For My Grandson: How To Study the Bible

When my seven-teen-year-old grandson asked me how to study the Bible, I decided to publish the process I designed for a local church several years ago.

This 3-step process is based on Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. & Adreas J. Köstenberger’s book, Inductive Bible Study; on chapter 4 of Greg Ogden’s Discipleship Essentials; and on a class I took at Bethlehem Institute, now Bethlehem Seminary, from Tom Steller who taught me how and why to diagram and arc Scripture passages. After using this process for years, I can attest that it will greatly enrich your understanding of Scripture and your worship of our triune God.

Inductive Bible Study in Three Steps

Step 1: Read to See

Have you ever looked at something you’ve seen a million times before, only to discover something new? In Read to See you will look at and work on a Scripture passage to see what is really there.

Step 2: Investigate to Know

Have you ever received a piece of information that made you change your mind about something you were sure you had understood clearly? In Investigate to Know, you will investigate words and background information so that you can draw an informed conclusion about the author’s intended meaning.

Step 3: Think to Grow

Have you ever studied a Scripture passage and left the study unchanged? In Think to Grow, you will think and pray about Scripture in relation to yourself in a way that helps you grow in Christ-likeness.

Materials You Will Need
  1. Two online Bibles or two print Bibles
    (ESV or NASB95 or HCSB) + (NIV or NLT)
  2. Pencil & Paper or a Word Processor
  3. Printer

The 3-Step Process Explained

Step 1: Read to See

Read to See Differences

  • Read the passage in two or more different translations to identify differences between word or phrase choices.
    • Print or copy 2 versions of the text you want to study
      (ESV or NASB or HCSB) + (NIV or NLT).
    • Mark word and phrase differences that you think may change the meaning of the text.
Mark Differences in the Texts

Read to See Questions

  • Read the passage to identify “I Wonder” questions that come to mind
    • List questions that express what you wonder about the text.

Read to See Structure & Relationships

  • Read the passage to identify important language structures and to find out how words, phrases, and ideas in the text are related.
    • Mark or jot down Language Structures that you see in the text.
    • Illustrate the Relationships you discover.
      • Draw shapes, lines, arrows, pictures, words, or diagrams, to create your own simple graphics that show the relationships you see between words, phrases, and ideas in the text.
    • Study your observations and graphics.
    • Try to answer some of your “I Wonder” questions, or add additional questions you may have thought of.
Illustrate Relationships

Coming Soon Steps 2-3

Step 2: Investigate To Know

Investigate Related Passages

  • Investigate related Bible passages to help you understand what message the author intended his original audience to receive.
    • Pray for the Spirit’s help to understand God’s truth.
    • Read the Scripture passages before and after your text.
    • Use cross-references in your text to help you identify Related Passages.
    • Determine how information in the surrounding texts and the related passages are connected to your text.
    • Familiarize yourself with 7 Principles for Thinking Through Scripture.
    • Try to answer more of your “I Wonder” questions.

Investigate Words

  • Investigate words to help you understand what message the author intended his original audience to receive.
    • Identify words whose meanings are essential to understanding the intent of the text.
    • Use a lexicon to help you determine what the words mean.
      • An online lexicon is available from the tools menu when you click on Strong’s Numbers at blueletterbible.org
    • Try to answer more of your “I Wonder” questions.

Investigate the Background

Investigate to Draw an Informed Conclusion