Bible Study Tools

Basic practical resources for personal and group inductive Bible study.


There are many places you can find good inductive Bible study materials–for some of those sites and for sound and helpful online tools for Bible study see the tools section which includes electronic tools and resources sites (under development).

My purpose is not to duplicate those sites nor to try to be exhaustive but to provide basic helpful materials which, Lord will result in helping individuals become self-feeds.

The goal is not isolated learners, but disciples able to feed themselves and who value learning in community and allow God to use them to reproduce more disciple-makers.


The approach–ROADS.
Read, Observe, Analyze, Do and Share.

For summary information see Bible Study Methods summary charts.

Purpose and Goal of Bible Study

Purpose of Bible Study
To seek to understand the author’s intended meaning and what the original (biblical) audience would have understood

  1. Seek the author’s intended meaning—it must mean what it meant

It cannot mean what it did not mean, though incremental revelation may expand what it means.

  1. Study the Bible using normal literary rules—study literarily
  2. Study the passage within its context—it must fit the whole picture
  3. Compare Scripture with Scripture—for clarity, let Scripture interpret Scripture

Do not read one passage into another.

  1. Respond to the authoritative nature of the truth in a relevant manner—obedience, submission and worship are the appropriate responses


Letting the text speak
Seeing things for yourself
Makes it personally more memorable, therefore a greater opportunity for transformation
Gives you a way to evaluate what you hear and read

Overarching goal

Study of the Bible should lead us to a clearer understanding of who God is and what God wants from us.

Life transformation
Not information alone, but information leading to application leading to transformation.

Information without Application leads to Deception.


Read—involves: Recording and Reflecting
Multiple times to actually see what is there

Read it:
Purposefully and selectively

Read the book in one sitting
Re-read each chapter several times

Context must control
A text without a context is a pretext

Observe—What do I see? What does it say?
Structural rewrite to seek flow and sections

Work with a paragraph as the main basic unit of thought
But keep it in the context of the

Books by the same author

Structural rewrite to seek flow and sections
Three kinds of clauses
Main                       statements to the left
Subordinate   clauses indented

Interrogate the text
Who? —What is said about them, what do they say
What? —What’s taking place, what’s going go, what’s the point
Where? —Don’t assume
When? —What time, what day, sequence
Why? —Purpose, why does the author include that
Wherefore? —So what

Textual markers to reveal theme, purpose, and message

Cause and effect

Law of proportion—what does the author spend most of his time addressing?

Key conjunctions and prepositions

So that—purpose

Ask Questions!


Observe—ask questions

Content Context Rules!

Comparison Scripture clarifies Scripture

Bridge the gap

Consultation      Last step!

Comparison to other text
Let Scripture interpret Scripture
But start by seeking to understand each text in its own context and with its own purpose (i.e. for its intended audience)

  1. Don’t try to produce connections or links that are not real
  2. Don’t assume too quickly that there is no connection

Different translations
Concordance—for repetition

Online resources

General caution

Don’t simply accept what you hear or read

  • You are responsible for what you believe
  • You are responsible to act on the truth you believe

Don’t “fill-in the gaps” if the text doesn’t say it


  • Misread the Text
  • Distort the Text
  • Contradict the Text


  • Subjectivism: the meaning of the text is in the text not in our feeling about the text
  • Relativism: there is only one meaning in the text (not “It means to Me”)
  • Overconfidence: don’t ever think you have mastered the text, there is always more you can learn

Don’t dismiss the difficult
“ya but”   He can’t expect me to…
“ya but”   that can’t be true!


Put it into practice

Does the passage challenge

  • A truth to be understood
  • A truth to believe and appropriate
  • An action to take


Pass it along

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.