Beginner Bible Study Terms

Jumping into the world on personal Bible study is filled with jargon. I want to list some basic terms to help you navigate these waters.

Any time you learning something new, there’s going to be jargon. Lingo that condenses big ideas to a shorthand so we don’t keep repeating long messages over and over.

Once you know these terms, you’ll be able to read this blog and others with a better understanding.

I’d suggest bookmarking this page and coming back to it every so often if you keep getting tripped up with the language. I’ll update it when I spot some obvious oversights.

Let’s get to the lingo:

Method Lingo

Most of the lingo on Bible study methods are just repackaging of the inductive Bible study method with a few changes here and there. Don’t worry about some new acronym.

/These are here to give you a sense of what the popular ones mean as well as others that just rebrand the popular ones./

Inductive Bible Study: Observe the text, Interpret it. Develop applicaitons. This is the method I gain the most form.

O.I.A.: Observation Interpretation Application. This is used by Peter Krol over at knowableword.com It is effectively the same as the Inductive Bible Study Method, but he takes issue with calling it inductive based on philosophic grounds1.

S.O.A.P.: Scritpure O*bservation Application Prayer. Read the text, observe it, develop application, then pray about it.

W.O.R.D.: Write Observe Relevant Declare. Write the text out. Observe it. Find what’s relevant in the text. Declare the promises of the text.

E.A.S.Y.: Enter into the passage Assess the main idea Seek God and his character Yearn for a heart change.

General Terms

These terms are mentioned big ideas.

Context: The stuff around the text the helps us know what’s going on. Social context is the beliefs and practices of the culture the text records. Literary context deals with what’s happening in the story or argument of the text.

Text, Passage, Pericope2: A part of the Bible. Probably the one the writer is studying.

Observation: What is in the text with out having to read between the lines.

Interpretation: Taking the observations and discovering their meaning.

Application: The process of finding out the why or the so what of a text.

These will help you get a good start. Check back later for updates.

  1. I agree with Krol’s position. But, SEO is SEO (there’s some blogging lingo for ya). Most people know the OIA method as the Inductive Bible Study. That’s why I use it instead of OIA. 

  2. This is an academic term that you should never use unless you’re writing a college-level paper. You may run into it while reading high level commentaries, though.