Three Key questions
- What did the passage meant?
- What does it mean?
- How we might respond?
An important piece of the first question is getting a handle on the details of the passage. The basic reporters' questions (How? Who? What? When? Where? Why?) are a great tool here. Read through the passage several times. As you read, be curious. Pause at each phrase and write down your questions. At this point, do not stop and search for answers (although, do write down any that occur), keep reading and asking. Next, read over your questions and determine which questions are most important for understanding the text. Beginning at the passage (e.g., Revelation 5) and moving on to the book (e.g., Revelation), the testament (e.g., New Testament), and the whole bible, search for answers. Also helpful here are Bible Dictionaries and Introductions. Some online and book resources are listed below.
Online Resources: Answering Questions
- Bible dictionaries at Crosswalk
- Online study bible at Crosswalk
- Holman Bible Dictionary at StudyLight
- NIV Study Bible Introductions at International Bible Society
- BibleArc - graphical bible study
- Online bibles at biblegateway.com
- The Method of a Good Interpreter: lists the literary devices that help us discover the author's intended meaning [website]
- How to Study the Bible: For Beginners: a more complete explanation of in-depth bible study [website]
- The Exegetical Process: What does it mean to you?: good graphic overview of the process from study to preaching/teaching [website]
- The Books of the Bible: short overview and whole-bible insight into each book of the bible, from Old Testament scholar, Dr. John H. Sailhamer. [book]
- The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament and New Testament; Zondervan illustrated Bible backgrounds commentary; and Bible Reader's Companion: good sources for historical and cultural backgrounds [books]