Deane, Andy. Learn to Study the Bible. Xulon Press, 2009. 248 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Amazon for $12.47.
Andy currently serves as an associate pastor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in central New Jersey where he ministers to Junior High students. He was working in the shadows of the World Trade Center when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 took place. By the grace of God, he survived that day. It was because of the events of that day that Andy’s relationship with the Lord deepened.
This book was born out of a need in ministry to teach his young students how to study the Bible. Thinking that it would be “a fairly simple task,” he set out to teach them how to study the Bible. He quickly learned that this was no simple task. While looking for the one best way to study the Bible, Andy quickly discovered that there were many ways to study the Bible and all of them had their good qualities. When all was said and done, he found that he had a list of forty different methods to study the Bible. After tweaking some of the methods a bit, Andy felt the urging of the Spirit to share his findings. This is the journey that has resulted in Learn to Study the Bible (LSB).
You can read more about Andy’s ministry at his website Learn to Study the Bible.
LSB is divided into seven major sections. You can see the table of contents here.The first section is aptly titled the Foundations of Bible Study. In this section, Andy lays out a foundation of five “core components of every Bible study.” After pouring this solid foundation, he then begins to build upon it beginning with basic Bible study methods.
These simple methods include daily reading, restating what was just read, asking a ton of questions of the passage and the five P’s method. I would like to look more closely at the Five P’s method. The five P’s include:
- Principle of Conduct–the verse you want to study
- Put Another Way–restate the verse
- Personal Struggle–how does this verse speak to your struggle today
- Profit or Loss Anticipated–what will you gain or what will you have to give up based upon this verse
- Plan of Action–how are you going do what you have learned
The third section details the “Major Bible Study Methods.” These include what Andy calls “Time-tested approaches” and will be very familiar to those who study the Bible regularly. Some of these methods include Book Overview, Bible Characters, Biblical Topics, and Word Studies.
The fourth section is the Creative section. Here the student of the Bible digs a bit deeper. Some of these methods include translation comparison (always fun to do), Messy Bible, Vantage Point and Skeptics Method. The Messy Bible method intrigued me. It involved your typing a book into a word document keeping wide margins for future writing and notes. You then read the entire book in one sitting. The second reading is when the mess begins. You need a yellow highlighter, a blue pen, a green pen, a red pen, an orange pen, and a purple pen to make marks all over the page (this was fun for me as I am a fountain pen man myself and have a bunch of different ink colors). Then you begin to make markings all over your page for questions, challenges, applications, etc. Next, you divide your “book” into flows of thought and re-read the book with all your markings making new notes and commentary in the margins. Finally, you move to commentaries and reference books. After all of this, you meditate and then seek to apply what you have learned to your life.
Going deeper still, Andy has a section showing how to study specific passages. Here, he looks at studying wisdom literature, poetry, and then details the study of prayers, miracles, and parables found in the Bible. After setting forth all of these methods, he offers up five more methods that he found to be effective with his students. Finally, he wraps up the book by offering tips on building a reference library.
Andy Deane has done a great service for youth ministers, sunday school teachers, and Christians in general. Learn to Study the Bible is a great resource book for anyone wanting to dig deeper into the Word of God. Studying the Bible can become mundane sometimes because of our flesh. With LSB, you will have forty different methods at your disposal to study the Bible. Changing it up from method to method will prove to be of great benefit for the believer. I found that studying the same passage in an ascending order of simple to more detailed proved to be a sweet balm to my soul and mind.
While not everyone will agree with each method and I am sure some will find deficiencies with them, each method will serve to help you become more like Christ and how to apply Scripture to your life in new and easy ways. We are the benefactors to Andy’s study and are indebted to him for sharing this information with us.