Old Testament Survey

Lesson: How to Study the Bible (OTS03)


To study the Bible and apply its truths to life requires work. Effective Bible study is a three-part process: observation, interpretation, and application. In other words, we ask ourselves these three questions: “What does it say?” “What does it mean?” and “What does it mean to me?” The first book of the Bible, Genesis, helps us understand our world and ourselves as we were intended to be and as we are now.

When it comes to really studying the Bible, we need to be careful and wise. One effective method of study is this four-part process: observation, interpretation application, and correlation. Observation comes first. As you read the passage through, you should be asking the question, “What does it say?” Next comes interpretation, during which you ask, “What does it mean?” Then comes application. In this step, you’re questioning, “What does it mean to me?” Correlation asks the question, “How does this Scripture relate to the all the other books of the Bible? Knowing what the Scriptures say and what they mean is important. But if you do not act on them, your study has been meaningless. When you get to that section called "application," you can find out what a passage means to you by making that broad question more specific. Try these questions to get you started: • Are there any examples to follow? • Are there any warnings to heed? • Are there any commandments to obey? • Are there any sins to forsake? • Are there any new truths about God or Jesus Christ? • Are there any new truths about my own life? When studying the Bible, there are some rules that should guide us.