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Discovery Bible Study Method

The Discovery Study method is a basic way to study the Bible by answering three questions:

  • What does it say?
  • What did I learn?
  • What will I do?

To answer those questions you will:

  • Read (repeatedly, observing and investigating what you read to find out what it says)
  • Relate (through interpretation of what you read so you can learn from and personally identify with the passage)
  • Respond (by identifying what God wants you to do, or stop doing, and then make changes in your life to accomplish His will)

Below is an outline of the Discovery Bible Study method. Use this outline as a guide when you study the Bible. ALSO: Find the Example, Encouragement, Instruction and Profit in the passage (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Always write down your thoughts and observations in a notebook to keep track of the things you learn and do.  Most important, always pray when you begin, proceed through and end your time of study.  


What does it say? (Read repeatedly, incessantly)

Observation (what do you see?)

WOW!  What caught my attention, surprised me or impressed me?

WOE!  What do I need to start doing, stop doing or improve in light of God’s Word?

HUH?  What do I not understand, have a question about or need to study further?

Investigation (ask questions, dig deeper)



Who? (Questions of Identity)

What? (Questions of Definition)

When? (Questions of Time)

Where? (Questions of Location)

Why? (Questions of Reason)

How? (Questions of Manner or Measure)

So What? (Questions of Implication)

Context (passage before and after study passage)

Cross references (to related passages)

Word definitions (key and unknown words)

History (of person, place or situation)

Geography (of situation or location mentioned)

Culture, Customs

Cause/Effect (what lead to a decision or action)

Grammar, syntax and discourse analysis


What did I learn? (Relate to the passage by understanding what it says)


Synthesize (Combine your study notes into one body of thought.  Evaluate and organize your findings.)



Scrutinize (Compare your conclusions to reliable commentaries and update your notes as needed.)

Summarize (Condense your findings and write out your own commentary.)




What will I do? (Respond to the passage by obeying what it teaches)



Partner (Share with someone who will guide and encourage; meet regularly for accountability.)

Review your study notes (Make sure you understand the passage/topic.)

List your woes (Write down and explain the things God impressed on your heart.)

List goals (Write down a description of the person God wants you to be.)

Make a plan (Write down what you need to do to be the person God wants you to be.)

List resources (Write a list of things that will help, encourage and guide you in your plan.)

Work your plan (Make changes in your life that will help you achieve your goals.)

Journal (Keep a daily journal where you record your challenges and progress.)


Suggested Resources for a personal Bible study library


Bible Translation (accurate translation with useful features and reliable notes and articles)

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

English Standard Version (ESV)

Study Bible

ESV Study Bible

MacArthur Study Bible

Nelson Study Bible

Reformation Study Bible

Bible verse cross-references

The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Topical Bible or index

Nelson’s, Torrey’s or Nave’s

Greek/Hebrew lexicon (keyed to Strong’s numbers)

Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

Exhaustive Concordance (for the translation of your Bible)

New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance

Crossway Comprehensive Concordance of the Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Bible Dictionary

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

New Unger's Bible Dictionary

Tyndale Bible Dictionary


Bible Exposition Commentary

Believer's Bible Commentary

Notebook (to record what you observe and learn as you study the Bible)

Computer Bible Software

Logos Bible Software (http://www.logos.com/)




Online Resources:

StudyLight: http://www.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=1+sam+13&section=0&translation=nas&oq=&sr=1

Blue Letter Bible: http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Sa&c=13&v=1&t=NASB#top

The NET Bible: http://net.bible.org/bible.php?book=1Sa&chapter=13

Biblos: http://nasb.scripturetext.com/1_samuel/13.htm  

Precept Austin: http://www.preceptaustin.org/1_samuel_commentaries.htm

Tim Hensler,
Aug 13, 2010, 8:53 PM