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Day 1: Reading the Text

 

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Learn to Study the Bible with Logos: Part 1

Day 1: Become Familiar with the Passage and Its Contents

Welcome

Welcome to this course on how to study the Bible. Hi, I'm Adam and one of my responsibilities at Faithlife is to help train you to study the Bible. Most Christians believe that they should be studying the Bible more. There are many reasons for not studying the Bible, but one major reason is not knowing where to start. That’s why this course exists. If you’ll devote just 10 days to this course, we’ll equip you with proven techniques for doing Bible study on your own. Thousands of people have already benefited from our 30-day challenge; in this abridged version of the course, we'll give you the very best insights, streamlined in 10 videos. The 30-Day Bible Study Challenge is still available, but if you’re looking for a shorter path to learn the basics of Bible study, this is the course for you.

Using Matthew 4 as the text we will study, this course will follow the well-known inductive Bible study method of “Observation, Interpretation, and Application.” I’ll outline ten steps in study that you can follow with any passage of the Bible.

Logos Bible Software is powerful Bible research program. While you don’t have to own Logos to learn the steps I will teach you, I will be using Logos in all of the steps. You’ll see the benefit Logos adds to your Bible study.

There are countless things Logos can do help you study the Bible, but you’ll be well on your way to using Logos if you can master just two skills: launch your study from the homepage and right-click to access more information. Most of the videos in the class are based on these two simple skills.

If you don’t own Logos, you can download a basic version of the software, along with 5 valuable resources for free with the Lexham Intro Collection. These free resources are on the cutting edge of biblical scholarship. And, because they were developed as digital resources first, they benefit from constantly being updated.

Method of this Course: Observation, Interpretation, Application

As I mentioned, we’ll follow the “Observation, Interpretation, Application” Bible study method. We start with observing the facts about the passage we’re studying by asking, “What does the text say?” Next we interpret the passage by asking, “What does the text mean?” Finally, we apply the text by asking, “What does the text mean for my life and the lives of others?”

Observation

In this first section of the course, we’ll spend a good deal of time observing the text. There is no substitute for spending time with the passage we’re studying and Logos provides us with tools to help us see what’s there. Essentially, we are looking at the details of the text and asking who, what, when, where, why, and how. We’re looking for things that we should study further. In our effort to explore the text deeply, we’ll identify important themes, compare English translations, look at the text, and explore the setting and characters.

How to Watch this Course

We recommend you watch one video a day so that you have time to fully learn the new skills. The videos are short, usually under 10 minutes, and most will include an assignment that will take up to 20 minutes to complete. This introduction video will be longer than most of the other videos. Feel free to only watch the videos, but if you can invest a little more time, doing the assignments will help you solidify your new skills.

If you need further help, additional training videos are located at Logos.com/Logos-Pro and you can always contact the Logos Pro team at LogosPro@Faithlife.com.

You may not own all of the functionality or resources demonstrated in a number of the videos. But, watching all of the videos will help you. Not only will you gain more insight into Matthew 4, you’ll learn key steps in Bible study.

Summary

The Bible is a powerful text. And Logos Bible Software is a powerful tool. If you invest in learning how to use it, it will transform how you study the Bible. You’ll be more efficient and will walk away from your study with deeper insight. If you want to communicate truth to others or simply grow in your knowledge of God’s Word, Logos Bible Software can help you in big ways. I’m glad to have you join us.

Step 1: Read the Passage in Its Context Several Times

Part of the observation stage is reading the context of the passage we are studying to find out where our passage fits within the overall book of the Bible. In fact, reading the passage several times in its context is a great idea for good Bible study and is the first step in the Bible study method of this course. Reading it as much as possible familiarizes us with what we are studying and helps us ask better investigative questions of the text.

We also need to read the passage slowly. This is one of the main skills in Bible study—it is simple, but not always easy. Slowing down is a major benefit of learning the original languages of the Bible. They make us slow down, but you don’t need to learn them to read the Bible slowly as you study.

So, as we read the passage we are studying, we must do so slowly. As we read, we’ll find it very helpful to make notes and mark up the text. We could do so easily with a notebook and a printout out of our passage, or even a paper copy of the Bible with wide margins. We could also acquire a good set of highlighters or colored pencils, but Logos makes reading and marking up the text easy and accessible. One of the issues with paper printouts of Bible passages is accessibility. Sure, we can keep the copies in a notebook on a shelf, but we may never refer to them again. With Logos, we can highlight the text of the Bible and we’ll have our work in front of us whenever we return to that passage in Logos, even when we aren’t near our bookshelves. If you are planning to use paper and colored pencils, you can skip to a later part of the video where I talk about what to look for.

Let’s open a few resources to get started. We’ll click on the library button and type the initials for our preferred Bible version. I’ll use the Lexham English Bible. Let’s also open the Lexham Bible Dictionary and the Faithlife Study Bible. Now, let’s link our English Bible to our study Bible by clicking on the panel menu for each and choosing link set A. Now our study Bible will scroll as we read our English Bible. We’ve essentially created a digital study Bible. Let’s save it is as a layout by clicking on “Layouts” in the upper right and naming it “Study Bible.” We can now come back to this Study Bible over and over again by clicking on the Layouts menu and choosing the layout we just created.

Notes

As we read through the text, we’ll want to keep track of our observations. Keep in mind that we are asking who, what, when, where, why, and how. When we find an answer to one of those questions, we’ll want to highlight the text or make a note. To make a note, we will go to the documents menu and select notes, then give our note file a name. We’ll call our notes “Matthew 4 Notes.” Now, let’s highlight the portion of text we want to comment on, right-click, select reference, and choose “Add a note.” Then we’ll enter our comments.

Highlighting

To create a highlight, we’ll go to the Tools menu and choose “Highlighting.” We can choose any of the default options listed. Each option gives us different styles we can use to markup the text. Each set of styles is gathered into a palette. Let’s look at the default palettes to see how we can highlight the text. In “Emphasis Markup” we see that we can underline text, place it in all caps, and add boxes around it. The “Highlighter Pens” show us that we can highlight with very natural looking highlighting styles. The “Inductive” palette uses the highlighting scheme from Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible study method. Notice how she highlights important, recurring words in the biblical text.

When we create a highlight in any one of the default palettes, Logos adds that highlight to a Note file that corresponds with that highlighting style’s name. This isn’t a huge problem, but if we highlight everything with the same palette, that Note file will become quite large. Instead, let’s create a new palette and give it the name “Matthew 4 Highlights.” When we hover over our new pallet, a small drop-down arrow appears on the right. After we click it, we’ll hover over the “Save in” option and choose “Matthew 4 Notes.” This will ensure that every portion of text we highlight will appear in our Matthew 4 Note file. Now, let’s add a few styles by clicking on the drop-down arrow again and choosing “Add a new style.” We’ll give the new style a name and edit how we want the highlight to appear in our text. We can choose the font, add a background (like a true highlight), choose texts effects, and many other options. For now, let’s use the red natural highlighter. Let’s save the style. Now when we hover over our new style, Logos presents us with a new drop-down arrow. When we click on it, we can choose a shortcut key if we would like. This is really helpful if we are using the same highlighting style over and over again. For now, we won’t choose a shortcut key. Now when we want to highlight something when we are reading the Bible, like Satan’s name, we’ll select the portion of text we want to call attention to and select the highlighting style we created. Now the text is highlighted and a note has been added to our Matthew 4 Note file.

What to Look for

Let’s create highlighting styles for each of our investigative questions. Click on the dropdown arrow of the palette and choose “Add a New Style.” Give it the name “Who.” Expand “Insert Text” and in the Label text box under Text before type “Who.” Check the box beside “Capsule” and click Save at the top. Now do the same for each of our remaining investigative questions, “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Now reload through Matthew 4:1-11 and begin adding these labels to the text.

Along with the answers to the investigative questions, what else should we be looking for? Scott Duvall and Daniel Hays provide a really helpful list in Grasping God’s Word. They recommend that we look for repeated words, contrasts, comparisons, lists, figures of speech, cause and effect statements, questions and answers, purpose statements, dialogue, conditional clauses, actions of God, actions of people, emotional terms, and shifts in the narrative. We should also pay special attention to the type of verbs, conjunctions, and pronouns the text uses. If you want more information on any of these elements in the text, I really recommend Duvall and Hays’ work.

As we read through, we can create a new highlight style in our palette for each thing we notice. For instance, we’ll notice that the phrase “it is written” is repeated multiple times in Matthew 4. We can create a special highlighting style for this repeated phrase.

Once we have finished looking through the text and marking it up, our Bible may look a little cluttered. That’s a good thing! But, there will be times when we simply want to read the biblical text—perhaps for our daily Bible reading or when we are reading the Bible with others. To turn off the highlights we just made, let’s go to the Visual Filter menu. Remember, our highlights are also in our Notes file, so we can toggle all of our notes off and on or just the Note file we made for Matthew 4. Now what we see is just the biblical text. We can just as easily turn our highlights back on.

Assignments

Now it's your turn:

  • Read through Matthew 4:1–11 slowly at least three times and answer the investigative questions
  • Create new highlighting styles for the important elements of the text, like repeated words or phrases, and markup the text
  • Add at least 3 general observations about the passage to your Matthew 4 Notes file

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to practice these foundational steps of study. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to identify the important themes in our passage.