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Bible Study Methods—#5 Biographical Method

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Based upon Rick Warren’s excellent book, Bible Study Methods, this presentation offers a simple way of deepening your Bible study by investigating a person from within Scripture.

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Bible Study Methods—#5 Biographical Method

  1. 1. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D METHOD #5 - THE BIOGRAPHICAL METHOD OF BIBLE STUDY
  2. 2. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. The Bible is full stories of men and women and their relationships with God. Studying their lives is meaningful and encouraging.
  4. 4. We can learn from their positive attributes. We can also learn by looking at their failures and negative attributes.
  5. 5. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D DEFINITION
  6. 6. This method selects a person and then asks you to examine their life and character. You see what made them fail or succeed.
  7. 7. Conducted prayerfully it helps you to think and feel like they did and to learn through a life changing experience of study.
  8. 8. Ask God to help apply the lessons learned into your own life. The result is a growth in maturity of your Christian life.
  9. 9. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D THE IMPORTANCE
  10. 10. People are important to God— that’s why the Bible is full of them, and why he’s so interested in your life. Here you learn what God does in and through people.
  11. 11. Much of what God wants to teach us comes in the form of stories (narrative) e.g. Genesis is about 6 people: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Rom 15:4 tells us,
  12. 12. Much of what God wants to teach us comes in the form of stories (narrative) e.g. Genesis is about 6 people: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Rom 15:4 tells us, For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  13. 13. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  14. 14. And 1 Cor 10:11, These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
  15. 15. One of the best ways to study the Bible is simply by looking into the lives of the people it tells us about. In fact over 3,000 people are mentioned in the Bible and this method gives you a tool to investigate and learn from each one of them!
  16. 16. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D TOOLS
  17. 17. Bible Exhaustive concordance Topical Bible Bible dictionary or encyclopaedia
  18. 18. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D TIPS FOR A GOOD STUDY
  19. 19. 1. Start Small Look for a person with just a few Bible references. Many major characters will take weeks or months to study!
  20. 20. Look for people who are minor but important e.g. Mary of Bethany, Barnabas, Andrew, Apollos.
  21. 21. 2. Live the life of the person Walk with them, get into their mind, how do they think feel, or respond to situations around them? What is their point of view? This insight only comes through reading, thinking, praying and deep investigation.
  22. 22. 3. Don’t confuse people with the same name e.g. John the apostle, John the Baptist and John Mark. In the Bible you’ll find;
  23. 23. Nathan - 20 different men Judas - 8 different men Mary - 7 different women Look carefully at the context, it will usually tell you which person is being referred to.
  24. 24. 4. Some people go by more than one name Peter is also known as Cephas, Simeon, and Simon. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, are better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
  25. 25. 5. Don’t read books About the character you are looking at…at least until after you have finished your first major study. Bible commentaries, dictionaries etc. will help, but the greater joy will be yours if you find something for yourself first. Remember that the person will often be referred to by means other than his/her proper name in many passages.
  26. 26. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D STEPS TO DO A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY
  27. 27. Step 1 - Choose a person from the Bible whom you want to study. Make sure that you think you will learn from them. Stephen being stoned
  28. 28. Step 2 - Use your tools to find out all you can about their life. List all references concerning that person, you may also wish to look for less obvious references to the person e.g. the sons of Zebedee.
  29. 29. You will also need to do some historical investigation to get insights into the style of life in that day. e.g. What was life like in the Persian Empire at the time of Esther, what did Roman occupied Palestine look like?
  30. 30. Step 3 - Write down your first impressions of the person. Did anything surprise you, are there difficulties or areas you need to investigate further? make sure you write down your questions.
  31. 31. Step 4 - reread your material and make a chronological outline of the person's life.
  32. 32. For people with less information it is good to do this in one sitting, this helps you to get a broad view of their life and reasons for events happening. What progressions happen, are they geographical, physical, spiritual, emotional?
  33. 33. Step 5 - Read the material again. This time use the questions offered at the end of this section to help deepen your insights.
  34. 34. Step 6 - Read the material again (4th time) and try to identify some character qualities, both positive and negative.
  35. 35. Step 7 - Look to see if other Bible truths are shown in this person's life. e.g. sowing and reaping, delighting in God, generosity etc.
  36. 36. Step 8 - Summarise the main lessons What are the main lesson(s) you have learned from this person, what most impressed you about them? Summarise it / them.
  37. 37. Step 9 - Write out a personal application using the method taught using the Devotional Study Method. Warren offers additional questions intended to help your growth:
  38. 38. Did I see anything of myself in this person’s life? Did he show some of my weaknesses? Did he reveal to me some of my strengths? What impressed me most about this person’s life? Where do I fall short in this area? What do I intend to do about it?
  39. 39. Step 10 - Work to make your study transferable - to make it so you can share it in a meaningful way with others. You might write a Bible study or a sermon outline. Warren offers this example (using alliteration) from the life of Barnabas:
  40. 40. He was an investor of money in the lives of church members (Acts 4:36 – 37). He was the introducer of Saul (later Paul) to the apostles (Acts 9:26 – 28). He was the inspector of the new church at Antioch (Acts 11:22 – 24).
  41. 41. He was an instructor of new Christians, including Paul and Mark (Acts 11:22 – 26; 15:39). He was the initiator on the first missionary journey, which he began as the team leader but ended as a team member (Acts 13 – 14).
  42. 42. He was an interpreter of the doctrine of salvation and God’s plan for the Gentiles (Acts 13 – 14). He was insistent in giving Mark another chance to be trained in the gospel ministry (Acts 15:36 – 39).
  43. 43. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D CONCLUSION
  44. 44. Although this method requires you to read all your material four times the simple fact is that the more times you read the more you are likely to discover!
  45. 45. LOREM I P S U M FILLING OUT THE FORM Examples of a blank form, and of a completed form.
  46. 46. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D GENERAL QUESTIONS FOR A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY
  47. 47. Here is a list of seventy questions you can use in constructing a biographical study. You shouldn’t try to use every question listed here in a single study.
  48. 48. Here is a list of seventy questions you can use in constructing a biographical study. You shouldn’t try to use every question listed here in a single study. Depending on the depth of your study and the time you have, select the questions you would like to have answered. The questions are categorised into seven major divisions for easier use. As you think of other questions, add them to this list.
  49. 49. Depending on the depth of your study and the time you have, select the questions you would like to have answered. The questions are categorised into seven major divisions for easier use. As you think of other questions, add them to this list.
  50. 50. Reputation Who wrote what we know about this person? What did people say about him/her? What did his enemies say about him/her?
  51. 51. What did his/her family (wife/husband, children, brothers, sisters, parents) say about him/her? What did God say about him/her? Why do you think God allowed this person to be mentioned in the Bible?
  52. 52. Tests of Character What were his/her aims and motives? What was he/she like in his home? How did he/she respond to failure? Did he/she get discouraged easily? How did he/she respond to adversity? Did he/she handle criticism well?
  53. 53. How did he/she respond to success? Did he/she get proud when praised? How did he/she respond to the trivial and mundane things in life? Was he/she faithful in the little things? How quickly did he/she praise God for the good/bad things that happened to him/her? How quickly did he/she obey God when told to do something?
  54. 54. Background What can you discover about his/her family and ancestry What does his/her name mean? Why was he/she given that name? Was it ever changed? What was his/her home life like? How was he/she raised?
  55. 55. Where was he/she raised? What were the characteristics of his/her parents? Did they influence him/her? Was there anything special about his/her birth?
  56. 56. Where did he/she live? What was his/her everyday life like? Was he/she exposed to other cultures? Did they affect him/her in any way? What was the condition of his/her country -- politically and spiritually -- during his/ her lifetime?
  57. 57. What kind of training did he/she have? Did he/she have any schooling? What was his/her occupation? How long did he/she live? Where did he/ she die? How did he/she die?
  58. 58. Significant Events Was there any great crisis in his/her life? How did he/she handle it? What are the great accomplishments for which he/she is remembered? Did he/she experience a divine ‘call?’ How did he/she respond to it? What crucial decisions did he/she have to make? How did they affect him/her? Others? Did any recurring problem keep coming up in his/her life? Where did he/she succeed? Where did he/she fail? Why? How did the environment and circumstances affect him/her? What part did he/she play in the history of God’s plan? Did he/she believe in the sovereignty of God (God’s control over all events)?
  59. 59. Did any recurring problem keep coming up in his/her life? Where did he/she succeed? Where did he/she fail? Why? How did the environment and circumstances affect him/her? What part did he/she play in the history of God’s plan? Did he/she believe in the sovereignty of God (God’s control over all events)?
  60. 60. Relationships How did he/she get along with other people? Was he/she a loner? Was he/she a team person? How did he/she treat other people? Did he/she use them of serve them?
  61. 61. What was his/her wife/husband like? How did she/he influence him/her/her? What were his/her children like? How did they influence him/her? Who were his/her close companions? What were they like? How did they influence him/her?
  62. 62. Who were his/her enemies? What were they like? How did they influence him/ her? What influence did he/she have on others? On his nation? On other nations?
  63. 63. Did he/she take care of his family? How did his/her children turn out? Did his/her friends and family help or hinder him/her in serving the Lord? Did he/she train anyone to take his place? Did he/she leave a "Timothy" (disciple) behind?
  64. 64. Personality What type of person was he/she? What made him/her the way he/she was? Was his/her temperament choleric, melancholic, sanguine, or phlegmatic? What were the outstanding strengths in his/ her character? What traits did he/she have? What were his/her particular faults and weaknesses?
  65. 65. What were his/her particular sins? What steps led to those sins? In what area was his/her greatest battle: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, or pride of life, ...etc.? What were the results of his/her sins and weaknesses?
  66. 66. Did he/she ever get the victory over his particular sins and weaknesses? Did he/she ever get the victory over his particular sins and weaknesses? What qualities made him/her a success or failure?
  67. 67. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D MAJOR MEN OF THE BIBLE
  68. 68. 1. Abraham 2. Daniel 3. David 4. Elijah 5. Elisha 6. Ezekiel 7. Ezra 8. Isaiah 9. Isaac 10. Jacob 11. Jeremiah 12. Jesus 13. John – apostle 14. Joseph – OT 15. Joshua 16. Moses 17. Nehemiah 18. Paul 19. Peter 20. Pharaoh 21. Samson 22. Samuel 23. Saul – OT 24. Solomon
  69. 69. BIOGRAPHICAL M E T H O D PROMINENT WOMEN OF THE BIBLE
  70. 70. 1. Abigail 2. Abishag 3. Anna 4. Bathsheba 5. Deborah 6. Delilah 7. Dinah 8. Dorcas 9. Elizabeth 10. Esther 11. Eunice 12. Eve 13. Hagar 14. Hannah 15. Jezebel 16. Jochebed 17. Leah 18. Lydia 19. Martha 20. Mary – Jesus’ mother
  71. 71. 21. Mary Magdalene 22. Mary of Bethany 23. Michal 24. Miriam 25. Naaman’s maid 26. Naomi 27. Priscilla 28. Queen of Sheba 29. Rachel 30. Rahab 31. Rebecca 32. Ruth 33. Sapphira 34. Sarah 35. The Shunammite 36. Vashti 37. Zipporah

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