Another resolution that I have made for this New Year is to actually put some time into studying the Bible for myself.
But not only is my Father’s house a big, big house with lots of rooms…the Bible is a big, big book with lots and lots of chapters and verses and ideas.
Being a musician of sorts, I’ve been taught to “start at the very beginning”…when you read, you begin with ABC…when you sing, you begin with do-re-mi…when you study the Bible, why not start with Genesis…
So now that I’ve decided to study Genesis, how?!
Actually there are several different Bible study methods that have been used for decades, including…
- Bible Doctrine Studies
1. Bible Doctrine Studies…These studies place a heavier emphasis on theology by studying a particular doctrine. An example of a doctrine study in Genesis is What Happened in the Garden?...a book that offers scientific, literary, business, educational, and legal perspectives on creation…and how what we observe in the legal system, literature, gender roles, education, psychology, and science today are actually connected with creation.
- background and history of the original message
- events that take place
- how the text applies to our own lives today
- key themes, topics, and verses
- major principles, insights, and lessons
- people mentioned in that passage
- personal applications that are personal, practical, and possible
3. Character Bible Study…A character study is the study of a specific biblical character person and his or her heart, attitude, personality, strengths, and weaknesses… how he or she thinks, feels, and responds to circumstances….one of the character’s quality traits that you would like to work on yourself…a situation similar to the one being discussed that is happening in your own life.
An example of this would be Noah: Man of Destiny, a novel about the man who built a large ship and spent months caring for thousands of animal, but also stood against a sinister belief system emerging throughout the land, escaped legendary beasts, tracked kidnappers, and acquired the skills he would need when God called him to his greatest adventure.
4. Life-Focused Bible Studies...These studies begin with real-life issues that are relevant today and seek to apply God’s Word to our lives in intentional ways. Many of these books share stories from real-life experiences, such as struggles people have faced in their own marriages, families, and work.
Live Relationally by Kenya Heitzig is an example of a lifetime-focused Bible study on Genesis. This study studies of the women in Genesis who experience death, marriage, divorce, rape, and family tragedy…women such as the complicated Tamar and the often oversimplified Eve…women who are wives and mothers, slaves and owners, sinners and saints…
5. Topical Bible studies involve choosing a specific topic, thinking of questions you’d like to have answered about that topic, and finding every single reference to that topic. An example of a topical study would be the ark…through books such as Inside Noah’s Ark: Why It Worked which show how the ship was an actual working vessel…and how a crew of just eight people could have housed, fed, and watered all of the representatives of the animal kinds.