C.I.A Method of Bible Study


As a woman, when it comes to Bible Study, I tend to look for emotionally stimulating Bible Studies. But I have learned something lately that has transformed my way of studying the Bible. It is called, the C.I.A Method of Bible Study.


C.I. A Stands for Comprehension, Interpretation, and Application. The reason this is so important is because it helps guide your study in a way most people fail. The biggest mistake people make when studying the Bible is failing to read the context and read repetitively.

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I like the way this writer put it:

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"Imagine yourself receiving a letter in the mail. The envelope is hand-written, but you don’t glance at the return address. Instead you tear open the envelope, flip to the second page, read two paragraphs near the bottom, and set the letter aside. Knowing that if someone bothered to send it to you, you should act on its contents in some way, you spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to respond to what the section you just read had to say. What are the odds you will be successful?

No one would read a letter this way. But this is precisely the way many of us read our Bibles. We skip past reading the “envelope” – who wrote this? To whom is it written? When was it written? Where was it written? – and then try to determine the purpose of its contents from a portion of the whole. What if we took time to read the envelope? What if, after determining the context for its writing, we started at the beginning and read to the end? Wouldn’t that make infinitely more sense?"

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So, C.I.A stands for the three critical stages of understanding: comprehension, interpretation and application:


Stage 1: Comprehension Remember the reading comprehension section on the SAT? Remember those long reading passages followed by questions to test your knowledge of what you had just read? The objective was to force you to read for detail. We are going to apply the same method to our study of God’s Word. When we read for comprehension we ask ourselves “What does it say?” This is hard work. A person who comprehends the account of the six days of creation can tell you specifically what happened on each day. This is the first step toward being able to interpret and apply the story of creation to our lives.


Stage 2: Interpretation While comprehension asks “What does it say?” interpretation asks “What does it mean?” Once we have read a passage enough times to know what it says we are ready to look into its meaning. A person who interprets the creation story can tell you why God created in a particular order or way. They are able to imply things from the text beyond what it says.


Stage 3: Application After doing the work to understand what the text says and what the text means, we are finally ready to ask “How should it change me?” Here is where we draw on our God-centered perspective to ask three supporting questions:

• _What does this passage teach me about God? • _How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self? • _What should I do in response?


A person who applies the creation story can tell us that because God creates in an orderly fashion, we too should live well-ordered lives. Knowledge of God gleaned through comprehension of the text and interpretation of its meaning can now be applied to my life in a way that challenges me to be different.


I hope you found this helpful! Comment below on how this helped you and what your favorite methods of Bible Study are =)

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