The adult Bible study at the church I’m currently attending is going through The Acts of the Apostles. We spent the last four weeks reading through the entire book (we read seven chapters per week). Today we are starting at the beginning again and discussing one chapter per week until we’re all the way through it. (Well, I think this group takes the month of August off, but we’ll resume after that.)
So for my study of just one chapter, I tend to do a few specific things:
- I read it several times, in several different translations
- I look up a few commentaries
- I take notes using a specific structure
The notes structure is partly based on things I’ve done before, but I must point out that some of this is inspired by conversations with my wife about this.
Outline: first, I try to outline the chapter. Yes, many Bible translations will add section headers, but I try to come up with my own outline (which may or may not match theirs).
Cast: list all the people mentioned in the text, by the following subcategories:
- Speaking parts
- Non-speaking parts
- referenced off-screen persons
Promises: I list any promises given in the text.
Commands: I list any commands given in the text.
Direct quotes of other scripture: List and look up any scripture quoted, read the context for that scripture.
Events mentioned elsewhere: look up anything that is mentioned somewhere else in scripture (these are things where the different texts are not quoting each other, but are referencing the same events).
Other general observations: note anything else that came up as I was reading this
Understanding: was there anything in this that seemed to speak to me as I read this? And let me be honest: sometimes there just isn’t. Maybe I’m not just not allowing myself to hear from God, maybe God just isn’t speaking to me personally through that particular passage. Either way, I don’t want to fake it, so sometimes this is going to be left off.
Over the next eight months or so I’ll be taking these notes for each chapter of Acts, so I figure I may as well get blog posts out of them. These are not meant to be definitive or the final word on anything – just my Bible study notes. Hope they are of some benefit to someone. I will update the list below to have links to all the notes as I post them.