The Bible Study Handbook by Lindsay Olesberg: Introduction

“There’s no trouble getting hold of a Bible. But once you have on in your hands . . . now what?”

BS Handbook

Have you ever wanted to get better at studying the Bible? Have you ever read something and had it go way over your head? Are you tired of limiting your understanding of Scripture to inspirational verses etched on the frame of a Thomas Kinkade painting?

Well, then I have a book for you!

The Bible Study Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to an Essential Practice by Lindsay Olesberg.

And even better, I will be devoting one post a week to working through this book with you. Let’s see what we can learn together!

I have had the privilege of working with, learning from, and being personally coached by Lindsay. She is a Bible Study teacher of the highest order. Much of what I know about Bible Study I learned, directly or indirectly, from her.

I am excited to share this book with you. Pick it up or download it on kindle and start digging in yourself.


Olesberg’s (I feel weird calling her that) preferred method of Bible Study is the inductive method, which I will cover more of in chapter 1. She shares with us her journey of learning not only how to study the Bible, but also on how to let it transform us.

The strongest and most helpful part of the intro is her take on how our “motivations for studying often reveal (or shape) our view of what the Bible is.” She gives a few examples:

If we are looking for knowledge, we will view the Bible as an encyclopedia. It will be boring unless we find something new and interesting.

If we are looking for guidance or help, we will view it as a magic 8-ball. We will pray and open to a random verse hoping to hear God’s instructions.

If we are looking for approval by God, we will view it as an instruction manual or a teacher’s guide that will let us know what is on the final exam (which we hope to ace.)

If we are looking for inspiration of comfort, we will view the it as a love letter. This can run us into trouble when we read the parts that don’t feel as “loving.” Parts like this or this

What should we be hoping for? Intimacy with God and the renovation of our lives. This way, we will approach the Bible on its own terms and discover all that it has for us and the world.

Which of the “unhelpful” motivations most connects with you? Be honest, are you guilty of any of them?

2 responses

  1. I’m sure I’ve used all of these wrong ways and May again. My sister is a linguist and part of her job is to discover as much about someone’s communication so they can know the writer. I feel that’s what I’m trying to do when I read scripture. I want to know this God who created me and live in response to that.

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