Before you read this article, please read the following:

How To Study a Complete Book of the Bible
How To Do a Chapter Study

INTRODUCTION
In previous articles, we have look at how to study a book of the Bible, and also how to study a chapter of the Bible. When you studied a chapter you divided it into paragraphs. Now we will look at how to study the paragraphs. I have included an example of a paragraph study for you.

 PARAGRAPH STUDY

 STEP ONE: DO A CHAPTER STUDY:

As you have learned, each chapter of the Bible is composed of paragraphs. Paragraphs are groups of verses about the same subject. When the subject changes, a new paragraph begins. As you study a chapter you will note important paragraphs or paragraphs that seem to relate to one another. These are possibilities for paragraph studies.

 STEP TWO: OBSERVE THE DETAILS:

The paragraphs in a chapter can relate to each other in different ways. Here are some special things to observe as you study paragraphs:

 Connectives:

Words called “connectives” are very important. They reveal relationships within and between paragraphs. The word “but” is a connective and introduces a contrast. For example:

 But these speak evil of those things which they know not; But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. (Jude 1:10)

There is a contrast in this paragraph. False teachers speak evil of things they do not know BUT they also corrupt the things they do know. The verse begins with the word “but” which should make you look back to verse 9 to see what the contrast is:

 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1:9)

Verse 10 contrasts false teachers who speak evil of dignities with the archangel Michael. Even though he held a great position, he did not accuse the devil but said “The Lord rebuke you.” The connective word “or” indicates a contrast. For example:

 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good OR whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

Other connective words to watch for are “like” and “as.” Instead of a contrast these words show comparisons between things. For example in the following verse Satan is compared to a lion:

 . . . the Devil AS a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8)

 The word “and” is another connective. It adds to what has just been stated:

 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, AND speak evil of dignities. (Jude 1:8)

The word “if” introduces a conditional statement. Many of the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament are stated this way. They tell what God will do IF (on the condition that) His people make a certain response:

 IF my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14)

The word “that” sets forth a purpose. It tells that something happened “in order that” a certain purpose would be accomplished:

 And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; THAT it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23)

Watch also for the connecting words “for, because, therefore.” These words introduce reasons and results:

 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, BECAUSE they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

The words “in, into, and with” are also important connectives. They also indicate relationships between concepts:

 He turned the sea INTO dry land and they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in Him. (Psalm 66:6)

 General Structure:

As you study paragraphs observe the arrangement of ideas and how the verses relate to each other. Sometimes the author makes a general statement, then explains it with examples. Other times he lists a series of ideas and then summarizes with a general statement.

In the example given later in this article, you will note that Jude wrote several paragraphs listing characteristics of false teachers. He then gave Old Testament examples which illustrated what he was teaching.

 Repetitions:

Each word of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit. When words or phrases are repeated it is because they are especially important. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers to repeat words and phrases in order to fix them in your memory.

The words “verily, verily” are an example of this. When Jesus preceded a statement with these words it was like an announcer saying “May I have your attention please. I have an important announcement to make.” Study in detail any words, phrases, or verses that are repeated.

 Questions And Answers:

It is also important to observe the questions and answers of the Bible. Often an author will introduce a subject by asking a question. He will then explain this question and give answers which relate back to the question. A good example of this is Romans 6. Read the entire chapter. Note the questions in verses 1-3 and the answers developed throughout the chapter.

 Introductions:

Watch for paragraphs that introduce the subject that is to follow. For example, in the book of Jude which you studied in the last chapter verse 3 introduces the material to follow:

 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3)

This introductory paragraph explains the purpose of his writing. He is exhorting them to earnestly contend for the true faith. The remainder of the chapter gives reasons for this exhortation. There are false teachers creeping into the church who are trying to turn them from the true faith.

 Summaries And Conclusions:

Be alert for paragraphs that summarize an entire passage, chapter, or even a book. For example, the book of Ecclesiastes contains one verse which summarizes the whole book. In Ecclesiastes the writer has described his quest for life apart from God. His final conclusion is:

 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

 Progressions In Thought:

When studying paragraphs, watch for progressions in thought. Note the following paragraph:

 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (II Peter 1:5-9)

There is definite progression in this passage. We are to add one thing to another until we become fruitful.

 Literary Form:

Literary form refers to how a passage is written. Some passages are in narrative or story form. This means they read like a story. Other paragraphs are in poetic form (poems) like the passages in the book of Psalms. Some paragraphs are parables which are short stories illustrating a spiritual truth. Some paragraphs are in dramatic form. For example, the Song of Solomon contains dramatic as well as poetic form. Discourse form is much like a sermon. It is a series of paragraphs giving instruction on a certain subject.

 Key Words:

Identifying key words will help you understand the meaning of a paragraph. Key words are those important to the meaning of a paragraph. Often they are words which are repeated. Especially note key words which you do not understand. These words can be studied in a word study. (You will learn how to do this later in this course). For example, read the following verse:

 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

Do you know what the word “lasciviousness” means? It is an important word in this paragraph because it describes false teachers. One of their characteristics is that they have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. This word is an example of a key word to study.

 Grammatical Construction:

The word “grammar” refers to parts of speech or words that fit together to make up sentences and paragraphs. Watch for words which are called verbs. These are words that show action telling what someone did in the past, is doing in the present, or will do in the future. They also are used in commands:

 GO ye into all the world and PREACH the Gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

The words “go” and “preach” are action words. They are verbs. They are commands for us to obey. A noun is a word that names a person, place, or thing. The words in capitals below are nouns:

 JUDE, the servant of JESUS CHRIST, and brother of JAMES… (Jude 1:1)

Nouns tell who and what is involved and where the action took place. A pronoun is a word that replaces or stands for a noun. The words “him” and “her” are examples. Instead of saying “The Holy Spirit inspired Jude to write the book” you could say “The Holy Spirit inspired HIM to write the book.” The word “him” is a pronoun standing for the noun Jude.

Adjectives and adverbs are important parts of speech also. Adverbs tell something about a verb. It tells how something happened. For example, in the sentence “He ran quickly,” the word “quickly” is an adverb because it tells how he ran. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun. If we said “Jude was tall,” the word “tall” is an adjective which describes Jude.

If you have not studied parts of speech before this may seem confusing at first, but you will soon learn to identify these as you practice. Parts of speech are important because they identify people, places, and things. They tell who did something, where, when, and why. They tell how things were done and what was, is, or will be done. They also provide descriptions and details which increase understanding of the subject matter.

 STEP THREE: CREATE A PARAGRAPH STUDY CHART:

By studying paragraphs in detail as described in Step Two, you will identify certain paragraphs that relate to each other. Their relationship may be contrasts, comparisons, progressions, or otherwise. Select these for paragraph study.

You will create a chart to summarize your study of these paragraphs. Select a general title for your chart which reflects the relationship of the paragraphs or the subject which they concern. The chart will also include the paragraph titles and divisions made during the chapter study. Record on the chart the book, chapter, and paragraphs studied. Use margins of the chart to make observations and applications.

 STEP FOUR: CREATE A PARAGRAPH OUTLINE:

Use the chart to help you create an outline of the paragraphs. The outlines you create on chapters and paragraphs will help you as you share God’s truth with others because they help you present what you have learned in an orderly way.

  

EXAMPLE OF THE METHOD

 STEP ONE: DO A CHAPTER STUDY:

A chapter study of Jude l was done in the previous article. We will do the paragraph study from this same chapter, so we have already completed Step One.

 STEP TWO: OBSERVE THE DETAILS:

As the paragraphs of Jude l were studied in depth, relationships emerged between paragraphs 4, 8-10, 16, 17-18, and 19. These paragraphs all list characteristics of false teachers.

 STEP THREE: CREATE A PARAGRAPH STUDY CHART:

For paragraph studies you will draw your own chart because it is not possible to determine the proper space to leave on a chart for paragraph studies. Some paragraphs are very detailed and require more space for study notes.

An example of a Paragraph Study Chart follows. Use this example to create your own study chart. Be sure to put the verse numbers of each paragraph in the paragraph block (note number in upper left of each block division on the chart).

Paragraph Study Chart

STEP FOUR: CREATE A PARAGRAPH OUTLINE:

Here is an outline of the paragraph on “Characteristics Of False Teachers.”

I. Their background:

A. Before of old ordained to this condemnation.

II. Their walk:

A. Crept in unawares.

B. Walking after their own lusts.

C. Walking after their own ungodly lusts.

III. Their talk:

A. Speak evil of dignities.

B. Speak evil of things they know not.

C. Murmurers.

D. Complainers.

E. Mouths speak great swelling words.

F. Mockers.

IV. Their doctrine:

A. Turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.

B. Deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

C. Have not the Spirit.

V. Their conduct:

A. Ungodly.

B. Filthy dreamers.

C. Defile the flesh.

D. Sensual.

E. Separate themselves.

F. Corrupt natural knowledge.

G. Despise dominion.

H. Partiality based on position of men.