"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16
Studying the Bible
Reflecting on scripture can be done individually or within a group, including the family. A variety of methods can be used, with some being best for small groups. Reading or hearing the passage from a variety of biblical translations can also open up new insights. A study Bible that has footnotes or sidebars of explanation can enhance individual and group reading.
Light a candle. Begin with prayer. Be comfortable in silence. Let the Spirit speak to you.
Bible study methods:
When we pray with the scriptures, we are engaged with God's word personally instead of academically. In praying scripture, the imagination is engaged and we dwell with the text instead of reflecting on the text. In the tradition of the church, the praying of scripture is known as lectio divina - the process of divine reading of scripture.
The Aural Method
This method and variations on it have been used throughout many parts of the world. It is a variation on the base community methods of South America, although many call it African Bible Study.
Equipping the Saints
This approach by the late Verna Dozier uses more than one translation. It studies the Bible in significant segments - not verse by verse. It is a way to get a perspective on a passage on how it speaks to the world today.
Listen for the Word
This method can be used in a family, between a parent and child, individually, or in a group setting. It lends itself to journaling or drawing as part of the reflection.
Free PDF Guides Bible Study Methods
Guides for the last three methods listed above can be found at the North American Association for the Catechumenate. They have free PDF guides for over 20 different Bible study methods. Check it out at Bible Studies and Approaches. Other methods include:
- Modern Application
- Imaginative Bibilical Interpretation
- A Skeptic’s Bible Study
- Scriptural Conversation
Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, soon-to-be-grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus. This article is an excerpt from The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education, 3rd edition (2009: Morehouse Publishing).