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After you have begun to study the Bible by chapters or paragraphs or verses, you will be ready to study the Bible by books. There are several methods of Bible book study. Two of them are discussed here.

Inductive method

This is a method involves studying in detail the contents of a Bible book and then drawing from it general conclusions or principles concerning the contents and purpose of the book.

Synthetic method

By this method, one reads the Bible book several times to receive the general impressions of the main ideas and purpose of the book without attention to the details. (It is sometimes hard to distinguish these two methods.) In some cases the study of a Bible book becomes a historical study, take for example if studies the history of a nation or an individual in a particular period of time.

Example, the Book of Exodus tells the history of the children of Israel from the death of Joseph in Egypt until the erecting of the tabernacle in the wilderness in the time of Moses. This covers approximately 400 years.

The principles of Bible book study, whether inductive or synthetic, are very similar. Bot these would require much more time than the previous methods mentioned, but at the same time its rewards are plenty.

Here are some methods for Bible study by books:

Read the book through to get the perspective and the general emphasis of the book. Then reread the book many times, each time asking yourself a relevant question and jotting down the answers you find as you read. Here are the most important questions to ask:

1st Reading

Note your first impressions as you read the book. What do you think was the purpose of the author? Is there a key verse to the book or a key statement?

2nd Reading

Remembering the theme of the book, see how it is emphasized and developed. Look for any special problems or applications.

3rd Reading

What is the literary style of the author? How does the style of writing relate to the message of the book? Does the author reveal his emotions? How would the readers have responded to this emotion? How do you respond to this emotion?

4th Reading

How do people fit into the book? Are there central characters and if so what part(s) do they play in the book?

5th Reading

How is the book structured? Remember that our chapters and verses (and often our paragraphs) were all added centuries after the original authors completed their work. Around what aspects of reality (people, geography, events, time, etc.) is the book centred?

6th and Successive Readings

Look for other facts and/or information that your earlier readings have suggested. By now certain words will stand out in the book. See how often they recur. (For example, as you read the book of Ephesians, you will soon find that the word “in Christ” occurs many times. This is one of the key words of the book, so note its occurrences and the circumstances surrounding it.)

Do not forget to write out a personal application and remember to return periodically to this step so that you can evaluate your progress.

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