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How to Study the Bible, Part 1


Over the next couple of weeks, we will be giving you new, simple methods of studying the Bible. These methods are designed to help you get more from your time in God’s Word.

The first method we are going to look at is the “word emphasis method.”

The word emphasis method is one that Rick Warren discusses in his great book “Bible Study Methods.” This way of studying Scripture is simple, yet when I first came across it, it revolutionized how I read even a single verse.

The idea is to read a verse the same number of times as there are words in the verse, each time emphasizing a different word. Each word that you emphasize will reveal to you a part of that verse that you might have never seen before. Let me illustrate this with perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

There are 24 words in this verse, so that means y

ou will read it 24 times, each time putting the emphasis on a different word. Let me help you start out:

First time:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

On the first reading we are emphasizing the word for. (TIP: Read the verse out loud and actually, verbally, emphasize that word). Our focus now is on the fact that this verse is connected with what came before, a discussion of needing to be born again. Contemplate how the ideas in this verse connect with those in the preceding verses.

Second time:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Take-away: God, and God alone is capable of such a great love as the one described here. Nothing or no one else in this world can love you the same way and with the same depth as God does.

Third time:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Take-away: The love that God loves us with is not small, but huge. He doesn’t just love us, He SO loves us!

You get the point. Do this with every word in the verse. You don’t have to write it down or take a lot of time. You should be able to reflect on this verse in this way in 10-15 minutes. You will see things you’ve never seen before and be able to reflect more fully on who God is and how much He loves you!