Old and New Testament Studies


Written by Ruth Grigg

Kingdom Ministries UK (c) 2017


Bible Study Approaches

There are many different ways we may approach the study of the Bible: one way is Synthetic, which is an overview of the Bible as a whole, to provide a grasp and broad picture of the overall message.

Another approach is Analytical, which is the process of viewing the Bible verse by verse, to get an in- depth understanding of the subject-material. With the Analytical approach you may select one passage of Scripture and examine it in fine detail. You may write out a personal paraphrase of the passage, list questions and observations, find cross-references, record any insights, and write down a brief personal application for each verse.

The Thematic Method: With this method you may select a Bible theme to study, and then ask three to five questions you'd like to have answered about that theme. Next, you could study all the references you can find on your theme and record the answers to your questions.

There is also the Typical approach — which is a study of the many pictures or 'prophetic-types' and symbols found in the Bible, (particularly in the Old Testament), that foreshadow the Messiah or a coming event.

There is the Chapter summary method: With this method you would write down a summary of the central thoughts, as well as the major points in the chapter. You may also make a list of the most important people and look at why they are included? You may choose a verse which summarizes the whole chapter or one which speaks to you personally. You may also list any difficulties you have with the chapter (such as statements you don't understand), questions, and key words of the chapter.

There is the book survey method: With this method you survey an entire book of the Bible by reading it through several times to get a general overview of its contents. You would study the background of the book and make notes on its contents; its history, geography, culture, science, people, events, and the topics covered. You may make an outline and chart the key events and themes in the book and use Bible reference books to increase your understanding of the Word.

*Please note that some of the charts in the printed manuals or E books cannot be shown here.*

Book Studies Method:

This type of Bible study method focuses either on a complete book in the Bible, or on specific parts of the book, such as a specific chapter, a range of verses, or a single verse itself. With both the chapter and verse-by-verse methods and with the study of an overall book, the principles and goals are the same: for example, to do a thorough book study, we must also study the context of individual chapters and verses. Likewise, in order to correctly study a particular verse, we need to also study the overall message of the chapter and book that verse is found in. Whether your study is on the individual verse level, or a complete book study, we must always consider the overall context of the whole Bible as well.

The Word Study Method: In this type of study, you would focus on the important words of the Bible, e.g. You might find out how many times a word occurs in Scripture and how it is used in it's different contexts. You may also find out the original meaning of the word and compare translations. You may check the word's occurrences, and find the root meaning of the word. You may also write an application of the word.

The Character Analysis Method: With this method, you might select a Bible character and research all the verses about that person in order to study his or her life and characteristics. You may make notes on his or her attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses, and show how Bible truths are illustrated in his or her life. You would aim to live with that person during your study, walk and walk in his or her shoes. You would aim to see how he or she thinks, feels, and responds to circumstances. You may choose a character quality you would like to work on yourself, and study what the Bible says about iit or select a situation in your own life to work on and memorize a verse that speaks to you.

The Devotional Method: In this method, you might select a short passage of Scripture and meditate on it. You might visualize the scene or the narrative and put yourself into the biblical situation as an active participant, e.g. What would I say? How do I feel? You may read through the passage several times, emphasizing a different word each time and then rephrase the passage in your own words to personalize it, and then you would need to apply what you have learned.

There is the Topical or Doctrinal (or Deductive Method) approach to study of the Bible, according to its many topics and doctrines. With this method you take various topics and search the Bible for what it has to say on these subjects. The topical method of Bible study the is simplest and most fascinating type of study, which yields the greatest immediate results. Sometimes it will be necessary to look up other subjects that are closely related to the one in question as they may be inter-related. Deductive reasoning starts with a general or universal statement and then goes looking for details to support it in order to make a specific application.

Another form of Bible study, is the Inductive (or Discovery Method). Using an inductive method, you may take a verse or a passage, break it down and examine its details to draw out the meaning. The inductive Bible Study method, includes 3 steps: 1. observation - what does the text actually say? (in context); 2. interpretation – what does the text mean? You may need to dig a bit deeper, for an in depth examination, perhaps by cross referencing and 3. application – what does this mean for my life?

There are many varieties of topical studies that we can do. Some examples include biographical studies, where we study all the Bible says about particular person; there are word studies, where we study all the Bible says about a particular word or subject; there are geographical studies, where we learn all we can about a particular town, country, or nation mentioned in the Bible. 

Topical studies are important for understanding all the Bible teaches on a particular subject or topic. We must be careful, though, that the conclusions drawn from a topical study do not come from taking verses out of their original context in order to imply a meaning that could not be supported by doing a verse study or book study. Topical studies are helpful in systematically organizing and understanding what the Bible teaches on specific subjects.

In studying the Bible, it is beneficial to use different Bible study methods at different times. No matter what method of Bible study we do, we must be careful to rightly divide the Word of God so that we are workmen that need not be ashamed, as mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15.

The Biblical studies in our Training Schools,  are not about giving you, the student, all answers or giving you an in depth discourse; these studies are about you (the student), discovering the answers yourselves from scripture, by making comparisons with the other New Testament Gospels, by looking at subjects holistically by discussions and by learning from each other. You may call this approach deductive or discovery, but you will also find a mixture of the other types of bible study alongside them (as mentioned above), alongside this we will dip into topics and doctrines. You will be comparing the scriptures to Old and New Testament scriptures and you will be looking at the central themes and purposes of the Book and you will spend some time meditating on some of the scriptures and thinking and discussing how these scriptures and principles apply to your life. For your homework you may be looking at different characters and delving into subjects more deeply. You will find a mixture of approaches in these studies which will benefit your understanding and approach to Biblical studies.

Understanding the Covenants & Cannons in the Old & New Testament

The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch which means “five books.” They are also known as the books of the Law because they contain the laws and instruction given by God, through Moses to the people of Israel. These five books were written by Moses, except for the last part of Deuteronomy which tells about the death of Moses. These five books lay the foundation for the coming of Christ, showing how God choose and brought into being the nation of Israel. As God’s chosen people, Israel became the guardians of the Old Testament, the recipients of the covenants of promise, and the root from which the Messiah came (Rom. 3:2; 9:1-5).

In the whole of the Bible there are 5 major covenants and around them, sits 5 cannons. A Cannon is the recorded history based around the Covenants. The Cannon tells us the story of what happened before the Covenant was made, the Covenant itself, and what happened after the Covenant was made: it is the story and history of the wars and battles, genealogies and Psalms of the Israelites, and it is a record of how the relationship between God and Israel had progressed and worked itself out.

1. Throughout the Old Testament we also have 3 different types of Covenant: 

a. A Grant Covenant – this kind of Covenant was entered into when a greater king wanted to bless a lesser king or people. The Covenant and blessings are given with 'no strings attached', e.g. no rules and stipulations and not dependent on what people did or did not do. We see this kind of Covenant between God and Noah, Abraham, David, and Jesus.

b. A Kinship Covenant – this Covenant was based on their being two equal parties who come together in agreement with a small list of rules and stipulations. We see this kind of Covenant in the marriage ceremony – both promise to love and honour and stay faithful to each other; if one partner breaks the Covenant agreements however, the relationship is broken and may be ended (or healed).

c. A Vassal Covenant – this kind of Covenant is made between a king or ruler in a greater position of power and authority and his subjects. The subjects may have been 'won' and left- over through war, e.g. the women, children, elderly, disabled etc, and have been allowed to 'live' but under tight control, rules and restrictions e.g. they would need to serve their new ruler and often had to pay heavy taxes. Many became slaves. If the rules were violated, the people or person could be punished and some would be executed; however the king or ruler would protect from the King's enemies.

In the case of God and his people, God became the one who was in the greater position of authority and power and he required that his people, the Israelites obey his commands and laws and worship Him only; he would be their Father, protector and provider: He would fight for them and with them against their enemies. If however, they did not obey and worship him, they would be punished for breaking the Covenant. In Deuteronomy chapter 31-32, God forewarns Israel that because of their continued sin (breaking the laws and Covenant, their life-style, worshipping other gods etc), they would be encounter disaster. God however, longs for relationship with his people: He loves them and restores them.

2. The five major Covenants made between God and Israel were:

a. The Covenant between God and Noah (found in Genesis 9): This was a Covenant that God made with Noah to never flood the world again. It is was Grant Covenant (unconditional). The Cannon (the whole story, before and after the Covenant) of Noah begins in Genesis 1 up to Genesis finishes at Genesis chapter 10.

b. The Covenant between God and Abraham (found in Genesis 17): This was a Covenant where God promised that Abraham would become the father of many nations. This was also a Grant Covenant. The Cannon of Abraham begins in Genesis 11 and ends at Genesis chapter 50.

c. The Covenant between God and Moses / Israel (found in Exodus 20): God offered a Grant Covenant – he wanted the whole of Israel to enter into a relationship with him, for them to all be Priest and he would be their God (Ex. 20:5-6), but the people of Israel rejected this and made a counter-offer. They didn't want a face to face, personal relationship with God because they were fearful of God - fearful that they would die if God spoke to them directly (see Genesis 20:18-21).

The people of Israel nominated Moses to be in-between person, or the Priest – so the people were distanced from God, of their own choosing. But because God loved Israel and wanted a relationship with them, he accepted their counter-offer and they entered into a

d. Kinship Covenant, which was meant to be an equal partnership with some agreed conditions on both sides; therefore the 10 commandments and laws were given for the people of Israel to follow - and God would be their Father, their protector and provider; He would back them up and punish any of their enemies who warred against them. This Covenant is referred to as the Old Covenant throughout the Old Testament and New Testament (although God's Covenant with Noah's was the oldest!)

However, under the new leadership of Joshua after Moses passed away, the Covenant changed (see Joshua 24). The Covenant between God and Israel was renewed (because God loved Israel), but the terms were changed because the people of Israel broke the previous Kinship Covenant (under Moses) continually: they did not follow and obey God and the 10 commandments given but worshipped idols and went their own way. The relationship and between God and Israel was painful and difficult, therefore the Covenant changed to a Vassal Covenant.

Under Joshua, new decrees and laws were established and recorded in the Book of the Law of God (Joshua 24:25-27). We find the Book of Deuteronomy introduces many more rules and laws for the Israelites to follow, in order to serve God. (Deuteronomy and Joshua were written in approximately the same time/era with some overlap: Joshua was written approximately 1400-1370 and Deuteronomy approximately 1406/7).

The Cannon of the story of Moses and Joshua begins in Exodus 1 and ends at the end of the book of Joshua, but the Old Covenant remained in place with Israel throughout their history, ( throughout the Old Testament), and up until the time that Jesus made the New Covenant with his blood at the Cross, found in the New Testament.

3. Between Covenant between God and David (found in 2 Samuel 7). This Covenant overlaps and co-exists with Moses Covenant. David had built a palace for himself, but he wanted to build a house/Temple for the Lord (this was passed onto his son Solomon because of the bloodshed in David's life), however, God was blessed by David's heart and his desire to build Him a house, so God made a Grant Covenant with David: God would build a house for David instead – a house that would last for eternity; the seed of David on the throne for in an everlasting Kingdom (foreshadowing the Messiah coming and ruling through David's genealogy). The covenant was unconditional and was fulfilled in Christ and is to be completely fulfilled in the end time.

4. Between God and Jesus (found in the New Testament, The Gospels): this was the New Covenant that was made on the cross, via Jesus blood. The new covenant made the Old Covenant obsolete. It opened up the way, through Jesus' death and fulfilment of God's justice for mankind's sin; the veil was torn, opening up the way for all (including Gentiles) to come into relationship with God. The Old Covenant was replaced with the New Covenant, bought by Jesus' blood.