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Twelve Steps for Studying, Teaching and Applying the Bible

Thu, Feb. 04, 2016 Posted: 12:46 PM

You need to study your Bible more! We all do! And I want to show you the best way I know to do it.

As the Bible came into existence, God’s people – first Israel, then the Church – sought not only to understand the individual components of God’s story and their own existence, but also the overarching theme. Jesus himself established the precedent, demonstrating the importance and validity of seeking to understand God’s “big story,” when He concisely explained the metanarrative (a micro-metanarrative, if you will) of Scripture to his disciples in Luke 24. Verses 27 and 44-47 are revealing:

“27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself... 44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”

Jesus touched on the beginning, middle and end of the story, on the past, present and future of redemptive history. He was fully aware that His own life, death and resurrection were the key components and sine qua non of the story. And during the very climax of the story, He reminded all hearers — and, by extension, us — that the very reason and purpose for the story were none other than the glory of His Father:

“27 Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’” (John 12:27-28)

It is our joy and privilege as His children to seek to gain deeper insight into this amazing story of God’s glory, as well as the roles we play in it, and the best was to do that is to study the Bible regularly and thoroughly. With that in mind, my friend and mentor Bill Jones and I developed a 12-step plan to help you study, teach and apply God’s Word in all areas of your life and for His glory among all peoples of the world. (Bill did most of the heavy lifting!) Our prayer is that God will use this inductive Bible study system to transform you increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ and help you live increasingly for the glory of Christ.


     1. READ the book or passage repeatedly and observe people, places, events, topics, key words, meanings, concepts, principles, messages, difficult subjects and questions, etc. (We also highly recommend reading the WHOLE Bible regularly, i.e. read through the Bible once a year. The YouVersion Bible app is a great tool to help you do this.)


     2. STRUCTURALLY – i.e., develop an outline of the passage (as brief or as detailed as you wish)
     3. CONTEXTUALLY (incl. chronologically) – context (background) of the book or passage: cultural, historical/chronological, socio-political and geographical, including details of each event (who, what, where, when, why)
     4. BIOGRAPHICALLY – details of the lives of the people encountered, personal characteristics, their work and ministry, their weaknesses and strengths, etc.
     5. TOPICALLY (incl. linguistically) – study some of the key themes, topics, principles and concepts, with definitions and explanations of key words
     6. BIBLICALLY – How does the book or passage, and its topics and principles, fit together with the rest of the teaching of Scripture? How does the Bible see and intrepret itself?
     7. THEOLOGICALLY – What does the book or passage say with respect to doctrine and theology? (Especially things like bibliology, theology proper, christology, pneumatology, soteriology, hamartiology, anthropology, ecclesiology, eschatology)
     8. DOXOLOGICALLY – God’s great plan and desire is to be known and worshipped in all areas of life (doxology). What does the book or passage teach about living and being “for the praise of His
     9. MISSIOLOGICALLY – God’s great plan and desire also is to be known and worshipped among all peoples of the world (missiology). What does the book or passage teach about the great and glorious God and His global mission?


     10. SUMMARIZE succinctly the meaning of the book or passage.


     11. MEMORIZE/MEDITATE on the key ideas and verses of the passage.

E. The final step?

     12. APPLY God’s Word with the goal of seeing Him glorified in all areas of your life and among all peoples of the world.

                                             (© 2005-2016, Dr. Bill Jones & Dr. João Mordomo)


I'm João, but you can call me John. Since meeting Christ at age 16, my driving passion has been to glorify Him! I’m a “Great Commission Entrepreneur.” I am passionate about starting and leading anything — mission agencies, churches, businesses — that helps fulfill the Great Commission. I also love to speak, teach, preach and write about God's glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world. You can contact me at; find out more at; link directly to this blog at; and follow me on:

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João Mordomo