A close-up photograph of a worn Bible, with highlighted verses and handwritten notes, capturing the essence of curiosity and exploration in studying the Word of God.

Questions To Ask When Studying The Bible

The Bible is the Word of God and contains truth and wisdom for life. Studying the Bible deeply allows you to grow closer to God and live according to His will. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Have an open mind, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, meditate on key verses, and apply God’s Word to your life.

In this comprehensive 3,000 word guide, we will explore the kinds of questions to ask when studying the Bible to get the most out of your time in God’s Word. We will provide an in-depth look at questions that address the meaning, purpose, and application of Scripture.

Interpretive Questions to Understand Meaning

What is the context of this passage?

Understanding the context surrounding a Bible passage is crucial to properly interpret its meaning. Consider the historical and cultural settings, the occasion and purpose for writing, the author’s style and themes, etc.

For example, recognizing that Paul wrote letters to specific churches rather than a general theology textbook affects how we apply his writings today. Consulting study Bibles, commentaries, or online resources can shed light on context.

What genre is this passage (narrative, poetry, epistle, etc.)?

Paying attention to the genre of a passage prevents misreading. For instance, we should not treat apocalyptic imagery in Revelation as literal events in the way we might interpret the history in Acts. Likewise, we recognize that the poetry of Psalms uses vivid metaphorical language more so than the logical arguments laid out in Romans.

Identifying genres leads to interpreting according to literary style—historical narrative literally, allegorical visions symbolically, poetic lyrics emotionally, etc.

What is the author trying to communicate?

Considering the author’s purpose and original intended meaning must guide our own understanding. For example, Jesus’ parables teach moral lessons, so we interpret them differently than the disciples merely reporting events in the Gospels.

Asking questions like “Why did the author choose to include or highlight this?” and “What was this meant to convey to the original hearers?” prevents distorting texts to fit our own agendas or fanciful imaginations. Scripture itself commends rightly handling God’s word.

What do key words and phrases mean in the original language?

Since the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, gaining insight into original word meanings clarifies passage interpretations. For instance, the Greek words for “word,” “work/action,” and “power/authority” lead to a deeper understanding of the multiple dimensions encapsulated in the phrase “word of God.”

Resources like Blue Letter Bible make original language study accessible to aid us in correctly handling Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15).

How does this passage point to Jesus Christ?

While the Old Testament does not explicitly name Jesus on every page, Christians recognize how the sweeping epic of redemption ultimately climaxes with Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Tracing typological connections (figures who foreshadow Christ) and repeated prophetic themes (like rulers from Judah, Passover sacrifice, suffering servant, son of Man, new covenant) put individual passages into this unified, salvific context centered on our Lord and Savior.

Jesus himself affirmed that all of Scripture bears witness to him (Luke 24:27).

Heart Questions to Discern Purpose

What is God trying to reveal to me right now through this passage?

When studying the Bible, it’s important to ask what God is trying to show you in the moment through a particular passage. Some things to consider:

  • Is there a truth or principle that stands out to me?
  • Is there a command I need to obey or a sin I need to avoid?
  • Is there a promise to claim or encouragement to embrace?
  • Is there an example to follow or avoid?

Asking these application questions helps move beyond just academic study to let God’s Word transform your heart and mind. Be open to the Holy Spirit illuminating your understanding of the passage. God may be trying to reveal something new and timely for your life.

How does this passage expose areas of my life that need to change?

Scripture shines a spotlight on our lives. As we study, allow God’s Word to examine your heart and challenge areas that need realignment. Some revealing questions to ask:

  • Does this passage uncover any sins to confess, attitudes to change, or actions to take?
  • Where am I not living according to God’s standards in this area?
  • What values and priorities need to shift to align with biblical truth?
  • What practical steps do I need to take to apply this passage?

Humbly submitting to Scripture’s authority positions our hearts for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and transformation. The goal is not merely obtaining information but having our lives conformed to Christ’s image.

What characteristics of God do I see in this passage that I should emulate?

All of Scripture reveals God’s character. As we read and meditate on the Bible, we should ask how the passage reflects God’s attributes and how we can mirror them. For example:

  • God’s love, mercy and patience call me to exhibit those qualities.
  • God’s holiness and righteousness prompt me to pursue purity.
  • God’s faithfulness and generosity inspire me to nurture those virtues.
  • God’s justice and wrath caution me against sinning.

Imitating our Father helps us grow in godliness. The more we know His heart, the more our lives display His glory. His attributes transform our character when we yield to Him.

How does this passage expand my understanding of who God is?

Every passage provides an opportunity to know God more intimately. Asking this question guards against reading the Bible simply for information or duty. We should actively look for insights that deepen our relationship with Him. Ask yourself:

  • What does this reveal about God’s person, works, desires, or interaction with mankind?
  • How is my perspective of God enlarged or clarified?
  • How does this display God’s wisdom, sovereignty, love, justice, power, mercy, or other attribute?

The Scriptures testify about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:39). Yielding our hearts to the Bible’s revelations will fill them with wonder at who God is.

What promises of God do I find in this passage that I can hold onto?

God’s Word contains thousands of precious promises. Asking this question helps us identify them and make them personal. Some suggestions when considering a passage:

  • Restate each promise in the first-person. For example, change “The Lord will watch over you” to “The Lord will watch over me.”
  • Write down the promise to meditate on and memorize.
  • Picture yourself living in the confidence and security of God’s pledged blessing.

Standing on the sure promises of God provides stability when storms come. They are anchoring truths for your soul to cling to. Don’t merely analyze them—personalize them!

Application Questions for Life Change

How does this passage challenge or affirm my beliefs?

Examining Scripture with an open and discerning mind allows us to grow spiritually. When we encounter passages that confront our personal beliefs and ideologies, it presents an opportunity to reshape our perspective. Evaluating the biblical foundation of our convictions builds spiritual maturity.

Additionally, verses that validate our existing values affirm our growth and direction. This question prompts self-reflection to nurture development.

What specific actions do I need to take to obey what I see in this passage?

Transformation occurs when Scripture impacts behavior. Simply agreeing is inadequate; tangible obedience displays genuine conversion. Once a passage’s lesson is clear, document practical application steps.

For example, verses promoting selfless service may lead someone to volunteer at a homeless shelter twice monthly. Quantifying specific ways to apply biblical principles produces the spiritual fruits of obedience and spiritual formation.

How can I live out this passage in my family, church, and community?

Scriptural truths permeate all aspects of life. After personal application, identify ways to exhibit the passage in other spheres of influence. For family, biblical financial principles may inspire opening kid’s savings accounts.

Regarding church, verses on unity might encourage organizing a small group. For communities, Scripture’s focus on justice could motivate advocating for those in need. Letting the Bible shape familial, ecclesial, and social domains accelerates widespread kingdom impact.

What practical lessons for life does this passage teach me?

Beyond theological instruction, Scripture contains relatable life lessons. For example, Ecclesiastes 5 discusses balancing work ethic and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Modern readers can apply principles regarding overcommitment and present focus.

Extracting practical advice makes the Bible pertinent for daily living. Documenting personal applications cultivates spiritual growth and models the Bible’s contemporary relevance.

How will I be different because of the time I’ve spent in this passage?

As James 1:22 (NIV) states, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. “ Simply reading Scripture produces no benefit; allowing its truth to infuse the mind and transform behavior fulfills its purpose.

Reflection questions prompt changed perspectives and Spirit-empowered responses. Genuine encounters with God’s word alter human hearts to increasingly mirror Christ himself. Tracking personal changes provides encouragement by evidencing the Spirit’s activity through Scripture.


Studying the Bible with thoughtful questions opens your eyes to see truth and drives change from the inside out. Ask God to guide your study and have a teachable heart. His Word is active and living – let it penetrate your mind and shape your life.

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