Overview of Bible Study

Bible Comprehension


Bible Store


There are three steps in Bible study:Observation, Interpretation, Application

  1. Observation
  2. Interpretation
  3. Application


The moment you begin to read the Bible, you have taken the first step in Bible study. When you read any book, you note the letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs.

To test your powers of observation thus far, consider the following statements about the Bible as to whether they are true or false:

  • Eve sinned by eating an apple.
  • On the night Jesus was born, angels sang to shepherds in nearby fields.
  • Three wise men came to the manger to see the baby Jesus.
  • When Jesus ascended into heaven, the angels told the apostles that He would return.
  • Mary Magdalene saw two angels sitting outside the open tomb of Jesus.
  • Saul's name was changed to Paul at the time of his conversion.

None of the above statements are true observations of the Bible record.

  • Genesis 3:2-6 speaks of fruit, and not specifically of an apple.
  • The account in Luke 2:13 does not say that the angels were singing. What they said was poetic and it may well be true that they sang, but this would be an interpretation.
  • The wise men came to a house, not a manger, and the number of wise men is not mentioned.
  • Acts 1:10 states that two men spoke to them. Their white clothing makes us think that they were angels, but this is interpretation.
  • According to John 20:12, the angels were inside the tomb.
  • Saul was still called Saul after his conversion. Acts 9:22, 24. Acts 11:25, 30. Acts 12:25. Acts 13:1-2, 7, 9. He may have had two names since birth, using Paul as he traveled among the Gentiles.

As you can see, observation is not as accurate as you may have thought, and tradition should never take the place of Bible study.


If the Bible is the Word of God, how dare we interpret it? Isn't interpreting the Bible the same as changing it?

No, not necessarily. When you pick up any version of the Bible, you are holding an interpretation of it. When words are translated from one language to another, interpretation plays a large part in the process. Some words cannot be directly translated from one language to another, and a translator will use the word that comes closest to communicating the meaning of the original word.

Another thing to consider is that, in the original languages of the Bible, there were no punctuation marks to indicate the ends of sentences or paragraphs. The authors didn't even put spaces between the words and, of course, there were no chapter or verse numbers. Punctuation, as well as the spaces between words and paragraphs, were added by the translator.

Another chore is to determine the meaning of a passage.

  • Who is the author?
  • To whom is it written?
  • What is the literary context of the passage?
  • What is the cultural context of the passage?
  • What do the words mean?
  • How does it compare with other passages on the same subject?


Determine what the author intended his words to mean to his first readers. Although Paul's letters to the Corinthians have much to offer us today, we can understand his words more clearly if we understand his relationship with the church at Corinth.

Some promises and commands were given to certain people at a specific times, but are not meant for you today. Can that be true?

For example, according to John 14:26, Jesus said, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." This promise was not given to you. Jesus was speaking to the apostles. You were not with Jesus when He was on earth, so you cannot be an apostle.

You can have the Holy Spirit living with you and helping you, but you can't expect the same unfailing inspiration that was promised to the apostles.


Overview of Bible Study