The Book Synthesis Method of Bible Study
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Method Eleven - The Book Synthesis Method of Bible Study
In the Book Synthesis Method we will summarize and condense the lessons learned previously. The word synthesis indicates the putting together of the discrete items that together compose a whole; thus in the Book Synthesis Method we will put back together the details we extracted from the book through our previous two studies.
The Book Synthesis Method is the last of three methods of Bible study that, together, give you an extremely comprehensive view of each book of the Bible. These three will require the greatest effort on your part but will ultimately yield the best results when used properly. Each of the three emphasizes a different aspect of one overall process of study which are:
Survey - Method 9 - Book Survey Method - in which you will obtain a detailed overview of a particular book of the Bible
Analysis - Method 10 - Chapter Analysis Method - in which you will study everything in each chapter in great detail
Synthesis - Method 11 - Book Synthesis Method - in which you will take what you learned in the previous two study stages and put it all back together, drawing conclusions as you go and gaining an appreciation of the whole of the book.
11.1 - Tools
11.1.1 - Bible and several additional modern translations
11.1.2 - Bible dictionary and/or Bible encyclopedia
11.1.3 - Bible handbook, such as Unger's or Halley's
11.1.4 - Old and New Testament surveys
11.1.5 - Cultural contextualization tools
11.2 - Hints
11.2.1 - Have the results of both your Book Survey Method and your Chapter Analysis Method available and complete, you will need to refer to them frequently during this study.
11.3 - Steps
Step 1 - Reread the book several times in the same manner as you did in the Book Survey method
Step 2 - Write out a detailed, final, outline using the preliminary outline from your Book Survey and the passage summaries from your Chapter Analysis. These, when coupled with your current readings, will allow you to put this outline in its final form.
Step 3 - Write down a descriptive book title using the same methods by which you gave titles to each section in your Chapter Analysis. The title should be original and define the contents of the book in as few words as possible.
Step 4 - Make a summary of your insights. You will here summarize the major and minor themes as well as the conclusions of the book as you discovered them in the previous two studies. Avoid commentaries for the moment as you are attempting to arrive at your own understanding of the Bible. Feel free to add new ideas you have discovered during the readings in step one.
Step 5 - Write out a personal application. Review all applications listed in your Book Survey and Chapter Analysis studies, noting any which you have not yet completed and making definite plans to complete them in the near future if not immediately. If all are complete select other potential applications and make plans to implement these in your life as soon as possible.
Step 6 - Share the results of your study with other. The Christian faith is unique in that each of us is individually saved through Christ Jesus, yet our carrying out of that faith is best done in a community of believers. Time and again we as Christians are referred to in the New Testament as the Body of Christ and we are encouraged to build each other up in the faith:
Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
One of the ways in which the building up other Christians takes place is to share with them what you have learned of God, be it through Bible studies such as this or illuminations from the Holy Spirit.