest.
Step 6. Think again about the points of application. The Bible was not written only to be studied as an intellectual exercise. It is God’s Word to us, communicating to us things God wants us to know, understand, and do.
Step 7. Think again about what the Bible does not say. This Step is not often practiced in Bible study. However, if the Tru316 Study Steps result in a fresh understanding of a Bible passage, previous misunderstandings need to be identified, labeled, rejected and replaced.