The 5 W’s of Bible Study
This is one Bible Study method many people are familiar with. It is refereed to as the 5 – W’s of Bible Study. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Each question is listed and answered. Make sure you stick to information in the Bible and do not add in outside reference material. Think of using this method as placing God’s Word on trial. Think of yourself as cross examining God’s Word. Anything outside the Bible is circumstantial evidence and not allowed. This can take some digging, but as a general rule, answers are found by looking back a chapter or two. References can also be used from other books in the Bible.
The key point to using the 5 W’s is to stick to the Bible. This Bible Study method can and will sharpen your Bible Study skills. You learn to look back, review, research, list, and in most cases, write down what you find. All of those steps are designed to slow you down so the Holy Spirit can get in a few words, comments, and ideas.
Who seems to be the easiest question to answer. in most cases you will be studying a person in a story. In most cases the name is prominent and repeated throughout the story. Which should make the name easy to find. This helps you to focus on a single subject. In this case a single person. We all need practice at focusing when we study scripture.
What may be a little more difficult to explain. That is why this book is packed with actual Bible Study examples showing how each rule is applied and used within a Bible Study. What is usually linked to the subject, or event the person is going through.
When can be expressed in a date, time, or series of events. Dates can be found at the beginning of the story, and at times, the beginning of a book in the Bible. When can also be an explanation of the previous event. This event or story followed that event. Try to avoid commentaries when trying to place a date. In many cases commentaries can be nothing more than guesses or personal opinions.
Where is generally the location. Where can be a city, field, mountain, or other physical feature that may have a spiritual bearing on the subject and lesson at hand. Concentrate on the location and let your mind linger on the scene. This often helps to see reactions on the faces of people involved. The scene can also get your mind into the political or religious motives at that particular time. Where will help tie together all the W’s.
Why is where you want to spend your majority of time. As soon as the first 4 W’s are tied together, the why will begin to reveal itself. Why is normally found with a combination of stories that led into the event being studied, and later chapters or stories that recorded the results. Why takes a lot of time and study. Why is listed at the end of the 5 W’s because it takes the What, When, Who, and often times the Where to understand the Why. As soon as you examine the Why, you will see how they all fit together.
The 5 W’s also help identify a loose, sloppy Bible Study from one that put in the right combination of study methods. Many word studies and proof text studies take little or no effort. And as usually designed to convey a preconceived idea. On the other hand, studies like the 5 W’s show a level of interest, time, and attention not found in every Bible Study.