What is Bible Study?

Start the video below to experience the powerful teaching of Dr. Howard G. Hendricks (1924-2013), one of the most celebrated professors in DTS’s history. We’ve pulled this footage from the DTS archives because the Bible study methods taught by Dr. Hendricks are timeless and relevant for anyone who wants to improve their study of God’s Word.

Lesson Points:

Three reasons to study the Bible:

  • Bible study is essential to spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2).
  • Bible study is essential to spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:11-14).
  • Bible study is essential to spiritual effectiveness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Three steps to personal Bible study:

  1. Observation – What do I see?
  2. Interpretation – What does it mean?
  3. Application – How does it work?

Worship Moment

Prof. Hendricks was right to point out that the goal of studying the Bible is not information—it is transformation! We want to become more like Christ when we apply what we have observed and interpreted in the biblical text.

Use this moment to pray that this course would help you study the Bible regularly with the goal of being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Discussion Questions:

Below are discussion questions to answer individually or with a small group.  

  1. What was your view on personal Bible study before hearing Prof. Hendricks’s lecture? Has your view changed?
  2. What kinds of problems could arise if one were to attempt the steps of personal Bible study out of order?
  3. Personal Bible study is important for many reasons. Which resonates with you the most? Why?
  4. It’s alright to have unanswered questions when approaching the Bible. What unanswered question(s) about the Bible do you have?
  5. Hendricks was a fountain of quotable sayings. Which from this lesson stood out to you? Why?


Further Reading:

  • How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor by Dr. Mark Yarbrough, Introduction (recommended)
  • How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor by Dr. Mark Yarbrough, Chapters 1-4 (optional)
  • Living by the Book by Dr. Howard Hendricks, Chapters 1-4 (optional)
How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor: Week One
Question #1: Studying the Bible is not essential to spiritual effectiveness.
Question #2: Personal Bible study is methodical.
Question #3: What are the steps of personal Bible study in the correct order?
Question #4: The goal of personal Bible study is information.
Question #5: You must consider how a biblical passage works for others before you consider how it works for you.
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