For those of you who really enjoy to read biographies or autobiographies, the biographical method of Bible study might be something you really enjoy. With the biographical method you select a person and research scripture to study his or her life and character.
The Bible is composed of numerous stories of men and women and their relationships with God. Studying these lives can be before meaningful and uplifting. We can learn positive attributes of hundreds of people but also gain vast knowledge and wisdom by observing and avoiding the tremendous failures and negative aspects in the lives of people.
The Bible mentions more then 3,000 people, which should keep you going for some time. Much of the Old Testament is in narrative form, for example the book of Genesis revolves around six great names: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph.
Paul wrote ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). He also wrote that ‘These things happen to (the people of the O.T.) as examples and were written down as warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Helpful steps for a Biographical study.
- Select the person – A good idea is to select some who has a strength you would like to develop. Think of someone from the character quality method yesterday.
- Make a list of references – Use some reference’s tools to research this person. Be careful because there could be more then one person with that name. For example there are 30 different called Zechariah, 15 Jonathan and 8 Judas.
- First impressions – read through all the references and write down your first impressions
- Make a chronological outline – This will help you gain a good perspective on the persons life and help you feel the flow of the persons life. It will also help you see how the different events relate to one another.
- Insight – Go back over the references again and ask and answer some questions realting to the person. What would you like to ask them if you met them. Can the text give you these answers?
- Character qualities – read the references one more time and make a list of any character qualites the person shows. Both postive and negative.
- Summarize – In a few sentences write out what you think the main lesson that is illustrated by this persons life.
- Application – Refer back to the Devotional method. How can we learn from this persons life? How can we apply this to our own lives?