Another and more thorough method of Bible chapter study, which cannot be applied to every chapter in the Bible, but which will yield excellent results when applied to some of the more important chapters of the Bible, is as follows:
1. Read the chapter for to-day's study five times, reading it aloud at least once. Each reading will bring out some new point.
2. Divide the chapter into its natural divisions and find headings for each division that describes in the most striking way the contents of that division.
For example, suppose the chapter studied is 1 John 5. You might divide it in this way:
First division, verses 1 - 3 - The Believer's Noble Parentage
Second division, verses 4 - 5 - The Believer's Glorious Victory
Third division, verses 6 - 10 - The Believer's Sure Ground Of Faith
Fourth division, verses 11 - 12 - The Believer's Priceless Possession
Fifth division, verse 13 - The Believer's Blessed Assurance
Sixth division, verses 14 - 15 - The Believer's Unquestioning Confidence
Seventh division, verses 16 - 17 - The Believer's Great Power And Responsibility
Eighth division, verses 18 - 19 - The Believer's Perfect Security
Ninth division, verse 20 - The Believer's Precious Knowledge
Tenth division, verse 21 - The Believer's Constant Duty
3. Read the chapter in, at least, two different versions and compare the differences.
4. Write down the leading facts of the chapter in3 their proper order.
5. Make a note of the persons mentioned in the chapter and of any light thrown on their character.
6. Note the principal lessons of the chapter. It would be well to classify these. For instance, lessons about God, lessons about Christ, lessons about the Holy Spirit, etc.
7. Find the central truth of the chapter.
8. Find the key verse of the chapter, if there is one.
9. Find the best verse in the chapter. Mark it and memorize it.
10. Write down what new truth you have learned from the chapter.
11. Write down what truth already known that has come to you with new power.
12. Write down what definite thing you have resolved to do as a result of studying this chapter.
It would be well to study in this way, all the chapters in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts; the first eight chapters of Romans; 1 Cor. 12, 13 and 15; the first six chapters of 2 Corinthians; all the chapters in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, First Thessalonians and the First Epistle of John. It would be well at times to vary this by taking up other methods of study for a time.
Another profitable method of Bible study is the topical method. This was Mr. Moody's favourite method of study. Take up the great topics of which the Bible teaches such as, the Holy Spirit, Prayer, the Blood of Christ, Sin, Judgment, Grace, Justification, the New Birth, Sanctification, Faith, Repentance, the Character of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ, the Assurance of Christ, the Second Coming of Christ, Assurance, Love of God, Love [to God, to Christ, to Christians, to all men], Heaven, Hell. Get a Bible text-book and go through the Bible on each one of these topics.
3. We should study the Bible comprehensively - the whole BIble. Many who read their Bibles make the great mistake of confining all their reading to certain portions of the Bible that they enjoy, and in this way they get no knowledge of the Bible as a whole. They miss altogether many of the most important phases of Bible truth. Begin and go through the Bible again and again - a certain portion each day from the Old Testament and a portion from the New Testament. Read carefully at least one Psalm every day.
It is well oftentimes to read a whole book of the Bible through at a single sitting. Of course, with a few books of the Bible this wold take one or two hours, but with most of the books of the Bible it can be done in a few minutes. With the shorter books of the Bible they should be read through again and again at a single sitting.
4. Study the Bible attentively. Do not hurry. One of the worst faults in Bible study is haste and heedlessness. The Bible only does good by the truth it contains. It as no magic power. It is better to read one verse attentively than to read a dozen chapters thoughtlessly. Sometimes you will read a verse that takes hold of you. Don't hurry on. Linger and ponder that verse.
As you read, mark in your Bible what impresses you most. One does not need an elaborate system of Bible marking, simply mark what impresses you. Meditate on what you mark. God pronounces that man blessed who "meditates" in God's law day and night [Ps. 1:2]. It is wonderful how a verse of Scripture will open if one reads it over and over again and again, paying attention to each word as he reads it, trying to get its exact meaning and its full meaning.
Memorize the passages that impress you most [Ps. 119:11, R.V.]. When you memorize a passage of Scripture, memorize its location as well as its words. Pix in your mind chapter and verse where the words are found. A busy but spiritually-minded man who was hurrying to catch a train once said to me, "Tell me in a word how to study me Bible." I replied, "Thoughtfully."
5. Study your Bible comparatively. That is compare Scripture with Scripture. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Wherever you find a difficult passage in the Bible, there is always some passage elsewhere that explains its meaning. The best book to use in the comparison of Scripture with Scripture is "The Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge." On every verse in the BIble this book gives a large number of references. It is well to take up some book of the Bible and go through that book verse by verse, looking up carefully and studying every reference given in "The Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge." This is a very fruitful method of Bible study. It is also well in studying the Bible by chapters to look up the references on the more important verses in the chapter.
6. Study your Bible believingly. The Apostle Paul in writing to the Christians in Thessalonica says,
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the Word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worth also in you that believe" [1 Thess. 2:13].
Happy is the one who receives the Word of God as these believers in Thessalonica received it, who receives it as what it really is, the Word of God. In such a one it "works effectually." The Bible is the Word of God and we get the most out of any book by studying it as what it really is. It is often said that we should study the Bible just as we study any other book. That principle contains a truth, but it also contains a great error. The Bible, it is true, is a book as other books are books, the same laws of grammatical and literary construction hold here as in other books, but the Bible is a unique book. It is what no other book is, the Word of God. This can be easily proven to any open-minded man. The Bible ought then to be studied as no other book. It should be studied as the Word of God.
Next week we will conclude the subject of Bible Study.
Feed Yourself Assignments
These assignments assume the student has completed the Feed Yourself course.
1. Memorize 1 Thess. 2:13.
2. Look up in your Bible each Scripture reference mentioned in this lesson - even the ones that are quoted.
3. Pick a Chapter and study it according to the 12 steps listed in this lesson.