Joy of Discovery in Bible Study

[by Robert F. Ramey, used with permission]

Many read the Bible only on rare occasions, perhaps in a crisis or in church. They are content to get their Bible knowledge second hand. Others who read the Bible on a regular basis do not know the method whereby they can discover the riches of Scripture for themselves. The method of study described here will open up God's truth for any purposeful goal. Try it and see!

See 2 Timothy 2:15.

  Step 1--OBSERVE
Key verse: John 5:39  "SEARCH"
Key Question:



To discover all the words and details and ideas that are easily overlooked: often we fail to see what is right before our eyes. We are poor detectives. We read too hastily. We can easily miss what the verse clearly says.


To look, inspect, hunt, pay close attention to, notice, watch, consider every word and phrase


Read and reread. Take notes. Ask questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Paraphrase (restate in your own words).


Key verse: Matthew 24:15  "LET HIM UNDERSTAND"
Key Question:



To explain, give the meaning that the Bible writer intended and which his readers understood


To explain, elucidate, tell the meaning, give the sense


To bridge the cultural, language and time gap: in order to do this we often need help: translations, dictionaries, atlases, etc.

God means what He says and says what He means. The problem is that we often come to God’s Word with our own preconceived ideas and notions about what we think the Bible says. This is why people can prove anything they want by using the Bible. Instead of using the Bible, they are actually abusing and misusing the Bible by forcing their own interpretations upon God’s Holy Word.

Instead of letting God say what He says, we try to make the Bible say what we want it to say or what we think it should say. This subjective approach is very detrimental to true Bible study and God will not honor it. We need to come to God with a humble heart, casting aside all of our preconceived notions and opinions, and say, "Lord, teach me Thy way. Help me to learn, unlearn and relearn. Correct my thinking. Help me to amend my thinking in favor of what You have said."

May God the Holy Spirit open the eyes of our understanding so that we might know God’s truth, and so that we might walk in God’s truth (2 John 4; 3 John 3-4).


Step 3--APPLY
Key verse: James 1:22  "BE DOERS"
Key Question:



To learn spiritual lessons and to grow in grace resulting in a changed life; to amend one's life because of what God has said in His Word


To utilize, employ, do, obey, believe, exercise, etc.


Answer these questions: Is there a promise to believe? An example to follow? A sin to avoid? A duty to perform? A prayer to echo? etc.

"There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its Biblical sense, but something else and something less. The Bible is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon those facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages. Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action. Bible exposition without moral application raises no opposition. It is only when the hearer is made to understand that truth is in conflict with his heart that resistance sets in. As long as people can hear orthodox truth divorced from life they will attend and support churches without objection. Much that passed for NT Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song and made palatable by religious entertainment." –A.W. TOZER



Key verse: 1 Corinthians 2:13  "COMPARING"

Key Question:



To relate the portion of Scripture that I am studying with the rest of the Bible: every part of the Bible must be seen in relationship to the whole. When we see a tree clearly, then we must see its relationship to the whole forest. The Bible is a unified whole and we must see how all the pieces fit together.


To correlate, integrate Scripture


Ask yourself: What other verses and paragraphs and chapters in the Bible can I tie together with what I have just studied? Can I find parallel passages that would shed light on and help confirm what I have just studied? You may find help using the cross references found in your Bible as well as a concordance.

IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Use this method in studying Matthew 19:16-26.  OBSERVE: Help the students to look carefully for details in each verse which might be overlooked with a superficial or surface reading of the text.  INTERPRET:  Help the students to understand the true interpretation of the text.  Jesus taught that if a person keeps the commandments, he will enter into life.  How perfectly must these commandments be kept?  Is it possible for any sinful man to do this?  What is the meaning of "the eye of a needle" and what was the Lord's main point in using this vivid illustration?  APPLY:  Help the students to understand how this passage can be personally applied to them, especially with regards to its teaching relating to salvation and riches.  COMPARE:  What is the purpose of the law according to Romans 3:20 and how does this relate to this passage in Matthew 19?   Compare Matthew 19:17 with John 6:47 and John 3:16.  What is the true gospel message?  Keep the law and you shall be saved OR believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved?  What important detail does Mark tell us about the Lord's attitude towards the rich young ruler (see Mark 10:21) which Matthew does not tell us?

OUT OF CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Use this method in studying Matthew 27:39-54 and/or John chapter 21.

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