How to Study the Bible


  • Instructor: Mark Johnson
  • Email: marke2 at

Course Description

  • An introduction to the nature of the Bible, the definition of and need for hermeneutics, a survey of hermeneutical approaches, the principles of a healthy interpretive approach, and case studies of biblical passages which illustrate the principles

Course Prerequisites

  • No prerequisites are required for this course.

Course Objectives

  • The goal of this course is to introduce students to the basic elements of biblical interpretation and to equip them with the knowledge and tools that will aid them in their interpretation of the Bible.
  • As a result of this course, the student will:
  • Understand the nature of Scripture as historical, literary and canonical text, and how each of these aspects of its nature affects interpretation.
  • Be familiar with basic resources for biblical interpretation.
  • Understand principles and methods employed in hermeneutics, with special emphasis on those appropriate to orthodox Christianity.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply interpretive principles and methods to biblical texts.


  • Main Text
    • Ferguson, Sinclair. From The Mouth Of God. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014.
    • Koukl, Gregory. Never Read A Bible Verse. Signal Hill, Calif.: Stand to Reason, n.d.
  • Other Books
    • Carson, D. A., Exegetical Fallacies. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.
    • Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-on Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005. Print.
    • Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993.
    • Hays, J. Daniel, and J. Scott Duvall. How The Bible Came To Be. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012.
    • Kaiser, Walter C., Jr., and Moisés Silva, eds. Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. Print.
    • Lawrence, Michael. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry. 9Marks. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.
    • MacArthur, John, ed. The Scripture Cannot Be Broken: Twentieth Century Writings on the Doctrine of Inerrancy. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.
    • Plummer, Robert L. 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible. Edited by Benjamin L. Merkle. 40 Questions Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2010.
    • Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Charles A. Anderson, and Michael J. Sleasman, eds. Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Cultural Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.
    • Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 2014.    
  • Sites

General Information

  • Class Website:
  • Class Format
    • Reading as a prerequisite for the class
    • Lecture on Sunday AM
    • Extra Reading
  • Course Schedule
    • Week 1 (12/15) – Foundations
    • Week 2 (12/22) – How we got the bible: Ferguson 2 & 3
    • No class 12/29
    • Week 3 (01/05) – Keys to the kingdom: Ferguson 5, Koukl: Never Read a Verse
    • Week 4 (01/12) – Genres: Ferguson 6 & 7
    • Week 5 (01/19) – Practice
    • Week 6 (01/26) – Final Practice and Meditating on the Word