How’s your time in the Word?
At the heart of Knowable Word is a glorious and crucial conviction: that understanding the Bible is not the preserve of a few, but the privilege and joy of all God’s people. Peter Krol’s book demystifies the process of reading God’s word and in so doing enfranchises the people of God. I warmly encourage you to read it. Better still, read it with others and apply its method together.
– Dr. Tim Chester, The Porterbrook Network
People with Bibles don’t always know how to use them. They know how to collect study guides, commentaries, sermon audio, study Bibles, lecture notes, magazines, blog feeds, and inspiring quotes. They’re good at absorbing and repeating what they’re taught. But the average Christian alone with a Bible is as helpless as the average guitarist stuck with real sheet music.
Now don’t get me wrong: Study guides are a crucial part of Christian education. Their role in Bible study is like that of a tee in the sport of baseball.
The tee is the first guidepost for a child learning to play the sport. It assures the child that he can hit the ball and not fear it will hit him. It defines where to stand, where to swing the bat, and when to run. It’s a good friend and capable mentor.
As the athlete develops, the tee endures as a tool. Even the pros use tees to help them perfect the mechanics of batting.
However, the tee is not part of the big game. While the tee trains and refines, it prepares players for the game of baseball, and then it gets out of the way.
In the same way, decent guides shape Bible students. They assist young Christians in practicing the basics. They embolden new leaders by providing a ready-made structure for discussion groups. They develop mature believers by honing their understanding of Scripture and keeping them connected with the insights of others.
But this book will help you learn to play the game without a tee. It will help you learn to study the Bible for yourself.
This book has three primary virtues and many secondary ones. Its primary virtues are the nobility of its goal (to equip Christians to interpret and apply the Bible), the accuracy of the proposed methodology for interacting with the Bible, and the practical approach to the subject. Additionally, the book does a splendid job of employing the practice of ‘learning by doing.’
– Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English at Wheaton College and author of How to Read the Bible as Literature
Who is this book for?
The Reformation and its offspring put Bibles in the hands of ordinary people, but these hands are often clumsy in their craft. So explanatory materials have multiplied, fueling in the hearts of God’s people an increasing fervor for God’s word. And God willing, this fervor will never abate. If you are among those who share this fervor, this book is for you.
1. Are you a beginner who loves God and his word?
Perhaps you see others draw close to God through his word, and you want in on it. You faithfully attend church services, but you’re certain you could never do what the pastor or leader does. So you keep listening and watching. You’d be delighted to experience richer insight; you just don’t know where to start.
2. Are you a mature Christian who wants to internalize your Bible study skills?
Churches are packed with people who have a daily quiet time with their Bible, journal, and workbook or study guide. These folks have experienced decent Bible study, and they pretty much get the basics. But they want to be able to do it on their own. Does this describe you? Maybe you’re a pastor who limits sermon preparation to reading commentaries. You’re used to riding with training wheels, but you’re itching to pop them off, let loose, and just keep pedaling.
3. Are you a leader who longs not only to teach but also to equip?
You have an effective ministry. People come to Christ. People grow in Christ. People lead others to Christ and engage their communities. The church or small group thrives. But the ministry centers on you, the leader. People come to you with questions; they get answers and go on their way. You desire a better legacy for the Lord—one that produces disciple-making disciples—but you don’t quite know how to reproduce yourself. You do what you do instinctively, and you’re not sure how to package it up for wholesale distribution.
Peter Krol has done us a great service by writing the book Knowable Word. It is valuable for those who have never done in-depth Bible study and a good review for those who have. I look forward to using this book to improve my own Bible study.
– Jerry Bridges, author of The Pursuit of Holiness
Knowable Word offers what each group needs: a simple and sensible Bible study method. Some might read the book cover to cover to understand the entire model. Others will refer to it to answer particular questions:
- Why does our method matter?
- How do I find the motivation not only to read but also to study the Bible?
- I think I’ve seen everything in a text, but I’m not sure where to go now; what else can I observe?
- What do I do with my observations?
- How do I interpret difficult passages?
- How do I learn to discover the authors’ main points?
- How do I see Jesus in any Bible passage?
- How can I move past vague principles to apply the Bible to the details of my life?
- How do I apply the same text to a different audience?
Peter Krol has written a book that many will find helpful in studying the Bible. Not just new believers, but anyone who wants to think about how they think about Scripture will find much that strengthens their ability to read, study, understand, and apply the biblical text. Illuminating illustrations, helpful examples, and good exercises make this a good, solid tool that might be best used in a small group that is either starting to study Scripture together, or that wants to become better readers of the Bible. A book to be recommended, read, and used.
– Frederic Clarke Putnam, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, The Templeton Honors College at Eastern University (St. Davids, PA).
What is this simple and sensible method?
Krol brings clarity and ease of communication to understanding the Bible. This book possesses the rare quality of being simple without being shallow. It is at once accessible and yet profound and challenging. It is hard to over-estimate the value of this tidy volume.
– Dr. Tedd Tripp, pastor and author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Knowable Word is all about an old, old Bible study method that has had many names, but today often uses the acronym OIA:
- Observation—what does it say?
- Interpretation—what does it mean?
- Application—how should I change?
You can restate these three steps as “what,” “why,” and “so what.” Or again, as “what the original author said,” “what that meant to the original audience,” and “what it means in our context.”
The OIA method has many benefits. It teaches us to hear the text and respond to it. It trains us in critical thinking and clear communication. It interests postdocs, preschoolers, and everyone in between. It can be learned in five minutes and perfected over a lifetime.
We should use the OIA method when we study the Bible for at least three reasons:
- OIA describes how all communication works
- OIA works for any person anywhere of any age
- OIA summarizes Jesus’ approach to the Bible
Here is an excellent practical guide to interpreting the Bible. Krol has thought through, tested, and illustrated in a clear, accessible way basic steps in interpreting the Bible, and made everything available in a way that will encourage ordinary people to deepen their own study.
– Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary and author of God-Centered Biblical Interpretation
It’s worth it
Jonathan spent a year learning OIA Bible study skills and then helped his small group re-focus on the Bible. Before that, the group would bounce from one study guide to the next, believing themselves incapable of handling the Scripture without expert guidance. But Jonathan suggested they simply read a book of the Bible and discuss it. So they did, and I believe they’re still doing it.
Dorothy received six months of OIA training in adult Sunday school and in the process contracted a contagious love for Scripture. This elderly widow had served faithfully in the church for decades. She believed the gospel and never grew out of her need to hear it preached, but she had grown accustomed to being told what to think and do as a Christian. Learning how to study God’s word herself was like reconnecting with an old friend.
Ming came to know Christ, learned to study the Bible, and wanted to share her new faith with her father, a Communist official back in China. She didn’t have access to any specialized resources, so she simply asked him if he’d like to read and discuss the Gospel of John with her weekly. Armed with a webcam, a broadband internet connection, and the sword of the Spirit, she introduced him to the Word made flesh.
What prevents you from being able to open your Bible at any time and know what to do with it? Imagine if your Bible reading didn’t feel like the perpetual first date, with little more than awkward silence and uncomfortable communication.
The OIA method is more than a good idea; it’s a tool to help you better know the Word, the Truth, and the Life. People with Bibles can learn how to use them.
The Word of God is a feast laid before us. Yet we should be concerned with the Church’s growing inability to enjoy this feast. If we don’t know the Bible, we won’t know the God of the Bible, either. Knowable Word does a tremendous service. It gives us tools to dig into the Bible that go far beyond the most common light and superficial methods. This book is biblically rooted, theologically rich, time-tested, and extremely applicable. Read and use it in your own study, and give it to others in your life and ministry. Enjoy the feast!– Stephen Lutz, pastor and author of King of the Campus and College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture
Read the Foreword by Tedd Tripp.
Disclaimer: The FTC wants me to tell you that I, the author of Knowable Word, will get a small commission if you click a button and make a purchase. While I’m at it, I’ll add that “if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie” (Eccl 11:3). See, even God loves to state the obvious.