Researching Background


Sometimes when we read the Bible we bring our own modern-day biases to the text. While there can certainly be a modern-day application for us inside the text, we do not want to start there.

Rather, we desire to go back and understand the original intention of the author. Specifically, we are looking to determine:

  • Who wrote the text
  • When it was written
  • To whom it was written
  • The purpose of the text
  • The style in which it was written
  • Any additional details of note

How to Research a Passage's Background

Use a Study Bible

This step will be easiest if you are using a good Study Bible. Do some research if needed, as there are plenty of good options out there. We use the ESV Study Bible, and we love how all of these questions are answered for us in the introduction to each book.

Open to the book of the Bible you are studying. Work your way through each question in our Digital Study using information from your Study Bible. Sometimes you'll find that scholars debate over the exact author of a book or the time frame in which it was written. Make note of that. Dig deeper if you have time and feel so inclined.

Bonus Tip: When it comes to "style," use your Study Bible to determine what genre the book is written in. Is it poetry, historical narrative, prophecy, law, a letter, or something else?

Use an App or Online Search
The alternative to a Study Bible would be an app like Blue Letter Bible. By navigating to "Study" > "Introductions to the Bible," you will find resources to help answer our main background questions.

A basic internet search of "Introduction to (your book of the Bible)" may also lead you to some helpful resources as you dig into background. Just double-check that the source is reliable. If you aren't sure how to check reliability, it may benefit you to invest in a good Study Bible!

Want real training and practice with doing background research? Get both in our "How to Study the Bible" course! Click the link to learn more.

Let's Abide,

Jason and Kate 




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