How to Study the Bible 08
1. Lesson 8 is the second of a 2-part study of "How to Study the New Testament."
2. The first 5 books of the New Testament are primarily historical, including:
a. the Gospels (Matthew - John)
3. The remaining 22 books of the New Testament are "epistles" [letters] written to:
a. individual Christians -- 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John
b. congregations -- Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians,
1&2 Thessalonians, Revelation
c. general groups of Christians -- Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1 John, Jude.
4. The epistles deserve our careful attention because:
a. they reveal many of the great doctrines of the Bible
b. they contain a tremendous amount of practical information about subjects such as:
1) the responsibilities of Christians
2) the worship, work, and organization of the church.
5. A three-step approach is very helpful when studying the epistles.
I. STEP 1: PRELIMINARY SURVEY
A. When studying an epistle, it is helpful to identify:
1. the writer
2. the person(s) addressed
3. the general subject matter.
B. The writer and the person(s) being addressed are usually identified in the opening verses.
C. The general subject matter of an epistle can be learned from a good reference source such as a Bible
II. STEP 2: PREPARATION OF AN OUTLINE
A. The outline of an epistle shows how its material is organized: introduction, main body, and conclusion.
B. A brief outline of Philemon is as follows:
1. Introduction (vs.1-3)
2. Main body (vs.4-21)
a. Paul's expression of thanksgiving (vs.4-7)
b. Paul's appeal for Onesimus (vs.8-21)
3. Conclusion (vs.22-25)
C. An outline also identifies the main subjects being covered.
D. Many study Bibles contain outlines for each book (ex. Royal Bible).
III. STEP 3: DETAILED STUDY
A. After outlining an epistle to identify the main subjects covered, each subject must be carefully studied.
1. To illustrate, an outline of 1 Corinthians shows that ch.15 covers "the resurrection."
2. To learn the details, the verses in this chapter must be examined, including paragraphs,
sentences, and words.
3. A reliable commentary will be very helpful at this point.