Contextual Bible Study

This method looks at scripture in the context surrounding it to further understand what is being read and try to minimize misinterpretation.

4 Bible Contexts:

1. Where it fits (the sentences before and after the verse you’re studying)–  Read the verses before and after the one you are studying. Many misunderstandings of what you’re reading can be curtailed by understanding what happened before and after.

2. Historical setting (what was going on during this time period)- Look for what was going on in the culture during the time period. If you have a study Bible, they usually have a section that can get you up to speed quickly. Consider the author of the text as well as the intended audience. If you don’t have a study Bible, head back to google and search for the verse along with historical context. (eg. Philippians 4:13 historical context)

3. Literal meaning (the words it uses)- Define any words that aren’t crystal clear.  You can start with a regular dictionary and follow it up with a Bible dictionary. I’m a huge fan of googling whatever word I’m looking for followed by in the Bible. (eg. Strengthen as used in the Bible.) I hope you’ll be as amazed as I was when I first started using this method.

4. Synthesis- This principle is two-fold. First, you want to consider the verse you’re studying in light of the Bible as a whole. If you’re a new Bible reader, no worries. This will come in time. Just know the Bible never contradicts itself. The second part is cross-referencing. You know those itty bitty, tiny letters and numbers in the margins of your Bible? Those are abbreviations of other verses in the Bible that support and directly relate to the verse you’re studying. One of the most amazing parts of the Bible is how it proves itself.

Abbreviated from this blog. Also provides practical steps to follow.

Useful explanatory video here