Welcome to the Book Synthesis Method: (Peter Rhebergen):
This Bible study method, accompanied by resources, will allow you to do a Bible study in your
own way. It is an example of some of the most effective Bible study methods found and discussed
more fully in the following book, which is unfortunately now out of print:
Warren, Richard, with William A. Shell, 12 Dynamic Bible Study Methods,
Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1987.
All the material that follows has been taken exclusively from this book and summarized for
this course. I had the privilege of studying this material under William (Bill) Shell in a class
on Biblical Interpretation at Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1988 – 1989
and found both him and his teaching very beneficial as his heart was dedicated to the equipping
of the saints. If there is any copyright infringement I am solely to blame and plead the excuse
that this material is simply too valuable not to share with others.
In each method described here, a basic outline of the method will be given and some useful
tools for this method will be listed. The studies begin with the basic method types and progress
toward studies that are more in depth and require greater allocations of time but which will also
yield greater results. Each method of Bible study presented here is accompanied by a chart, which
has been reproduced from the above book.
-- Peter Rhebergen
In the Book Synthesis Method of Bible study we will summarize and condense the lessons learned
previously. The word synthesis indicates the putting together of the discrete items that together
compose a whole; thus in the Book Synthesis Method of Bible study we will put back together the
details we extracted from the book through our previous two studies.
The Book Synthesis Method of Bible study is the last of three methods of Bible study that,
together, will give you an extremely comprehensive view of each book of the Bible. These three
methods will require the greatest effort on your part but will ultimately yield the best results.
Each of the three emphasizes a different aspect of one overall process of study:
Survey (Method 9 - Book Survey Method)
- obtain a detailed overview of a particular book of the Bible.
Analysis (Method 10 - Chapter Analysis Method)
- study each chapter of the book in great detail.
Synthesis (Method 11 - Book Synthesis Method)
- take what you learned in the previous two study stages and put it all back together, drawing
conclusions as you go and gaining an appreciation of the whole of the book.
11.1 - Tools
11.1.1 - Bible and several additional modern translations
11.1.2 - Bible dictionary and / or Bible encyclopedia
11.1.3 - Bible handbook, such as Unger's or Halley's
11.1.4 - Old and New Testament surveys
11.1.5 - Cultural contextualization tools
11.2 - Hints
11.2.1 - Have the results of both your
Book Survey Method and your
Chapter Analysis Method available and
complete, you will need to refer to them frequently during this study.
11.3 - Steps
Step 1 - Reread the book several times in the same manner as you did
in the Book Survey method.
Step 2 - Write out a detailed, final, outline using the preliminary
outline from your Book Survey and the passage summaries from your Chapter Analysis. These,
when coupled with your current readings, will allow you to put this outline in its final
Step 3 - Write down a descriptive book title using the same methods
by which you gave titles to each section in your Chapter Analysis. The title should be
original and define the contents of the book in as few words as possible.
Step 4 - Make a summary of your insights. You will here summarize
the major and minor themes as well as the conclusions of the book as you discovered them
in the previous two studies. Avoid commentaries for the moment as you are attempting
to arrive at your own understanding of the Bible. Feel free to add new ideas you have
discovered during the readings in step one.
Step 5 - Write out a personal application. Review all applications
listed in your Book Survey and Chapter Analysis studies, noting any which you have not
yet completed and making definite plans to complete them in the near future if not
immediately. If all are complete select other potential applications and make plans
to implement these in your life as soon as possible.
Step 6 - Share the results of your study with other. The Christian
faith is unique in that each of us is individually saved through Christ Jesus, yet
our carrying out of that faith is best done in a community of believers. Time and again
we as Christians are referred to in the New Testament as the Body of Christ and we are
encouraged to build each other up in the faith:
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He gave some as apostles, and some as
prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping
of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until
we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a
mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a
result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about
by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint
supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of
the body for the building up of itself in love.
One of the ways in which the building up other Christians takes
place is to share with them what you have learned of God, be it through Bible studies
such as this or illuminations from the Holy Spirit.
Chart for the Book Synthesis Method of Bible study
Number of Times Read:
2. Detailed Final Outline:
3. Descriptive Title:
4. Summary of Insights:
5. Personal Application:
6. People with Whom to Share this Study:
Peter Rhebergen, was raised in a Christian home and currently
attends Westney Heights Baptist Church with his family. He is a volunteer in several of its
ministries and has served as assistant pastor, youth leader, adult Sunday School teacher and as
pulpit supply at various churches and Bible Camps in Southern Ontario. He has been married since
1989 and together with his wife has three wonderful children who have introduced them to horses,
hermit crabs and numerous other creatures they would not otherwise have met. He is an avid
photographer and poet and has held a life-long interest in astronomy thanks to Psalm 19 and an
uncle. You can visit's Peters website at
This material can be freely used by anyone desiring to bring honour to our God - Peter Rhebergen