Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Studying the Bible: Contextual Study

There are many ways of studying the Bible. Two of these ways are:

• Topical
• Contextual

I am going to dwell on the contextual. It is very difficult to come up with a wrong theology or heresy when studying the Bible this way.

If I want to study one book of the Bible, I start by reading it through at one sitting. Tomorrow I read it through again. The next day the same. When I do this, it reinforces what I learned the first time, plus I learn something additional that I missed.

I do this every day for a week. The second week I read the first half of the book each day. The third week I read the first chapter every day.

When I am reading this first chapter I cannot possibly take it out of context. I know where it fits in the whole book.

This is called deductive contextual study. I start with the whole and bring it down to one verse.

If I want to have a group contextual study of the book, deduction is difficult, so I use induction. I start with verse one and continue verse by verse straight through the book.

In both cases, I pay close attention to the text.