The Chapter summary method involves gaining a general understanding of the contents of a chapter by reading it through a number of times and asking a series of content related questions. The aim is to summarize the central thoughts of the passage.
This is an important method because it enables you to begin to understand chapters of the books of the Bible. It is a valuable method which can be quickly learned by anyone interested in doing a meaningful Bible study. This method also doesn’t take too long; you can complete a chapter summary in 20 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the chapter. It doesn’t require any outside help or reference book just the Bible text and some paper. It is also a very useful method when you’re taking part in a rapid reading survey through the Bible. The Bible has 1,189 chapters. If you study one chapter per day, in 3 years you will have a complete set of study notes through the whole Bible. Two chapters each day and it will only take you 20 months.
Here are some steps for this Method
- Read a Bible without notes – Reading either in a new Bible or online will help you gain a fresh understanding. If you read a Bible with notes you far more likely to concentrate on the same ideas.
- Read without stopping – Don’t stop in the middle of the chapter, but read it straight through to get a better feel. Then you can go back and read verses.
- Read in different translations – This will give you additional insights as each translator rendered the original writing.
- Give each chapter a caption – Some Bible have this already, but what would you write? For example 1 Corinthians 13 might be ‘Love’.
- Note the Content – Describe, summarize, paraphrase or outline the major points in the chapter.
- List the People – make a list of the most important people in the chapter. Who are they? Why are they there? Don’t forget pronouns.
- Key Verse – Is there a key verse which summarizes the rest of the chapter. Write it down and try to memorize it.
- Crucial words – write down the key words of the chapter, for example faith in Hebrews 11. Sometime there are more then one crucial word and other times a crucial word is only used once.
- Difficulties – Is there anything you don’t understand? Write them down as this will be a good starting point for another study method which we will consider in a few days.
- Central lesson – What is the major principles and insight that you have learned? As we seen yesterday application is really important. How can you implement the lessons learned into your life?
A good resource for this kind of study in ‘The summarized Bible’ by Keith L. Brook. This is an excellent example of this method of Bible study. Try this out for yourself, maybe with 1 Corinthians 13 or another chapter which your reading.