How to Study the Bible


Start by reading a survey and introduction to the book.  Before getting into the details, it helps to have the big picture of where the book is heading.


Root48 Bible Survey (scroll to find the book) 

Study Light’s Bible Dictionaries (enter the book title) 

Record information that will affect how you read and understand of the book…

  • Purpose: 
  • Author: 
  • Audience:
  • Cultural Setting/Date:
  • Genre.  The Genre of the Book greatly affects how you study.  If you would like assistance in managing the genre nuances, you should switch over to one of our Genre Study Worksheets at this point.  For a general guide to studying the Bible, continue on below.


If possible, read the entire book in one sitting.  Don’t slow down to reread or ask questions.  If the book is too large, read the largest manageable section that includes the passage you are studying. 


Bible Gateway to read the Book.

Root48 Bible Survey  to determine section divisions for larger books.   

Making brief observations on…

  • Recipients:
  • Author’s Attitude:
  • Specific Occasions Mentioned for Writing the Letter:
  • Natural/Logical Outline:

Study by Section

Chose one main section at a time and read it two to four times with different translations.


Bible Gateway to read the passage with multiple translations.  Brian recommends using the KJV, NASB, NIV, and NLT.  For a better understanding of how to choose and use translations, visit Root48’s Scholar Insights

Make notes on…

  • Problems Mentioned:
  • Key Words in the Author’s Response.  Repeated or emphasized words lead us to the lesson being communicated:
  • Variance Between Translations.  Variance between translations indicates difficulties the translators ran into with the original language.  Familiarize yourself with translation approaches and watch closely for how each resolves the difficulties.

Study by Subsection 

Subsections are paragraphs for Epistles, events for Narratives, and oracles for Prophecy.  Now is the time for digging up answers on all your questions.  Especially direct your attention t0 researching the key words/concepts you identified above. 


Study Light’s Bible Dictionaries for questions on culture.

Study Light’s Concordances for questions on words.  Read definitions and cross references.

Bible Gateway cross references for questions on concepts.  Select the NASB translation on follow the links contained in the text to other Bible passages addressing the same concept.

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem for questions about theology – the site is a little precarious, so you may have to buy the book.

The preceding and proceeding passage to determine the context of the message.

Bible History Online when you need a visual image or map, or Holy Land Photos for photos of Biblical Locations. 

Root48’s How to Use the Greek for advanced word studies.

Write a 1-2 sentence summary on the content and point of each subsection:

Go back and decide why the author arranged each subsection as he did:


Summarize the lesson for then.  Summarize the lesson for now.

Who/what/where/when/why/how will you apply this passage? 

What questions are still left unanswered?