Our Bible study tool

The Bible Study Framework (BSF) is a simple Bible study tool. Its goal is to aid the serious Bible student by following a repeatable process in their Bible study. We like it because it aids and support our Bible study rules to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, using ‘Sola scriptura’, and never scripture weighting.

The BSF is not especially unique. In his book “Bible Study for Joy and Profit”, Charlie Brackett advocates something similar. He develops it directly from the encounter between Jesus and the lawyer in Luke 10:25-28.

bible study simplified

Bible study can be hard and certain passages confusing. Understanding where to start and how to condense it down can be a challenge. The Bible Study Framework goes a long way to solving that difficulty. Adapted from the same technique that Jesus used with the lawyer in Luke 10 and with Satan in Matthew 4, it forms the basis for the exegesis of scripture on this site.

…enter the scripture-block

In a pattern used by Jesus, the Bible Study Framework simply asks three questions for any passage. After doing your best to honestly answer each question, you end up with what we call a ‘scripture-block’.

These are the literal building blocks that form every answer on this site. There are over 1,000 passages currently exegeted in this way and applied to produce Bible answers literally built on Scripture.

Jesus acknowledged this first step in understanding Scripture.  “Have you not read?” is what He asked those challenging Him (

Matthew 19:4-5
) and it was his expectation of the lawyer (
Luke 10:25-26
).  We have to read what’s written!

For our scripture-blocks, we pull the text directly from the ESV and try to keep it to 1-2 verses or at least a complete sentence.

Somewhere between the two questions Jesus asked the lawyer (“What is written in the law?” and “How do you read it?”), was the need for the lawyer to understand what he had read (i.e. restate it). We try to be careful here not to inject any commentary or any “think-sos” but rather simply restate what the passage is saying.  Maybe it’s reorganizing it grammatically. Or maybe it’s using modern-day terminology. This is usually pretty simple, but sometimes can be tricky to simply state what it actually says without “reading in” to it.

If you think about it, this is no different than what most all of the current Bible translations have done. Whether it’s the KJV, ASV, or NIV, they all have taken the original manuscripts and made their effort to transcribe, “What does it say?” We do it yet one more iteration for effectively the “BSF” version.

This is implied in Jesus’ encounters with the lawyer and Satan.  It’s what the lawyer did right and Satan did wrong. Here we want to consider the immediate context of the passage. It may be accomplished with surrounding verses.  However, sometimes it’s necessary to consider the chapter, surrounding chapters, or maybe the entire book is important to consider for proper context. This may be the most critical part of getting to an accurate application.

When mulitple, applicable scripture-blocks are applied, we do our best to allow scripture to interpret scripture without scripture weighting.

Bible Study Applied

Once you have the relevant scripture-block(s), you’re ready to formulate a Bible-based answer to the question.

How does it apply here? The passage was picked for a reason; we “thought” it applied. But based on the immediate context, does it really, and how? This can be the most dangerous part of getting to an accurate interpretation. We may find this passage doesn’t apply to the question.

Further still, there may be times when we can’t be sure of its application with just the passage alone. Therefore, it could be that we must hedge a little with a “Somewhat” or “Not exactly” or “Possibly”. In these cases, we don’t want to jump to a conclusion and apply that passage without first weighing its applicability in light of the other passages. In other words, letting Scripture interpret Scripture! A good example of this is with prophecy, where an inspired writer has not interpreted God’s message for us. This is, yet again, Scripture interpreting Scripture in practice.

Bible study that lets scripture interpret scripture

Together with scripture-blocks, following our “any, only, all” rule is the only way we know that a God-inspired interpretation of Scripture can happen. For any passage to be “in context” means we are looking at any Scripture, only Scripture and all the Scripture together.

You might be asking, “What could stand in the way of letting Scripture interpret Scripture?” That’s a great question…

…and there are at least four increasingly common ways this happens…

letting commentary interpret scripture

Man’s commentary, whether from internet posts or from published works (e.g. Barnes, Matthew Henry, etc.), should not be our source for interpretation. This includes the theology of our favorite pastor or preacher. These may be helpful at times, but “the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Pr 2:6). We are called to “test the spirits” (1 Jn 4:1); even the great apostle Paul was ‘trusted but verified’ by the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

letting culture interpret scripture

It seems for certain texts, particularly the Old Testament and in Paul’s letters, it’s popular to force a pre-requisite knowledge of “their time” in order to make an application. Sadly, this is used to marginalize or, worse yet, remove completely any modern-day application. However, God’s word “endures forever” (Ps 119:160). Ironically, this “adding to” God’s word results in “taking away” — both of which are practices condemned in a final plea to mankind (Re 22:18-19).

letting vocabulary interpret scripture

Vocabulary is vital to communication. “Word-studies” and knowing words in their original Hebrew or Greek language might be a useful supplemental tool to better understanding a passage. However, the ultimate definition belongs to God, not to man. They are “words not taught by human wisdom” (1 Co 2:13). Scripture defines words like “joy”, “fear”, “church”, “fellowship“, “works“, “salvation“, and “love” very differently from Webster or Vines.

letting think-sos interpret scripture

What we “think” can be shaped by lots of things including tradition and dogma/doctrine. In fact, tradition and doctrine form the very basis for what we believe and practice. It’s here where what we “think” (or “feel”) has no place…and this may be the hardest to decouple from letting scripture – and only scripture – shape our understanding of God’s will for us. But we must!

To be clear, none of these are wrong in and of themselves. Knowing the cultural norms in which Jesus lived can enrich our understanding of His walk on earth. However, God has never given authority for this to be the basis for our understanding of Messiah’s walk on earth.

Drawing conclusions and making applications about Scripture based on any one of these is to do so without God’s authority. “Adding to” God’s word in these ways potentially jeopardizes not only our eternal peril, but any of those to whom we may teach or influence.