Before you read this article, read: 2 Ways to Make Your bible Study Come Alive.


This short study will teach you how to complete a survey of an entire book of the Bible. You will also learn how to create a chart and an outline to summarize your studies. I have also included an example of an entire book outline for the book of Philippians, as well as an empty chart for you to complete.

A book survey is important in your study of the Bible, in order to get an overall view or picture of the contents of the book.


A book study is important because the chapters, paragraphs, verses, and words of a book must be interpreted in proper context. A book study provides knowledge of this context.


Here are three steps to study a book of the Bible:


Read the entire book at one sitting to identify the theme (subject) of the book. Choose a title that summarizes the theme. You will use this title on the Book Study Chart. This will also become the title of your outline.

Determine the purpose for which the book was written, to whom it was written, and the author. Some books state the name of the author but for the names of others you will need to consult an outside Bible study resource. Each author had a special reason for writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This purpose is usually reflected in the content of the book.

Determine the geographic setting of the book. This is where the events occurred. Record this on the Book Study Chart.

Summarize the basic life and ministry principle in one sentence. This is the basic truth of the book which is applicable to your life or ministry. There are many principles taught in a single book, but try to determine the most important for this summary statement. Remember, the chapter divisions in the Bible are not divinely inspired. They were made by man for ease in locating specific passages in the Bible. When you read the entire book without chapter divisions you are reviewing the message as it was originally given. To obtain a copy of the Reader’s Bible Series Smooth Reading Edition, an edition of the Bible that has had all of the chapter and verse number removed, simply click on the link.

In this first reading do not be concerned with details. Survey the book for general information: Theme, author, purpose, to whom, geographic setting, and basic life and ministry principle. Read quickly to gain an overview of the entire book. Do not stop and analyse what you are reading. You will do that later.


Read the book a second time. Note the major divisions of the book. These divisions may be determined by subject matter, events, biographical material, geographical settings, or other such factors.

Create titles for each chapter of the book. The chapter title should reflect the general content of a chapter but it should not be so general that it could fit any chapter of the Bible. Think of titles as handles with which to grasp the content of the chapter. Keep them short so they are easy to remember. Enter these chapter titles on the Book Study Chart. If the natural flow of thought ends in the middle of the chapter, then use a new title for the following section of thought. Don’t be bound by chapter and verse numbers!

Select the key verse of the book. The key verse should be one that best summarizes the purpose or content of the book. Enter the reference on the Book Study Chart. As you read, list the names of major characters in the space provided on the chart. This list will provide a selection from which to do biographical studies. You will learn how to do such studies later in this course.

Record key words and phrases on the chart. Key words and phrases are those basic to understanding the book. They are often repeated frequently or explained in detail in the book. You can use this list for word studies which you will learn how to do later in this course.


The final step in book study is to create an outline. Read the book again. As you read, create an outline of the entire book. Some of the division and chapter titles on your Book Study Chart will become main points in your outline. The purpose of your outline is to summarize the entire content of the book.




 Book: The book selected for survey is Philippians.

 Theme: The theme of the book is an appeal for Christian unity.

 Author: The author of the book is the Apostle Paul.

Written To: The book was written to the Christians in the city of Philippi.

 Purpose: The general purpose of the book was twofold: It was to thank the Philippians for their support of his ministry and appeal for Christian unity.

 Key Words: Rejoice, joy.

 Key Verse: Philippians 2:2

 Characters: Euodias, Syntyce, Timotheus, Epaphroditus, Clement, Caesar’s household.

 Life And Ministry Principle: The basic life and ministry principle is unity brings joy.



 Author: Paul

 To: Believers at Philippi

 Purpose: To thank them for support and appeal for Christian unity

 Key Words: Rejoice, joy

 Key Verse: Philippians 2:2

 Characters: Euodias, Syntyce, Timotheus, Clement Epaphroditus, Caesar’s household

 Life And Ministry Principle: Christian unity brings joy.


Name Of Book: Philippians

Title For Chart: An Appeal For Christian Unity


Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Remarks
Insert Key Words, Main Characters, etc for each chapter in this chart

 Chapter Titles:








 Philippians: An Appeal For Christian Unity.

I. Introduction:

A. Greeting 1:1-2

1. From Paul and Timotheus.

2. To: Saints in Christ Jesus, bishops, and deacons at Philippi.

B. Prayer for Philippians 1:3-11

C. Personal matters 1:12-26

1. Events which have served to spread the Gospel 1:12-18

2. Faith that he will be released 1:19-21

3. His questioning as to whether it is best to live or die 1:22-26

II. Exhortations for unity 1:27-2:18

A. Appeal for unity in suffering 1:27-30

B. Unity in Christ 2:1-11

C. Spiritual growth brings unity 2:12-18

III. Paul’s plans 2:19-30

A. Hopes to send Timothy 2:19-23

B. Hopes to come himself 2:24

C. Is sending Epaproditus 2:25-30

IV. Warnings 3:1-4:1

A. Against Judaizing teachers 3:1-16

B. Against false teachers 3:17-21

V. Exhortations 4:1-9

A. Unity between Euodias and Syntyce 4:1-3

B. Unity in joy 4:4

C. Unity in moderation 4:5

D. Unity in prayer 4:6

E. Unity in mind 4:7-8

F. Unity between knowledge and actions 4:9

VI. Thanks for their gift 4:10-20

VII. Benediction 4:21-23