10 Questions To Ask When Studying The Bible

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

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Getting the most out of Bible study often begins with asking the right questions. When we approach Scripture with a curious and humble mindset, it takes away the pressure of trying to understand every single verse right away. Instead, it turns our academic study time into an exciting adventure of curiosity and discovery.

It's important to recognize that we're not in the same time and place as the people who wrote the Bible. It's like trying to understand a letter from a friend who lived in a totally different world a long time ago! That's why we need to ask a lot of questions and not immediately jump to interpretation. Studying the Bible is a lifelong adventure, after all, a marathon, not a sprint! And with the help of the Holy Spirit, our questions can lead to life-changing answers.

So if you're new to Bible study or need a refresh, start with asking the following ten questions as you study Scripture:

  1. What is the Context?

    • Before diving into any passage, consider the historical, cultural, and literary context. Understanding the context can shed light on the meaning and significance of the verses. You can learn more about this with a quick Google search or by reading the book introduction section of your study Bible!

  2. Who is the Author?

    • Knowing the authorship of a particular book or passage can provide insights into their background, beliefs, and intentions, helping you interpret the text more accurately. Make a profile for the author and write down any significant notes about their personal history.

  3. Who Was the Audience?

    • Understanding the intended audience can give you valuable insights into the message and purpose of the passage. Different audiences may have different needs and concerns. Do some research to find out more about what was happening to this specific group of people at the time, and put yourself in their shoes as you read the passage.

  4. What is the Genre?

    • The Bible includes various literary forms, such as historical narrative, poetry, prophecy, and epistle. Recognizing the genre of a passage can guide your interpretation. 

  5. What is the Central Message?

    • Every book in the Bible has central messages or themes. Identify these core messages to grasp the author's main points. Use tools like The Bible Project or study Bibles to learn more about the book you're reading.

  6. Are There Key Themes or Motifs?

    • Look for recurring themes, symbols, or motifs throughout the Bible. These can help you connect passages and see the bigger picture of God's message.

  7. How Does it Relate to the Larger Narrative?

    • Consider how the passage fits into the overarching biblical narrative. How does it connect to previous events or anticipate future developments?

  8. What Does it Teach About God's Character?

    • The Bible is primarily a revelation of God's character and plan for humanity. Reflect on what a passage reveals about God's nature, attributes, and purposes.

  9. What Application Does it Have for My Life?

    • Beyond historical and theological insights, ask how the passage applies to your life today. What lessons, values, or principles can you apply?

  10. What Is My Response?

    • Finally, consider how you will respond to what you've learned. Will it lead to a change in your beliefs, attitudes, or actions? How will you apply the teachings of the Bible in your daily life?

Approaching the Bible with a spirit of humble curiosity and a willingness to ask questions is not only acceptable but crucial. It transforms the daunting task of studying Scripture into an exciting journey of discovery! The vast differences in time, culture, and geography between us and the Bible's original authors should be viewed as opportunities for exploration rather than obstacles. So, whether you're starting your adventure or have been on this journey for years, remember that good Bible study is all about learning more about God and drawing closer to God.

Embrace your curiosity, keep asking questions, and start looking for answers!


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