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7 Life-Changing Bible Study Techniques

Advanced techniques to study the Bible like the pros! For personal & group studies or group leaders.
4.7 (7 ratings)
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174 students enrolled
Last updated 4/2016
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 19 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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This course is for ANY Christian who has a basic understanding of the Bible but wishes to take their study of the Bible to a deeper level.

In addition, if you are someone who desires to lead or is currently leading a Bible study this course will give you the tools for maximum preparation and confidence.


This course teaches advanced Bible study techniques in the form of the 7 rules of Bible Interpretation:

  1. Rule #1 - Pre-existing Conditions - How does your experience, church tradition, language and culture interfere with a proper understanding of the Bible?
  2. Rule #2 - By the Book - Why you must complete a book study before diving in to the individual verses of any book?
  3. Rule #3 - Context, Context, Context - Why what comes before and after your passage may be just as important as the message of the passage?
  4. Rule #4 - Word Up - How doing a simple word study will open up your eyes to different parts of the Bible?
  5. Rule #5 - Culture Shock - How and why you must understand the Bible's culture in order to make sense of its message?
  6. Rule #6 - Bible Context - Why it is important to hear what other parts of the Bible say about your passage?
  7. Rule #7 - Application - How to apply any passage of the Bible to your everyday life


Each chapter includes:

  • An introduction to each rule
  • A step-by-step process to demonstrate how to use each rule
  • An example of how to put a particular rule into practice using a variety of passages
  • Written PDF of each lesson
  • Q & A section
  • Everyone unconsciously interprets the Bible. This course will make you an active interpreter.
  • Your personal Bible studies will become adventures of discovery.
  • You will have more confidence to share in small group Bible studies and Sunday school classes.
  • You will be able to prepare Bible studies for small groups or Sunday School classes.
  • You will be able to lead Bible studies for small groups or Sunday school classes.
  • You will have the tools to study complex Bible verses or topics.
Who is the target audience?
  • This course is geared for any person (Christian) who desires to go deeper in their understanding, reading and study of the Bible.
  • In addition, this course is for students who wish to contribute, engage or participate more fully in their small group Bible studies or Sunday school classes.
  • Finally, this is an excellent course for current or aspiring small group Bible study leaders / facilitators or Sunday School teachers who want to create more robust, meaningful and engaging Bible studies.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
What Will I Learn?
Understand any passage of the Bible and how to apply it to your daily life
Be better prepared to answer questions about the Bible
Be better prepared to listen to sermons or to engage with literature / articles that surround the Bible
Take your personal Bible studies to a much deeper level
Study a whole book of the Bible at once
Participate more fully and substantially in small group Bible studies
Complete a small word study on a particular term in any passage of the Bible
Prepare Bible studies for small groups and Sunday school classes
Lead / facilitate bible studies for small groups or Sunday school classes
Study complex topics or questions with greater confidence
Use a variety of tools / resources to clarify or figure out the meaning of any passage of the Bible
View Curriculum
  • A good study Bible
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 42 Lectures Collapse All 42 Lectures 04:37:36
Chapter 1 - Why Every Christian Should Take This Course
5 Lectures 20:22

In this lecture I give you my top five (5) reasons why EVERY Christian like you should take this course:

#1 - You are already an unconscious "interpreter" of the Bible. Why not learn to do it consciously and do it well?

#2 - You cannot let others, the so-called "experts" interpret the Bible for you.

#3 - Your personal Bible studies will become more dynamic and adventurous.

#4 - You are going to be much better prepared as a participant or as a facilitator / leader of Bible studies.

#5 - You are going to be able to tackle and learn about difficult Bible topics on your own.

Preview 13:48

In this lesson we highlight some important aspects of the Udemy platform to make your course more informative and enjoyable. In addition, we cover the material that can be downloaded with each lesson (a Chapter Summary and Reflection Questions).

Finally, we touch on forum etiquette and on the importance of the forums for sharing information, asking questions, and making suggestions for improvement. The forums greatly increase the classroom experience and knowledge.

Lesson 1.2 - How to Get the Most From This Class

Chapter 1 - Summary
2 pages

Contact the Instructor - Gustavo Karakey
1 page
Chapter 2 - Setting a Good Foundation
4 Lectures 14:26

In this lecture, I provide you with a simple, three-step framework for studying the Bible in this course.

Step 1 - Begin with the Bible itself. What was the original message to the original Bible audience?

Step 2 - What is the principle of a particular story or passage regardless of it original culture-bound meaning? This will help greatly in your application.

Step 3 - How can you apply the principle of a passage from Step 2 to a modern audience or context?

Lesson 2.1 - A Simple Guide for Bible Interpretation

In this lecture, I provide you with a basic overview of each rule in our course 7 Rules of Bible Interpretation Every Christian Should Know:

1. Rule #1 - Pre-Existing Conditions - There are no objective readers of the Bible. This chapter introduces you to some common interpretation biases. The goal is to diminish their influence in your reading of the Bible.

2. Rule #2 - By the Book - How to get a sense for a whole book of the Bible. This will provide the background for understanding individual passages.

3. Rule #3 - Context, context, context - How do other passages in the same book add meaning and clarity to our passage?

4. Rule #4 - Word up - In this lesson, we demonstrate the richness of doing a mini-word study on particular terms in your passage.

5. Rule #5 - Culture Shock - This is where we seek to better understand the culture and the customs of the passage we are studying.

6. Rule #6 - Bible Context - How do similar passages in other parts of the Bible add meaning and clarity to our passage.

7. Rule #7 - Modern-day application - Here we demonstrate how to apply the Bible's message to our modern problems, issues and questions.

Preview 05:05

Chapter 2 - Summary
3 pages

Chapter 2 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 3 - Rule #1 - Pre-Existing Conditions
3 Lectures 11:26

Everyone approaches the Bible with a set of predispositions about what it says. Our experience, church tradition, language and culture all play a part in this process and sometimes hinder our ability to listen to the Bible on its own terms.

In this lesson we will provide examples of different blind spots to enable students to approach the Bible in a more balanced way. These include:

1. The impact of our experiences (both good and bad) on our beliefs about specific Bible teachings and God.

2. The impact of our denominational or religious heritage which shapes how we view certain Bible doctrines.

3. The impact of our own language and culture which causes us to interpret certain words or concepts in the Bible through our own modern cultural lens.

Lesson 3.1 - Rule #1 - How Your Biases Affect Bible Interpretation?

Chapter 3 - Summary
2 pages

Chapter 3 - Questions for Reflection
2 pages
Chapter 4 - Rule #2 - By the Book
4 Lectures 26:56

In this lesson we introduce you to Rule #2 - By the Book. By the book takes you step-by-step through the process of studying an entire book of the Bible at once.

Why would you do this? Because having a bird's-eye view of the contents of a book make it much easier for you to drill down into the meaning of individual passages. By the book shows you the importance of knowing the book's author, purpose for writing and main themes.

Lesson 4.1 - Rule #2 - By the Book - Interpretation Begins at the Book Level

In this lesson we run through an example of using Rule #2 - By the Book using 1 Thessalonians as our sample.

Lesson 4.2 - Example of "By the Book"

Chapter 4 - Summary
2 pages

Chapter 4 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 5 - Rule #3 - Context, Context, Context
3 Lectures 11:19

In this lesson we show you the importance of reading the passages that come before and after your passage of study. In other words, we show you how to read a passage in its context. This keeps you from reading passages in isolation which may skew your understanding of their message.

At the same time, we show you how to locate similar themes to your passage of study within the same book.

The reading of other passages in the same book give additional meaning and clarity to any passage that you are studying.

Lesson 5.1 - Rule #3 - Context, Context, Context

Chapter 5 - Summary
1 page

Chapter 5 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 6 - Rule #4 - Word Up
6 Lectures 33:14

In this lesson, we introduce you to the exciting concept of word studies. Using a simple formula and an on-line Bible concordance, we will demonstrate the value of going deeper in the individual words of a Bible passage.

Your reasons for doing a deeper study of a term are multiple:

1) Words in the Bible have different or richer meanings than is readily visible at first glance. In our own culture, a term like "9/11" communicates a host of deeper themes than mere numbers on a page.

2) We may attach a meaning to a word in the Bible that is different from how the Bible uses it. An example of this would be our modern word "church", which comes with an image of pews, choirs, Sunday school classes and the like that is quite different from its usage in the New Testament.

Lesson 6.1 - Introduction to Rule #4 - Word Up

In this lesson we continue our study of Rule #4 Word Up. Our aim in this lesson is to supply you with a set of criteria by which you can choose good words to study using Rule #4. In summary these criteria include:

  • Words that are repeated in your passage
  • Words that are loaded with meaning
  • Words that might be vague
  • Any word that you might be interested in studying further
Lesson 6.2 - Choosing the Right Terms to Study

In this lesson, we take you through a simple three-step process for doing a word study and then show you an example using 1 Corinthians 6:18.

The steps involve: 1) Choosing the proper term to study; 2) Looking-up every occurrence of that word in the Bible using an online Bible concordance; 3) Summarizing the main ideas from these verses to add richness to our word.

Lesson 6. 3 - Process for Doing a Deeper Word Study

In this lesson we demonstrate how to use an online Bible concordance in order to do word studies in a Bible passage.

Preview 07:57

Chapter 6 - Summary
2 pages

Chapter 6 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 7 - Rule #5 - Culture Shock
6 Lectures 41:09

In this lesson we introduce the use of Rule #5 - Culture Shock which helps us to study the prominent cultural elements in a passage.

The steps for using Rule #5 - Culture shock include:

1. Identify the cultural elements in your passage that require further explanation.

2. Look-up these cultural elements in a Bible dictionary and jot down potentially useful information

3. Summarize your notes and select information that adds clarity or meaning to your passage.

Lesson 7.1 - Introduction to Rule #5 - Culture Shock

In this lesson we show you the different cultural elements that may be found in a passage: these include political, religious, social, economic and philosophical elements.

Lesson 7.2 - Which Cultural Elements Should You Study?

In this lesson we use Rule #5 - Culture Shock to study Mark 14:1-10.

We first will determine the different religious, economic, and social elements that we should study using Rule #5. Finally, we demonstrate the wealth of information that is available from studying only one element in detail: the bottle of nard perfume that is an important part of this narrative.

Preview 09:49

Lesson 7.4 - Why So Much Work to Study a Passage?

In this lesson we discuss potential responses to the question: "Why does it seems like so much work to study a passage?"

1. We are sometimes too cavalier when it comes to the Bible. We want and expect God to speak to us through the Bible but we are not willing to take the time to understand it on its own terms and in its own culture.

2. There are great rewards awaiting those who take the time to study the Bible using the 7 Rules of Bible Interpretation.

The question is not, "why must we spend so much time studying the Bible?" but rather "why not spend a great deal of time studying the Bible?"

Chapter 7 - Summary
4 pages

Chapter 7 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 8 - Rule #6 - Bible Context
5 Lectures 38:08

In this lesson we take a look at Rule #6 - Bible Context. This tool allows you to study other parts of the Bible to see how these clarify and add meaning to your passage of study.

When John says of Jesus, "behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" you would have to look into Israel's system of sacrifices in order to fully grasp what he means. This would required the use of Rule #6 - Bible Context.

Lesson 8.1 - Introduction to Rule #6 - Bible Context

In this lesson we take a look at the different ways we can connect two Bible passages together in order that one might make the other clearer:

1) One possibility is how the New Testament makes reference to or cites a passage in the Old Testament.

2) Another possibility is how the Old Testament anticipates something in the New Testament.

3) A third possibility is one passage clarifies the meaning of another passage in the Old Testament.

4) A final possibility is when one passage clarifies the meaning of another passage in the New Testament.

Lesson 8.2 - Bible Context - What Relationships Exists Between Two Passages?

In this lesson we take you through an example of using Rule #6 - Bible Context. We study 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and look at the way another passage, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, helps to clarify and add meaning to our passage of study.

Lesson 8.3 - Example of Using Bible Context

Chapter 8 - Summary
3 pages

Chapter 8 - Questions for Reflection
1 page
Chapter 9 - Modern-Day Application
5 Lectures 37:58

In this lesson we introduce Rule #7 - Modern-Day application. This lesson will take you through the process of applying any passage of scripture to any modern situation.

Lesson 9.1 - Finding a Universal Message

In this lesson we provide you with some helpful guidelines for finding a universal message.

1) God's moral commands tend to be relevant in any era.

2) Make sure you understand the topic the passage is touching upon. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo 20:3) is mostly about our relationship and fidelity to God.

3) Ask yourself to whom is the passage directed? To families, children, parents? Individual or group? Rich or poor, male or female?

4) Be careful with promises in the Bible. A promise to a New Testament believer is likely to be applicable to believers of our time; a promise to an Old Testament believer may be applicable to believers of our time depending on context; a promise made to the nation of Israel cannot be spiritualized and applied to a modern nation.

5) Do not confuse a principle with a promise. Many of the teachings in Proverbs are principles. They suggest likely outcomes from desired behavior, but they do not guarantee that outcome.

6) Does the text demand a change in thought, feeling or behavior?

7) When dealing with Old Testament narratives or parables, remember that these generally illustrate one central idea. Don't look for hidden message in every detail.

Lesson 9.2 - Helpful Guidelines for Finding a Universal Message

In this lesson we give you some real-world examples of Rule #7 - Modern-Day Application. This includes applications from Joshua 7 - Achan's sin and 1 Corinthians 12, the church as a body.

Lesson 9.3 - Examples of Rule #7 - Modern-Day Application

Chapter 9 - Summary
4 pages

Chapter 9 - Questions for Reflection
2 pages
Conclusion - 7 Rules of Bible Interpretation Every Christian Should Know
1 Lecture 06:38

In this lesson we reinforce the main points of the course, restate the reasons for why every Christian should take this class and summarize the "7 Rules of Bible Interpretation."

Lesson 10.1 - Conclusion and Summary to the Course
About the Instructor
4.7 Average rating
7 Reviews
174 Students
1 Course
New Testament Professor at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia

Gustavo Karakey is a professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia in Medellín. He has taught Bible and theology classes at the bible institute, bible college, seminary and Sunday School class levels for the past 15 years.

Gustavo holds a B.A. in Economics from Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, CA, a Masters of Divinity and a Masters in Theology (New Testament) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA and is currently working on his doctorate in New Testament at the London School of Theology.

Gustavo's passion is to help train a new generation of pastors, leaders and missionaries for the growing church in Latin America. In addition, he is passionate about taking some of his Bible courses and making them available to a wider church audience.

The "7 Rules of Bible Interpretation Every Christian Should Know" is one such example. In addition he has written Bible articles and studies for his own blog: Bible Study Guru.

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