A few years ago I stumbled upon this simple paradigm for a Bible study format. This pattern has been sort of imprinted upon my mind so that while reading scripture a constant evaluation is going on. This system may be used for book, chapter, or paragraph study. Just follow the instructions applying them to the particular format you are studying. Here are the parts of the paradigm:
Ask! Answer! Accumulate! Apply!
Ask: the questions: who? what? when? where? how? why? These are common investigative questions. Questions that any sleuth [someone who looks for information to solve crimes] might ask. Bible students are not trying to solve crimes, but the investigative process helps to get to the bottom of the mysterious and provide helpful answers. When perusing [to examine or read (something) in a very careful way] scripture it helps to know “who?” is speaking or spoken to; “who” is acting or being acted upon; “who?” is involved and “what?” their particular part is in the scenario? It also helps to know “what?” is going on in the pericope [a selection from a book — in scripture, i.e. passage involved. Usually a thought or subject that runs from a character (as ¶) used to indicate the beginning of a paragraph and as a reference mark] one is reading or studying. Of course everyone knows that time is important. “When?” is this happening, or “when?” did this event occur, or does the event precede or happen after certain other actions or events? “Where?” did the action occur? How and why are also very relevant. In any given passage of scripture one may not be able to answer all of the questions. What is important is to answer as many as the scripture reveals. Sometimes the answers to a particular question may be multiple. For instance, in Luke 15 Publicans, sinners, Pharisees, scribes, and Jesus are involved. Jesus is speaking to those who came near to hear him, but especially to the Scribes and Pharisees. Pharisees had already provided their input in verse 1, murmuring, “this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” Jesus defends His action of “receiving sinners and eating with them.”
Answer: Go through the process of answering all of the questions that you can and write or in some way record your answers.
Accumulate: Summarize by bringing all of the information together to discover what answering the questions provided.
Apply: In making application one needs to use the following acronym: SPECS.
S: Sin — Is there a sin to confess and repent of?
P: Promise — Is there a promise to claim?
(P) Principle — Is there a principle revealed that is true, constant, Godly, one to adhere to?
(P) Prophecy — Is there a prophecy fulfilled?
(P) Prophecy — Is there a prophecy yet to be fulfilled?
E: Example — Is there an example to follow?
C: Commandment — Is there a commandment to keep?
S: Summarize all of your investigation.
If there is a sin to confess and repent of, do it immediately. To tarry and be reluctant is in actuality rebellion. Did you discover a promise to claim? Then, by all means, by faith claim the promise with all confidence that God keeps His word and fulfills His promises. Is there a principle revealed? Godly principles are true, constant, eternal. They are to be adhered to. If you discover a principle in your study, please stand strong in that principle. At Bible Principles you will find over 1500 biblical principles for your perusal.
Is there a prophecy that has been fulfilled? Rejoice in the fact that God’s prophetic word is absolute. Is there a prophecy yet to be fulfilled? Rejoice in hope of the future that God has revealed. Did you discover a commandment to keep? Thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not commit adultery? Or others like “Believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ,” 1John 3:23? Or “let us love one another,” 1John 3:23 and 4:7. Is there an example to follow? Throughout scripture Godly men like Daniel, David, Joseph and many others provide excellent examples to follow. There are also examples of those such as Esau, Saul (Israel’s first king) and others whose example we are not to follow.
Don’t forget to summarize what you have learned and to make application to your own life!
Hopefully, this simple study will provide you with helpful tools in your Bible study and you will enjoy using them as much as I have.