Reading a Book In Its Entirety
Welcome to Part 1 0f your study entitled: “Bible Study Methods: How to Study a Whole Book of the Bible.”
The procedure for studying a whole book is outlined below.
Overview of the process: Discusses the goal and the advantage to studying a whole book of the Bible.
Details for Step 1 are outlined below:
STEP 1: Read the book through in its entirety, several times.
This is extremely important! Few people doing a Bible study have ever done this.
As I’ve mentioned already, we tend to read the Bible in mini-chunks, whether it be a verse on a postcard that stirs us or a favorite passage or portion of a book.
But reading an entire book in one sitting (the way many epistles would have been read when they were first written and delivered to the churches) can be a stimulating adventure.
You see a lot more at 30,000 feet than you do at 30 feet. When you read the whole book at once, you will begin to have a greater sense for the author’s style, purpose, arguments and main themes.
For Large Books
If you’ve chosen a large book to study (Gen, 1 Kings, Isaiah, etc.) you will need to split it up into natural sections (unless you feel like tackling all 50 chapters of Genesis. In which case, more power to you!)
Here you can cheat a bit and check out an outline in a study Bible to see where the natural divisions in a book might be located.
Helpful Advice for Step #1 – Reading the Entire Book
On your first reading, just read. Don’t take notes. Just read for understanding and for the flow of the narrative.
On your second reading, begin to slow down a bit. Try to answer the following questions as you are reading:
- What themes, ideas or words are being emphasized or repeated?
- Is there a problem being addressed?
- Who is the audience of this book and what is the relationship of the author to the audience?
- What is the author saying? How is he saying it? Notice the tone, the words and even the rhetorical stance (For example: “O you foolish Galatians!” communicates a strong attitude of disapproval.)