Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Basic Bible Study - Part 7

Previous Lessons
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6

Lesson 7.0
We’ve talked a lot about the Bible and how it is laid out.  We’ve gone through types and translations and digital Bibles.  We’ve talked about some observations and highlighting last week.  Now after 6 weeks, we finally get to start digging a little deeper into the Word of God.  Over the next 4 plus weeks, we are going to learn a few methods for studying the Bible.  Some of these will be with pre-made worksheets.  It obviously will not take a worksheet to do any of these methods, but as we learn them the worksheets will be a guide.  There is no need to become frustrated if you don’t do well with the method we discuss each week.  There are many more ways to study God’s Word and we will find one that works for you.

If you’ve discovered a method that looks neat, but you struggle with it, share it with me and I’ll try and figure it out and we can go through it as a class.  One thing about questions is that often times you are not the only one with that question, but maybe are just the first one with the courage to ask it.  You’re welcome to ask questions at any point or even say that you don’t agree or like something that we do.

Tonight we are going to discuss the 5 W’s.  Through school, we’ve been encouraged to look at them when reading for comprehension and when writing.  The 5 W’s are WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY.  We can also add a HOW to that list if we want to.  If we apply it to the scripture, it is a great resource as well.  One of the things that may be a trip-up, though is that you may not be able to find the answer to a few of these questions.  For me a finished worksheet with blanks is daunting, but it is okay not to have all of the answers.
This is one way of doing the 5 W's worksheet.  This has been designed by me with no references.  Feel free to copy and paste it, adapt it to fit your needs, but please do not sell it.

This is another way of doing the 5 W's worksheet.  This has been designed by me with no references.  Feel free to copy and paste it, adapt it to fit your needs, but please do not sell it.

Often times the text itself will give us all of the information we need to understand the 5W’s.  Sometimes it is not there, but the introduction to a book will give us assistance.  Do note that not all Bible publishers agree on this information and so since we weren’t there at the time it was written, we just need to trust God for His direction.  A good thing to do before studying the Bible is to pray over it.  We need not bank our relationship with God and the study of His Word on humanity.  God sent us His Holy Spirit to help guide us in these things.

Why would we not be able to find out the information on this sheet?

First of all is the WHO.  Not every author of Bible books is known, so if a scholar with a life-long career in Bible research doesn’t know an author, we should not feel upset if we don’t find that answer.  The who can also be characters in a story or people groups.  Sometimes it is implied and sometimes it is a cultural implication.  We as Americans will not understand the intent.

Next is WHAT.  More often than not we will find a “what” in the scripture.  The what can be a situation or an object or structure or idea.  If it is not obvious right away, we don’t have to fret and we can come back to it.

WHEN.  When is very often difficult to determine.  Sometimes the best answer we can get is daytime or springtime.  Sometimes it is a specific time like the 12th day of the month of Adar.  There are calendars and helps that can assist us in figuring out the season and comparable date on the Gregorian calendar. 

WHERE.  The where can be in bed or in a specific town or country.  In a boat can also be where.

WHY.  This section is often up to interpretation.  Sometimes the Word gives it plainly.  This is one that we can often get hung up on and many Christians actually debate them.

HOW.  Sometimes a scripture will say that the "how" is to believe … Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and You will be saved. (not in quotes because it may not be exact)  So the answer to, “How can I be saved?” is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We will go through some worksheets together looking at the Book of Jonah.

Here is an example of how a 5W's worksheet could look when it is filled out.  Everyone in the class had their sheets filled out differently.  No one way is right or wrong.

Lesson 7.0 worksheet

T/F  You should keep studying a scripture until all sections of the 5W’s page is filled out.

T/F  There can be more than one answer to any of the 5W’s

What is one place to look outside of the chapters and verses to find answers to the 5 W’s?

If you’ve been successful at journaling, try writing the 5 W’s out in your journal as you study a passage and document it there.


Finish looking at the book of Jonah and answer the 5 W’s for each chapter.  If we finish it in class, try the book of Jude.  It is only one chapter long, but some of the answers may be a little more difficult to find.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Basic Bible Study - Part 6

Previous Posts
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

Lesson 6.0  Highlighting and noticing patterns.

We will cover 2 topics this week.  We will first discuss highlighting in our Bibles and then patterns.  The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of highlights in the Bible is a line from The Incredibles movie.  “… once we’re all super, no one will be.”  This was said by Syndrome the villain when he wanted to destroy all the super heroes in the world and then sell people gadgets to give them pseudo-super powers.  This, for me, is true of highlighting in the Bible as well.  If every word of every page is highlighted, then nothing stands out anymore. 

I can’t say that there is no wrong way to highlight after that last little example, but different people will feel that a different portion of scripture is in need of a second look and that is what they will highlight.  I’ve been in services where the minister tells the congregation to underline something or highlight something.  It isn’t wrong for him to say that, but not everyone likes to write in their Bible.  Often I’ve already got that part highlighted.

There have been times where I can think of a scripture but can’t remember where it is in the Bible.  The things I remember are that it was on the bottom of a page near the end of the Bible and it was on the right-hand page.  Because I had it highlighted, I found it again.  I’ve also been in  a circumstance and flipped open my Bible and found a highlighted spot that was a perfect encouragement that I needed in that moment.

I’ve known of people who will read through the Bible in a year and use a yellow highlighter as they read.  The next year, they highlight in green and so on so that they can have a color journal of what spoke to them the most each year.  I think that’s awesome, but I don’t always stick to a plan that long.  I had planned to only highlight the scriptures that speak of love in pink and then Christian life in green and different colors for different categories of scripture.  Anything that I couldn't categorize, I highlighted yellow if I liked it a lot.  Develop your plan for colors.  If you can stick with it, it may enhance future reading.

I have highlighters especially made for Bible pages because they’re so thin.  I also have regular highlighters.  It really is not going to make or break you on what type you buy.  I even underline sometimes with my regular pen, but I need a ruler or a bookmark to get the lines straight.  Colors are a personal preference.

Let’s practice this skill and see what we all think is important.  It will be interesting to learn.  PLEASE do not be ashamed if you don’t feel like any piece of the passage should be highlighted.  The goal of this drill is to see the variations of different methods of highlighting.  This will not make you a better scholar or a worse one.


Some of you may have noticed a pattern in this scripture passage and that is what you chose to highlight.  There have been times when the Lord repeatedly said, “IF  you will… THEN I will…”  I call this a pattern.  In Numbers 29 there is a definite pattern set forth under the feast of tabernacles.  I’ve learned that when God says something more than once, it is time to take notice.

When studying the Bible it is good to notice patterns.  There is several ways that we can notate a pattern as well.  One thing is to highlight the repeated word or words.  This will stand out to us the next time we open the Bible to that particular passage.  We can journal what we’ve noticed as a pattern.  When we journal things, we may have journalled it before and then flip back those few pages and recall what the Lord was speaking to us in the first incident where that something was mentioned.  It is okay to just read the Bible and enjoy it, but when we start noticing these patterns and things that God speaks through the Word, it becomes alive in us.

Another way to document a pattern is to write a symbol by that particular scripture.  I’ve written a cross by scripture in the Old Testament that refers to Christ.  I’ve put a heart by things that mention His love.  If you can draw a small shape, you can do these methods.  An asterisk can set apart a few verses as well.  We started learning to notice patterns in preschool and now we can apply that to the study of the Word of God.

You’re likely finding out that anything that you used in school to help you with your studies can be used in studying the Bible.  Write in the margins of your Bible.  Put a date when you studied that passage in the past... that date can be significant later in life.  When I studied in college for classes, I underlined or highlighted the things that I thought I would need to know for a test.  I wrote notes in the margin from lectures.  That is not different from Life.  The Bible is our guide to life.  It might just do us some good to have some things marked or highlighted that will help us on our journey through life.

Worksheet Lesson 6.0

What guideline will you use when highlighting in your Bible?

Have you ever been hesitant to make marks in your Bible?              Why or why not?

Has your view of highlighting changed or stayed the same since this lesson?


Read Psalm 119 this week.  Notice the pattern in this scripture.  There is a theme throughout this chapter and it revolves around a group of words with similar meaning.  Feel free to highlight favorite verses or mark repeated words.

Basic Bible Study - Part 5

Previous Lessons:
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

Lesson 5.0

Writing in a journal is not required to be a Christian, but it really can enhance the study of the Bible.  Not only can it help in Bible Study, but it can be a reminder of what you’ve journeyed through in your Christian walk.  Better than that, it can help you remember what God has done for you.

You can write your thoughts.  You can write a scripture that inspires you.  You can write a “Sermon” or teaching that the Lord lays on your heart.  You can take notes from what you hear in church in your journal.

A journal is not necessarily a fancy book, although it certainly can be.  Some journals are just a notebook that never gets the pages torn out.  Sometimes having a nice looking book can help encourage you to journal.  Fancy or plain, a record of what you’ve studied or thought or experienced is sometimes more valuable than money to you in the future.  It could carry you through a rough time in your life.

Sometimes a dream that God gave you is very important to write down.  If you have a peculiar dream, it is important to write it down as soon as you get a chance.  If you later realize it is from God, the details will be important as you find its interpretation.  The fact that Pharoah dreamed of fat and skinny cows really made a big difference when it came to interpretation.  Cows just eating cows could mean that there is just cannibalism in the land.

Sometimes, if you learned what a word means, you might write down every verse you find with that word in it.  It can enhance the things you already know and it gives you a bigger picture of God.  Also, you can draw pictures or doodles in a journal.  You can do a combination of words and pictures.  You can write song lyrics in your journal that have meant a lot to you.  Clip articles from newspapers or magazines and paste them in your journal.  Possibilities are vast.

In today's world, keeping a digital journal may be easier for some people.  It is certainly more compact.  One can journal using any word processor and save it to his or her device or computer.  This can be private or print and share experiences.  Some people journal on social networking sites as notes.  If you tweet, all that you tweet is public and you can reflect on your life from various status updates and tweets.  Some people blog as a journal and others do photo journals.  What ever form of digital journal you choose, first decide if it is public or private, then look at the possibilities of where to journal.  I have actually used the voice recorder on my phone to capture thoughts or even songs that I have written so that I can go back and find them again.  This is private, but can be considered a journal.

Jeremiah 30:1 CEV
1  The LORD God of Israel said, "Jeremiah, get a scroll and write down everything I have told you."

Worksheet Lesson 5.0

T/F  Writing in a journal is every Christian’s duty.
T/F  Writing in a journal may enhance your Bible study time.
T/F  There is no wrong way to journal.
T/F  Digital journaling is always public.

Purchase a notebook or journal or revive an old one this week and write in it with your Bible reading 3 times this week.  Do not limit yourself.  If you find that you enjoy journaling, do it daily.  Look into some preprinted journals if you prefer to journal that way.