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4-Step Bible Study

4-Step Bible Study

bible readingThe most important part of your school day is getting to God through prayer and Bible study. Are you skipping Bible time? Purpose to not touch a school book until you spend time in the Living Word!

Organizing Your Bible Time

There are four basic steps to the HOW approach. The amount of time for each step will vary from a few minutes to a an hour or more depending on the activities chosen. These four steps teach to all four learning styles and both brain hemispheres.

Studies show that this four-step method motivates students to comprehend the material better and retain the information longer. The steps will occasionally overlap each other; they are just a general outline to organize the lessons.

These Steps are Only Suggestions 

Some days we only read the Bible passage. Other times we do one or more steps. These are only suggestions to help you teach your children how to use Bible study tools and incorporate things like handwriting and copy work into your Bible time. Some days the children color worksheets after the reading just so I can have time  prepare our next subject. Be flexible and open to the Holy Spirit. Use the steps as prompts and ideas.

Always Start with Prayer

Explain to your children what a privilege it is for us to know God through Jesus, and how relationships are based on communication. God communicates with us through His Word; we communicate with God through prayer. Before beginning the school day, talk to God through prayer. Devote your day to Him and ask His blessings.

During your studies, stop at any time you have difficulty with a passage. Remember that God promises us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5); therefore pray for wisdom. Prayer comes from a humble spirit that is willing to ask for assistance and acknowledge need. Praying shows that you recognize your dependence upon God (Proverbs 11:2; James 3:5-6).


Step 1 Excite: Cause an Interest

Time: 2-5 minutes. Rely on the Holy Spirit’s Leading.

  • A. The teacher and student pray for wisdom and understanding. Prayer is a requirement for Bible study (James 1:5).
  • B. The teacher asks the student questions. (Find out what he or she knows about the text that you are about to read.)
  • C. The teacher shares with the student any personal lessons learned from the story.
  • D. The teacher asks the student to recall the highlights from the day before. (Remember you are reading chronologically so it’s a continuation of a story).

Step 2 Examine: Find Out the Facts

Time: Varies—approximately 45-60 minutes. We can read through the Bible in one year in only 15 minutes a day! But students will also be looking up words, related passages, etc. for in-depth study.

The reading plan consists of 360 Bible portions divided into 52 weekly readings. Each reading is listed by verse and by page number for the Narrated Bible. Some portions are very short and some are very long. The readings are divided to keep the amount of daily reading time approximately the same each week.

Daily Readings in the Narrated Bible

For daily reading we recommend a more modern translation chronological Bible for reading through the Bible in a year and give the page numbers toThe Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (NIV) or The Daily Bible. The text in The Narrated Bible can be used for dictation and copying lessons (for teaching handwriting, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation), because it is written in everyday English. If you are reading through the Bible 7 days a week (in the Narrated Bible)  you should average about 5 pages a day. If you are reading through the Bible 5 days a week, you will read an average of seven or eight pages per day.

The Daily Bible

If you use the The Daily Bible is the same as Narrated but divided into daily readings and its much cheaper.

You will be reading several portions (stories or topics –like chapters in a book) in each daily passage. You will find out what works best for your family. Either read the entire portion at one sitting or read one portion, stop and discuss the story then go on to the next story. If you’re teaching several children you should stop between topics and randomly call on one of the children to narrate (tell back) the story. The teacher can do the reading but the student should be taking notes.

As you study the Bible look for patterns and themes. Start out by seeking a true understanding of the commitment that God has made to us through His Son. This is illustrated throughout the Scripture. Then look for His personal commitment to you, and then look for the opportunities for response, service, and maturing growth He has given us.

One method of creative note taking is a technique Kay Arthur uses with the International Inductive Study Bible. Students draw symbols or icons with different colored pencils in the Bible passages. See The Inductive Bible Study Method.

Build study and reasoning skills by choosing a section of your reading to study in depth.

  • Observation: What does it say? Pay close attention to the passage, noticing contrast, repetition and progression, as well as the facts.
  • Interpretation: What does it mean? Prayerfully meditate on the contents, seeking to find its meaning, particularly from the author’s point of view.
  • Application: What does it mean to me? Are there promises to be claimed, commands to be obeyed, sins to be repented of? Look for prayer topics for yourself, for others, for your family, for the country and the world.

Use questions to probe the passage that you are studying.

Jesus taught by asking questions. 

  1. Who – Who is the author of the book? To whom is he writing? Who are the major and minor characters?
  2. Where – Where do the events occur? Are there any references to towns, cities, provinces? If so look them up in a Bible atlas or on a map. Many Bibles contain historical maps just for this purpose. If you are reading a letter, where do the recipients if of the letter live?
  3. When – Are there any references to time, day, month, or year? Are there references to the timing of other events happening in relation to this event?
  4. What – What actions or events are taking place? What words or ideas are repeated or are central to the passage. What is the mood (joyous or somber, soft or stern, intense or peaceful, instructional or informational)?
  5. Why – Does the passage offer any reasons, explanations, statements of purpose? Why did the Holy Spirit move the author to write these words?
  6. How – How is the passage written? Is is a letter, speech, poem, parable? Does it use figures of speech (similes, metaphors)? How is it organized (around people, ideas, geography)?

http://www.torahclass.com/Torah Class

Free Audios, videos, and PDF lessons! excellent in-depth teachings by Tom Bradford. http://www.TorahClass.com

Use the Bible Study Tools

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Stop when prompted by your own interest or childrens’ questions to learn from your tools.

A. Do a word study using the concordance.
B. Look up customs and manners in a Bible handbook.
C. Look up words in a Bible dictionary.
D. Look up the location in a Bible atlas.
E. Look up passage in a commentary.
F. Compare different translations.
G. Look up cross-references.

Step 3 Expand

Do Something with What Was Learned

Time: Varies —approximately 30-60 minutes or more.

Chose a craft or writing activity that appeals to your child’s age and interest from the ideas listed below.

  • Write – Write a summery, paragraph, poem, essay, etc. See Writing Links 
  • Create an Outline – See Outline example 
  • Fill out a Worksheet – See  Bible worksheets 
  • Complete  Craft or Activity- See Bible Crafts and Activities
  • Use a Graphic Organizer – Contrast and compare, mindmap, storyboard, etc.  See HOW’s Graphic Organizers. 
  • Illustrate the Story – Student illustrates the story in any medium.
  • Create a Scrapbook Page – Make a creative story page by using scrapbook supplies (memory albums, stickers, die cuts, paper, cardstock, scissors, pens, punches, templates, rulers, idea books, etc.). First have children draw or cut out photo-size illustrations of the Bible story. Treat the the illustrations as photos in a photo scrapbook. Experimenting with the layout. Journal below and/or around the illustrations. Apply stickers, frames, etc. Slip the page into a page protector to keep safe from dirt, dust, spills, and fingerprints. There are thousands of scrapbook ideas on the Internet.
  • Act Out the Story – Let children retell the story in a play. Older children can write a script or direct the play. Make costumes from household items: bathrobes, pillow cases, large paper grocery bags, or dress-up clothes, fabric or paper scraps, ribbons, costume jewelry, etc. Consider recording the production on video.
  • Create a Puppet Show – Let children retell the story in a puppet show. Older children can write a script or direct the show. Make puppets from household items: old socks, yarn, buttons, or paper lunch bags and crayons. This idea will also work with dolls or paper dolls. See Bible Friends Paper Dolls. 
  • Complete a Puzzle – Refer to a puzzle book such as Through the Year Bible Puzzles by Martha Coffman (January 1995)Standard Publishing; ISBN: 0784703205.

Step 4 Excel

Organize and Share Work

Time: Varies—approximately 20-40 minutes.

Students display or share the activity done in Step 3 with a family member, friend, or group. See Creating the Bible Portfolio.

Organizing Writing Assignments (for older student)

  • A. Teacher reviews all writing.
  • B. Teacher and student discuss all grammar, capitalization, and punctuation errors.
  • C. Student looks up appropriate grammar, capitalization, and punctuation rules in Writers INC (or a writing handbook on their level).
  • D. If you choose to add this page to the Bible Portfolio, continue with the steps below. (Not all written work needs to be rewriten.)
  • E. Student rewrites work with corrections.
  • F. Student adds work to Bible Portfolio.
  • G. Student shares work with or uses work to teach another person.

Torah Class

Free Audios, videos, and PDF lessons! excellent in-depth teachings by Tom Bradford. http://www.TorahClass.com

More on 4MAT

For more on 4 Steps see Teaching Around the 4MAT® Cycle: Designing Instruction for Diverse Learners with Diverse Learning Styles by Bernice McCarthy


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