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  • Also by Rick Warren

    The Purpose Driven Life

    The Purpose Driven Church

    Living with Purpose SeriesGods Answers to Lifes Difficult Questions

    God s Power to Change Your Life

    Rick WaRRens

    MeTHODsBiBLe sTUDY

  • F r o m t h e a u t h o r o f

    T H e P U R P O s e DR i v e n L i f e

    Rick WaRRens

    MeTHODsBiBLe sTUDY

    12Twelve Ways You Can Unlock Gods Word

    www.zondervan.comwww.zondervan.com/authortracker
  • Rick Warrens Bible Study Methods Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader format Copyright 1981, 2006 by Rick Warren

    Formerly published under the title Personal Bible Study Methods

    Requests for information should be addressed to:

    Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

    ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27759-0 ISBN-10: 0-310-27759-0

    All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

    KJV indicates Scripture quotations from the King James Version.

    The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.

    All rights reserved. Some forms are designated in the text as being suitable for reproduction. No other part of this publica-tion may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

    Interior design: Mark Sheeres Cover design: Rob Monacelli and Ron Huizinga Cover photo: Philip Shippert

    www.zondervan.com
  • To my wife, Elizabeth Kay

    whose prayers, support, and commitment to disciple-making have been

    a constant encouragement while I was working on this book.

    She is truly a gift from God.

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  • cOnTenTs

    Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    Introduction:.How.to.Study.the.Bible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

    Preview.of.the.12.Bible.Study.Methods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

    1. TheDevotionalMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 2. TheChapterSummaryMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 3. TheCharacterQualityMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 4. TheThematicMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 5. TheBiographicalMethodofBibleStudy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 6. TheTopicalMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 7. TheWordStudyMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 8. TheBookBackgroundMethodofBibleStudy . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 9. TheBookSurveyMethodofBibleStudy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 10. TheChapterAnalysisMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 11. TheBookSynthesisMethodofBibleStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 12. TheVerse-by-VerseAnalysisMethodofBibleStudy . . . . . . . 221

    Appendices A. HowtoHaveaMeaningfulQuietTime. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 B. GeneralQuestionsforaBiographicalStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 C. AListofPositiveandNegativeCharacterQualities. . . . . . . . . 259 D. APartialListofBiblicalPeople . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 E. ASuggestedListofKeyWordsforStudy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 F. WhattoLookforinaChapterAnalysisStudy............. 265 G. APlanforStudyingtheBibleSystematically . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

    For.Further.Reading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271About.the.Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272About.the.Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273

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  • PReface

    FormanyyearseverytimeIheardagoodsermonorsomein-depthBibleteaching,Iwouldleavethemeetingfrustrated,wonderingtomyself,How.did.he.find.all.of.that.in.his.text?Iwantedtobeabletodiscoverthosetruthsonmyown.Inaddition,IoftenfeltguiltybecausepeoplewerealwaystellingmeIoughttostudytheBible,butwhenItriedtostudyit,Ididntknowwhattodo.SoIwouldgetdiscouragedandgiveup.

    Since those days of frustration, I have discovered thatmost Christians sin-cerelywanttostudytheirBiblesontheirown,buttheyjustdontknowhow.Theydont needmore exhortation (Youought to study yourBible!); they just needsomeinstructiononhowtostudytheWordofGod.Andthatisthepurposeofthisbookitisahow-tomanualonBiblestudy.ItassumesthatyoualreadyknowtheimportanceofpersonalBiblestudy,thatyouhavebeenexhortedmanytimestothisChristianduty,andthatyouhavebeenwaitingforsomeonetoshowyouhowtodoit.

    TheBibleteachesusthatwecannotbedisciplesofJesusChristifwedonothavearegularintakeoftheWordofGod.OnoneoccasionJesussaidtohisfol-lowers,Ifyoucontinue inmyword, thenareyoumydisciples indeed;andyoushallknowthetruth,andthetruthshallmakeyoufree(John8:3132KJV).AswelookbackthroughthehistoryoftheChristianchurch,wefindthatthecommondenominatorofeverygreatmanandwomanofGodisthattheyknewtheScrip-turesandspentconsistent,regulartimewiththeLordinhisWord.

    NeverbeforeinhistoryhastheBiblebeenmoreavailabletotheWesternworld.YetneverbeforehastherebeensuchafamineofGodsWord.WehaveBiblesinhotels,motels,doctorsoffices, libraries,andmosthomes inAmerica,yetmostpeopleareignorantofwhattheScriptureshavetosay.Weliveinadayofbiblicalilliteracy,evenamongmanypeopleofGod.

  • 10

    Rick WaRRens BiBLe sTUDY MeTHODs

    EachstudymethodinthisbookispresentedinsuchawaythatanybelieversinChristcanfollowthestepssuggestedandbeableon.their.own.togetsomethingoutoftheirstudyoftheScriptures.Itrustthatyourreading,study,anduseofthisbookwillmakeyouintoabiblicallyliteratediscipleoftheLordJesusChristuse-fulasaworkerinyourlocalchurchinreachingthelostwiththegospelandtrainingbelieversindiscipleship.

    TheclaimsofdiscipleshipincludeacalltocommitmentbymenandwomenwhowanttofollowJesus.TheygrowasdisciplesbygettingintotheWordasahabitoflifeandapplyingitconsistentlytotheirdailylives.

    GeorgeMueller,thedirectorofaseriesoforphanagesinBristol,England,dur-ingmuchofthe19thcentury,wasknownasamanoffaithandprayer.Itisamaz-ingtoreadtheanswerstoprayerthismanhadduringhislonglife.Whatmadehimamanoffaithandprayer?DuringhislifetimehereadthroughtheBibleover200times,andmorethanhalfofthosereadingshedidonhisknees,prayingovertheWordandstudyingitdiligently.

    WhenyouknowtheWordofGodthatwell,youaregoingtoknowthewillofGodforyourlife.WhenyouknowthewillofGod,youwillbeabletoprayspecificallyandgetspecificanswers.

    Ifweweretoask inachurchmeeting,Howmanyofyoubelieve theBiblefromcovertocover?probablyeveryonewouldraiseahand.However,ifweweretoask,Howmanyofyou read. it. regularly fromcover tocover?wemightnotgetmuchofaresponse.ItseemsweareoftenguiltyofbeingmoreinterestedindefendingGodsWordthaninstudyingit.

    OnatypicaleveninganaverageChristianmaysitandwatchTVforthreehours,butonlyreadhisBibleforthreeminutesbeforebedtime. Is itanywondermanylackspiritualmaturity?ManyChristiansaremorefaithfultotheDearAbbycolumnorthesportspagesthantheyaretotheWordofGod.Ihaveknownnon-Christianswhowouldnot leave theirhomes in themorninguntil theyhadreadtheirhoro-scopes.WhatwouldhappenifChristianscommittedthemselveswithequalvigortoreadingtheirBibleseachmorningbeforetheyleftforwork,school,orshopping?Itwouldchangetheirlivesandthelivesofthosearoundthem.

  • Preface

    11

    The apostle Paul said something important about theScriptures.Writing toTimothy,hedeclared:

    Butasforyou,continueinwhatyouhavelearnedandhavebecomeconvincedof,becauseyouknow those fromwhomyou learned it,andhow from infancyyouhaveknowntheholyScriptures,whichareabletomakeyouwiseforsalvationthroughfaithinChristJesus.AllScriptureisGod-breathedandisusefulforteaching,rebuking,correct-ing,andtraininginrighteousness,sothatthemanofGodmaybethoroughlyequippedforeverygoodwork(2Tim.3:1417).

    PaulgivesustworeasonswhyweshouldknowtheScriptures.Thefirstpur-poseisthatwemightcometoknowJesusChristandreceivehissalvation(v.15).We learnabouthimand redemption through theWord.ThesecondpurposeofScripture is tohelpusgrowspiritually thatwemightbeequippedforwhateverGodwantsus todo (v.17).Themeans to thatgrowthare teaching (doctrine),rebuking,correcting,andtraining(v.16).Teachingshowsusthepathonwhichwearetowalk;rebukingshowsuswherewegotoffthepath;correctingtellsushowtogetbackonthepath;andtraininginrighteousnessteacheshowtostayonthatpath.ThismeansthattheBibleisthecomprehensiveguidebookforlivingtheChristianlife.

    NeartheendofJesusministry,theJewishleadersweretryingtotrickhimwithcomplicatedquestionsabouttheirLaw.ToonequestiontheSadduceeshaddesignedtotrytotraphim,Jesusreplied,YouareinerrorbecauseyoudonotknowtheScripturesorthepowerofGod(Matt.22:29).Jesusgivesherethetwobasicreasonsforfalsedoctrine,orerror.PeoplegetoffbasedoctrinallybecausetheyknowneithertheirBiblesnorthepowerofGod.Allerrorcomesfromthesetwothings.

    Withthecurrentriseandpopularityofcults,falseteachings,andnonbiblicalphilosophies,itisimperativethatweChristiansbegroundedintheWordofGodsothatwecandiscernerrorfromtruth.

    WhyisitthatmostChristiansdonotstudytheWordofGod?Probablymanyreasonscouldbegiven,butthreeseemtobemostcommon.Thefirstreasonisthat.people.dont.know.how .Th