How to unpack the Bible

Step 1: Pray that God will open the eyes of your heart in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, and understand his purpose for you.

Step 2: Write or type out the Bible text line by line, the idea being to isolate the sentences so that you can easily see one main idea at a time. A good way to do this is to separate the lines where there is a comma or a period, and indent all narrated conversations. You can copy and paste the text from the Bible reference link that opens when you click the text on the online sermons page.

See example below using Gen 12:1-3:

Step 3: Identify and understand the themes. Underline significant words or concepts, or words that are repeated, to help identify the main thrust and themes of the passage. Look up the passage in a commentary and read it through. Take the time to follow other Bible references and fully understand the thoughts presented in the commentary. Think about the passage over several days. Continue to read the text that you have written out and underlined.

Step 4: Listen to the sermon. Go to the online sermons section and listen to the sermon for this passage. Remember that your notes are a very important part of your study. Take notes during the sermon (you can pause it at any point) and take the time to write out the key ideas of the sermon, and of the commentary. Reflect on the text again and look for any other concepts that are not covered by the sermon. Make notes.

Step 5: Review what you’ve learned. Organize your notes into themes that can easily be communicated. Imagine yourself on a bus and someone asks you about this passage, how would you quickly explain the key teaching in this passage?

Here’s an example of the underlined passage:



Here are some things we discovered by reading the text carefully:

  1. God initiated “The LORD said”, the concept of being chosen by God is further explained in Ephesians 1:4
  2. Leave Re-orient your focus. Obedience to God means leaving behind our old self, our treasured possessions. Instead of focusing on our worldly ‘idols’, we need to re-orient our lives and focus on God.
  3. Faith It is always a journey of faith because we are asked to leave first and put our complete trust in God. “I will show you” God has not yet shown Abraham at the time of this narrative.
  4. God centred There are five instances of “I will”. God will carry out his promise with our participation, and without requiring our help. He is perfectly able to create things from nothing by simply speaking, as we have seen in chapter one. But we must learn how to let Him be in the driver’s seat.
  5. God is merciful Infinite “blessings”. Abraham was living in a region of moon worshippers and likely a moon worshipper himself. Yet, God forgives him and chooses to bless him with many great blessings.
  6. Blessing extended God identifies a people that are able to transfer His blessings to everyone. We are all meant to be a blessing to others.




Family resources

A huge list of Bible storybooks, songs, devotionals and advent resources for follow-up at home with your children. Download PDF pdf-icon