The Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study

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Method 2 - The Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study

In the Chapter Summary Method we attempt to gain an understanding of the contents of any given chapter of the Bible by reading it in its entirety several times (at least five), asking a series of questions relating to the content of the chapter, and ending with a general summary of the chapter. Note that the chapter divisions currently in our Bible are not in the original manuscripts but were added later (about 1,200 AD) by Bishop Stephen Langton in order to make the various parts of the Bible more accessible to the general reader. Although usually well done, at some points the chapter divisions interrupt the natural flow of the text. There are 1,189 chapters in the Protestant Bible so there is a wealth of material to study.

2.1 - Tools

2.1.1 - Bible

2.1.2 - Cross references

2.2 - Hints

2.2.1 - Read the chapter from a Bible without notes in order to encourage fresh insights rather than reaffirming those already found.

2.2.2 - Read the chapter without stopping in order to get a feel for the flow of the chapter.

2.2.3 - Read the chapter in various translations noting important differences discovered.

2.2.4 - Read the chapter aloud but quietly to yourself as an aid to concentration.

2.3 - Steps

Step 1 - Caption - Give the chapter a short but descriptive heading. Headings that are short and/or convey a vivid image of the chapter are especially beneficial.

Step 2 - Contents - Make a list or outline of the major point of the chapter.

Step 3 - Chief People - Make a list of the major individuals in the chapter, some reference to the surrounding chapters may be necessary.

Step 4 - Central Verse - Select a verse that is significant in the chapter or which you find is important during this study.

Step 5 - Crucial Word(s) - Make a list of the key word(s) of the chapter.

Step 6 - Challenges - List any difficulties you may have with the chapter. What don't you understand? Are there areas of your life that need changing but cannot be changed?

Step 7 - Cross References - Use your cross references to find other passages in the Bible that help you to understand this chapter.

- You should evaluate cross references in steps: - Internal Cross References - Look for cross references within the book you are studying. - External Cross References - Look for cross references within other books by the same author. - Compare with cross references within the same Testament (Old or New) - Compare with cross references within the Bible as a whole.

- There are also several types of cross reference, three are listed below (see your cross reference resource for more details): - Pure Cross Reference – Says almost exactly the same thing as the verse you are studying. - Illustrative Cross Reference – Illustrates what the verse you are studying is saying. - Contrasting Cross Reference – Says the opposite of what the verse you are studying is saying.

Step 8 - Christ Revealed - As the Bible as a whole is the revelation of Jesus Christ (the Old Testament points to Him, the Gospels give the details of His earthly life, and Acts and the Letters show His activity in the world) it should be possible to find His presence in all areas of the Bible. Find out what you can discover of the nature, ministry, or person of Christ from this chapter.

Step 9 - Central Lesson(s) - List the major lessons taught in the chapter that you have learned at this time (next time you study this chapter entirely new insights may become evident).

Step 10 - Conclusion - Here you will begin to apply what you have learned. Two questions that are important to ask during any application of the Bible are: - How do these insights apply to me personally? - What am I going to do about them?