How to do a Biographical Study
A biographical is the study of a person (e.g., Christ, Joseph, or Deborah). It is similar, in many ways, to a topical study. The primary tools for a biographical study are the Dictionaries/Encyclopedias, Topical Bibles, and the Concordance. Of course, at the core of the study is the Bible itself.
(Note: The following description is one possible way to conduct a biographical study using the tools available in the OneTouch® library. There are literally dozens of variations. Bottom line: become familiar with the tools that are available to you and use them to explore!)
Begin by opening a Dictionary/Encyclopedia to an article on the desired person. In addition to the article text, pay close attention to any scriptures that the article references in addressing the person. What was the significance of this person? What did he or she do? Did their actions, or lack of actions, play a role in Biblical history? Who did he or she interact with, influence, and effect? Who was he or she related to? What significance did that(those) relationship(s) have?
If you have more than one Dictionary/Encyclopedia in your reference library, keep an eye on the (previous/next) buttons on the lower toolbar. When these buttons are lighted it indicates that there are other Dictionaries/Encyclopedias that have reference material for the current topic!
As you work your way through the background material, and particularly as you read the related scriptures, consider comparing different versions of the same verse (click anywhere in the Bible pane--to give it the "focus"--then use the buttons, on the lower toolbar). Often this will provide additional insight into the person you are studying.
Was there more than one person with this name? If so, be careful to distinguish the Bible references that specifically refer to the individual that you are studying. Likewise, was this person known by more than one name? Was their name changed and, if so, what is the significance of the change?
Next, open a Topical Bible to the topic for this person (if there is one). Double-click the (scripture list) button next to any meaningful subtopic, to pop-up the list of related scriptures.
Do other reference works in this category have information on this topic? If the (previous/next reference work) buttons are lighted, they do! Don't forget to look there.
And don't forget about the SMARTLinks™ portion of the NavPanel — these are your shortcuts to all other related information throughout your OneTouch® library, and are invaluable in just about any type of Bible study that you perform.
Use the Concordance to find all of the places in the Bible where this person is referenced. Again, be careful when there is more than one individual by the same name (a fact that should have been revealed in the Dictionary/Encyclopedia articles that you studied).
What do these scriptures have in common? Is there a concentration of occurrences? In other words, is the person primarily present in a particular book, in a particular section of books? Is this person mentioned in the testament other than the one in which he or she is primarily recorded? Either prophetically in the Old Testament or by reference in the New Testament? Is this individual used as an example of some trait (either good or bad)?
When appropriate, use one or more of the other study methods to take your Bible study deeper, as detailed in the Help topics listed below.