Author: Ron Graham
There are seven exercises which, taken together, will empower you to do your own independent Biblical research and interpretation, and get it right because you are letting the Bible be its own commentary and interpreter.
Simply reading the scriptures, and prayerfully thinking about what they are saying, is of course a basic activity. You will find it helps to use more than one translation.
As you read, select what seem to be key words and phrases. It is surprising how this simple activity opens your mind to the main ideas in the passage. This activity also lays a foundation for the following exercises.
Try to summarise the passage point by point, using headings and subheadings to show the structure and progression of thought. Or try to express the gist of the passage with some form of labelled diagram such as overlapping circles, boxes and arrows, a branching tree, or a mind map.
Attempt to express the passage in your own words, condensing and amplifying where appropriate. If you cannot express the passage in your own words, you probably don't understand it very well.
Use the passage to generate a list of thought-provoking questions -as many valuable questions as possible. These questions should not only be those that the passage answers, but those which it also raises. It does not matter if you cannot answer a question — what matters is that the question makes you think about important issues.
Decide the categories of scripture that the passage best fits, to help you place it in a proper context. What is its time or dispensation, its literary type, its original purpose, its prophetic horizon, and so forth.
Find other related passages that shed light on the one you are studying.