This Sunday, July 17, 2016 we will begin a new series at Bay Area called the “HOW” series. Our first message is “How to Study the Bible.” I will demonstrate a simple, tried and true method, for Bible study that you can do. Since I won’t have time to talk about everything, I am leaving some tools here for you to refer to as you dig deeper.There are so many resources available but these will get you started. I pray these tools will help you in your quest to know and hear from God by studying the Bible.HOW FB Cover

Helpful tools for Bible Study:

Living By The Book – Howard Hendricks

Logos Bible Study Software

Glo Bible Premium (Check the App store)

Helpful Hints When Making Observation

Define vocabulary you do not understand in the Text

Discover the meaning of names in the Text

Explore the geography of the Text

Look at the numbers mentioned in the Text

What illustrations or allusions are used in the Text

Identify metaphors and their meaning in the Text

Look for threads that tie to other biblical passages

In the message we were only able to explore one form of genre but there are many. See below.

Literary Genres of the Bible

Hendricks, Howard G. and William D. Hendricks. Living by the Book.

Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 1991. Print.



Apocalyptic Dramatic, highly symbolic material; vivid imagery; stark contrasts; events take place on a global scale; frequently narrated in the first-person as an eyewitness account; portrays a cosmic struggle between good and evil.


Biography Close-up view of an individual’s life; subject is often portrayed in contrast to someone else; selected events reveal character development, either positively (comedy) or negatively (tragedy).


Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Saul, David, Elijah, Jesus
Encomium Sings high praise of someone or something; rehearses in glowing terms the subject’s origins, acts, attributes, or superiority; exhorts the reader to incorporate the same features into his own life.


1 Sam. 2:1-10; Psalm 19; Psalm 119; Prov. 31:10-31; Song of Solomon; John 1:1-18; 1 Corinthians 13; Col. 1:15-20; Hebrew 1-3


Exposition Carefully reasoned argument or explanation; well-organized; logical flow; terms are crucial; builds to a logical, compelling climax, the aim is agreement and action.


Paul’s letter; Hebrews; James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John; Jude
Narrative A broad category in which story is prominent; includes historical accounts; structure is conveyed through plot; characters undergo psychological and spiritual development; selected events used to convey meaning; events juxtaposed for contrast and comparison.


Genesis-Ezra; The gospels; Acts
Oratory Stylized oral presentation of an argument; uses formal conventions of rhetoric and oratory; frequently quotes from authorities well known to listeners; usually intended to exhort and persuade.


John 13-17; Acts 7; Acts 17:22-31; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 24:10-21; Acts 26:1-23
Parable Brief oral story illustrating moral; truth frequently relies on stock characters and stereotypes; presents scenes and activities common to everyday life; encourages reflection and self-evaluation.


2 Sam. 12:1-6; Eccles. 9:14-16; Matt. 13:1-53; Mark 4:1-24; Luke 15:1-16:31
Pastoral Literature dealing with rural, rustic themes, especially shepherds; heavy on description, lean on action; often meditative and quiet; emphasis on the bond between a shepherd and his sheep; idealized presentation of life away from urban evils.


Psalm 23; Isa. 40:11; John 10:1-18
Poetry Verse intended to be spoken or sung rather than read; emphasis on cadence and the sounds of words; vivid images and symbols; appeals to the emotions; may employ features of encomium, pastoral, and other literary styles; in O.T., heavy use of parallelism.


Job; Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Solomon
Prophecy Strident, authoritative presentation of God’s will and words; frequently intended as a corrective; intended to motivate change through warnings; foretells God’s plans in response to human choices.


Proverb Short, pithy statement of a moral truth; reduces life to black-and-white categories; often addressed to youth; frequently employs parallelism; points readers toward the right and away from evil; heavy use of metaphors and similes.


Satire Exposes and ridicules human vice and foolishness; is employed by various literary styles, especially narrative, biography, and proverb; warns readers through a negative example.


Prov. 24:30-34; Ezekiel 34; Luke 18:1-8; 2 Cor. 11:1-12:1
Tragedy Relates the downfall of a person; uses selected events to show the path toward ruin; problems usually revolve around a critical flaw in the person’s character and moral choices; warns readers through a negative example.


Lot; Samson; Saul; Acts 5:1-11
Wisdom Literature A broad category in which an older, seasoned person relates wisdom to a younger; may use parable; gives observations on fundamental areas of life—birth, death, work, money, power, time, the earth, and so on; appeals on the basis of human experience.


Job; Proverbs; Psalm 37; Psalm 90; Ecclesiastes

For additional help with the literary types of the Bible, see Leland Ryken’s excellent book

The Literature of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974).


2 thoughts on “How to Study the Bible… Resources

  1. Wow, what an amazing resource this app is. I know it took a lot of work to put this together with all the references and resources, but it is going to be a great help to us, your flock. Thanks for taking us to the next level in understanding GOD’s word.


  2. Pastor Bryan – thank you for your leadership as this world we now know seems to be crumbling away. Learning how to study the bible will take us to new levels of understanding and increase our abilities to share the gospel as we have been directed to. May the Lord bless and keep you.


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