There are many ways and methods of studying the Bible. The following two methods of organizing your Bible Study passages and notes are both practical and easy to follow.
An outline is a method of organizing study notes. Your outline summarises the information from the passage or book you are studying, and makes it easy for you to reference in future study and ministry. An outline centres on a selected theme. This theme becomes the title of the outline which usually reflects the subject of study.
After identifying the subject of study, the next step is to identify main points which tell something about the subject. Next there will be sub-points. The prefix “sub” means they come under or tell something about the main point.
There are many ways to outline. I am using a simple method accepted in many universities using the Roman Numeral system. If you are not comfortable with Roman Numerals, here is a chart to help you:
1 I 30 XXX
2 II 40 XL
3 III 50 L
4 IV 60 LX
5 V 70 LXX
6 VI 80 LXXX
7 VII 90 XC
8 VIII 100 C
11 XI Follow this same pattern (I, II, III) for each set.
12 XII For example, 32 would be XXXII
Sub points on the outline are shown with capital letters of the alphabet. If there are further points under these, they are shown with regular numbers. Study the following example which summarizes how to make an outline:
PLACE THE TITLE HERE
I. This is the Roman numeral for “l” used for the first main point.
A. This is a capital letter used for a sub point relating to the main point.
1. If there was another sub point relating to this, it would be marked with the number l.
2. Perhaps there are other points relating back to sub point A. If so, continue to place them in numerical order.
B. Main point I may have several sub points. If so, continue down through the alphabet using capital letters in order. Each one of these sub points should relate to the main point.
II. To present another main point use the next Roman numeral.
A. Sub points follow the same pattern under every main point.
As an example, here is a brief outline of Romans 12:1-2. First read the verses:
Therefor I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
The outline of this passages follows:
STEPS FOR FINDING GOD’S WILL
I. Present your bodies a living sacrifice:
B. Acceptable unto God.
II. Be not conformed to this world:
A. Be transformed.
1. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
III. These steps will help us prove (find) the will of God which is:
You can see how this outline clearly summarizes the steps to God’s will which are given in Romans 12:1-2.
Another method of organizing study materials is through charting. Charting is important because it helps you visualize what you have studied. Charting summarizes in brief form what you learn and helps you remember it.
There are two basic ways to draw a chart:
Draw your chart lengthwise on a sheet of paper. Draw a line across the page and block off as many divisions as needed for your particular study. The horizontal chart is good to use in book study.
This type of chart is drawn vertically on a sheet of paper. A large rectangle is drawn and divisions are made within it. Vertical charts are best for shorter portions of material or for chapter studies.
Here is an example of a vertical chart on James 1:26-27.
First read the passage:
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:26-27)
Now study the chart:
|Seems to be Religious||Control of Tongue||Deceives Himself||Vain|
|Unspotted from World||Visits Poor||Undefiled Before God||Pure|
|Keeps Self holy||Undefiled|
Use these methods to help you organize and structure your study notes. It is a good idea for you to do an outline and also charts for each book of the Bible, and then to do more detailed outlines and charts for chapters, then verses, etc.
You can also download outlines for each book of the Bible (Old and New Testament) below.
(Acknowledgements to HarvestTime Ministries for these outline resources).