How to do a Geographical Study

A geographical study is the study of a place (e.g., Jerusalem, Egypt, or the Jordan River). It is similar, in many ways, to a topical study. The primary tools for a biographical study are the Dictionaries/Encyclopedias, Maps, Photos, 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 geographical 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 place. In addition to the article text, pay close attention to any scriptures that the article references in addressing the place. What was the significance of this place? What happened here? What role did it play in Biblical history? Are there specific individuals or events associated with this place and, if so, why?

If you have more than one Dictionary/Encyclopedia in your reference library, keep an eye on the (previous/next reference work) 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 place you are studying.

Was there more than one place with this name? If so, be careful to distinguish the Bible references that specifically refer to the place that you are studying. Likewise, was this place known by more than one name? Was the name changed and, if so, what is the significance of the change?

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.

Open a map to the place that you are studying. Look at its location. Is it a port city, or is it inland? Is it nearer mountains or deserts? Is it close to other cities, or fairly remote? How would all of these factors effect life in this place?

You can use one of the newest features of OneTouch® to determine the distance from this place to other places. Begin by holding down the Shift key. While you continue to hold down the Shift key, click (and hold) with the mouse on the place that you want to measure from. Now drag the mouse cursor to the place(s) that you want to measure to. As you move the mouse cursor you will notice that a line is displayed--stretching from the point of origin to the current mouse cursor position--and that immediately next to that is a box that displays the distance. As long as you continue to hold down both the Shift key and the mouse click, you can move the mouse cursor around the entire map, looking at various distances. When you release either the Shift key or the mouse click the distance line will remain fixed at its last point, and the distance will continue to be displayed immediately next to the point of destination.

As you examine the distance to various places, try to picture what the impact of those distances would mean in another culture. In other words, today we jump in the car and drive 5 miles to go to the grocery store and don't think much of it. But what about then? It's approximately 60 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Imagine making this trip on the back of a donkey, and pregnant (Luke 2:4-5)! [By default, distances are displayed in miles. Use Options | Preferences | Advanced Map Distance Units to select United States (miles or feet), Metric (kilometers or meters), or Both.]

Next, open a Topical Bible to the topic for this place (if there is one). Double-click the bm62 (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 place? If the (previous/next reference work) buttons are lighted, they do! Don't forget to look there.

Use the Concordance to find all of the places in the Bible where this place is referenced. Again, be careful when there is more than one place 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 place primarily present in a particular book, in a particular section of books?

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.

Also See:

How to do a Biographical Study for instructions on studying a specific person.

How to do a Scripture Study for instructions on studying a specific passage of Scripture.

How to do a Topical Study for instructions on studying a specific concept.

How to do a Word Study for instructions on studying a specific word.