Methods of Bible Study Part 1, by Book

In this series on Bible Study Methods I intend to describe what are generally known as Inductive Bible Study Methods. The principle is to proceed from the whole to its parts.


A. Read the Bible book through at one sitting in the King James Version of 1611 or other more literal version of your choice.

1. Choose a short book to begin with, such as the book of 1 John near the end of the New Testament. Other short books such as Titus, Philippians, Colossians and other New Testament epistles would also be suitable.

2. Repeated daily readings of the book in its entirety will lead to mastery of the book if continued for a month.

3. If that much reading cannot be worked into your schedule every day, reading one chapter a day will also work, but it may take longer to reach mastery. I consider basic mastery to have been reached when you can think through the book chapter by chapter, recalling just about everything stated in the chapter from memory.

B. Read the book through (in one sitting) in a modern speech translation.

1. If more than one translation in modern English is available, it will be found helpful to read the Bible book you have chosen for study through at one sitting in each of them.

2. There are several types of translations available, each suited to a different purpose.

a) Literal translations.

These are designed to be word-for-word translations of the original Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible. (1) Young’s Literal Translation; (2) J. N. Darby’s New Translation; (3) Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible; and (4) the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation (not suitable for doctrinal studies, but one unique feature makes it worth consulting at times, for plural pronouns are placed in all capitals which are otherwise ambiguous in English).

b) Expanded translations.

Designed to convey the full meaning in English of the original language. (1) The Amplified Bible. (2) Kenneth Wuest, An Expanded Translation.

c) Modern speech translations.

(1) The English Standard Version. (2) The New Living Translation. (3) J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English. (4) Good News for Modern Man. (5) The New International Version.

d) Specialty modern speech translations.

(1) Controlled English vocabulary:

(a) The Bible in Basic English. Suitable for adults speaking English as a second language.

(b) Williams, The New Testament in Plain English. Suitable for children in elementary grades and even older students with reading difficulties.

(2) Translations which display special features of the original text:

(a) J. B. Williams. The New Testament in the Language of the People. This translation accurately displays the tenses of the Greek verb in modern English.

(b) Rotherham, Emphasized Bible. Displays emphatic constructions and degrees of emphasis present in the original text. The introduction to the translation is an education in itself.

(c) Thomas Newberry. The Newberry Bible. Displays the Greek article, tenses, and much more by means of symbols in the text of the King James Version.

(3) Translations from other than Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament.

(a) George Lamsa. The Lamsa Translation. Translated from the Syriac. This is generally the best-reading English translation of the Bible, and follows the Received Text accurately.

(b) Ronald Knox. The Knox Translation. This is an excellent Roman Catholic translation devoid of the usual doctrinal notes, translated from the Latin. Excellent for devotional reading, particularly of Paul’s epistles.

(c) The Septuagint Bible. An English translation from the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible in modern English.

e) Paraphrased translations.

(1) Kenneth Taylor, The Living Bible
(2) Arthur S. Way, Epistles of St. Paul

f) Public translations (in contrast to private translations done by single individuals).

(1) English Revised Version, 1885.
(2) American Standard Version, 1901. Available with extensive cross references.
(3) The Revised Standard Version
(4) The New English Bible
(5) The English Standard Version. I have found this version excellent for reading and study.

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5 Responses to Methods of Bible Study Part 1, by Book

  1. ken sagely says:

    hello jerry this is real good information for any one wanting to further his bible study thank you!

  2. A. Way says:

    It should be understood that there are 2 lines of the Bible. One as you pointed out is from the Received Text, which the KJV is derived, and the other line comes from the Textus Sinaiticus/Textus Vaticanus, used by people such as Westcott and Hort to create the modern translations . These manuscripts try to claim authority by being older texts. And most of the modern texts are based on Westcott and Hort. Yet, can these versions be trusted as better than the Received Text?

  3. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I prefer to go by the Received Text. The older modern English versions followed Wescott and Hort’s text, beginning with the Revised Version of 1885, of which the American Standard Version of 1901 is a most prominent example.

    Contemporary modern English versions no longer follow Wescott and Hort, but that does not mean that they are always more reliable than the Received Text.

    There is an edition of the Greek New Testament which presents the Majority Text. In many places its findings may be an improvement over the Received Text, but not all.

    I have made a study of this issue since about 1954. I was able to secure a large library pertaining to textual criticism and the Greek manuscripts, texts and editions of the New Testament with the help of Mr. G. E. Hoyer, a scholar friend in Chicago, now gone home to be with the Lord.

    Westcott and Hort’s theory, and all modern theories since, fail to account for how the present findings in extant manuscripts got, in strict genealogical detail, to be in the form we now find them. Yet this is the most important issue to determine, which on the part of modern scholarship is glaringly left unanswered.

    I believe God has providentially preserved the original text of the Greek New Testament. It can be readily discerned (upon careful study, of course) what the original text must have read. The vaunted 30,000-plus textual variations often mentioned by skeptics and atheists are not the problem the casual English reader might imagine. Most of those variations are matters of orthography–spelling, in plain English, and do not affect the meaning of the text. Some variations involve differences in word order. Those often have no bearing upon meaning since Greek is more flexible in its word order than English because Greek depends upon case endings and verb inflections to indicate grammatical relationships, for it is much more an inflectional language than English. Some variations are clearly copyist errors. It is easy when hand-copying from source to a new copy to leave out a line or phrase which begins with the same word. Some variations result from copyists remembering the text from a parallel account in the Gospels and automatically writing what they recall from the other text, in effect harmonizing the wording, where the originals were expressed differently.

    I have mentioned several times in my comments on this site that the works of Shakespeare have more textual problems than the books of the New Testament exhibit, yet the New Testament of course is much older than Shakespeare. I have a six-volume edition of Shakespeare which has a critical apparatus that reveals the differences for the plays and poetry of Shakespeare as exhibited in the manuscripts of Shakespeare’s works.

    There obviously have been additional findings by way of additional Greek texts in manuscript form that were not available to the King James Version translators. Thus textual criticism can still help us arrive at a more accurate representation of what the original text must have been, and some modern translations reflect those findings. I think the NET Bible may be the very best translation in this regard, particularly the edition with full notes.

    But modern translators have failed to make a careful, thorough, study of Greek grammar, and have not yet brought to us a translation which properly conveys the distinctions present in the Greek text for English readers. My scholar friend Dr. Malcolm Lavender is hard at work at this very time preparing such a translation from the Majority Text, though he at times reverts to the Received Text as more clearly correct. From what he most recently told me, his translation should be available this year. He completed translating the book of Revelation just recently, so his work of translation is now complete. I look forward to benefiting from his work in its completed form.

  4. Renee Covert says:

    Jerry, please contact me via facebook regarding translation with help of G.E. Hoyer Chicago, thank you. R Renee Hiswyf on facebook (

  5. Jerry says:

    Dear Renee,

    If I knew how to work with Facebook I would, but so far I have never figured it out. I will try instead to reach you by email.

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