I’m about to start my next Precept Bible study and this time my Mom is joining me. She commented that it’s been over 20 years since she had started a Precept Bible Study, and she wasn’t quite sure how to do it anymore. This led me to thinking it might be helpful for others to know how to start a Precept Bible study, and so this post was born. I know this is a bit of a change from my usual Bible lessons, but honestly, this is part of how I get to many of the end productions.
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Supplies for setting up your Precept Bible Study
Obviously, you’re going to need to go to Precept Ministries and order your study. This fall we are doing Kings and Prophets part 9, and Matthew part 1. I think I may have linked to the ESV workbook for one and the NASB workbook for the other.
Some of the other ladies in my group are doing the In and Out Study.
Quick side-note on the study levels
The Precept Upon Precept is the most difficult level of study. It has around 3-5 hours of homework each week. As you get used to how to do it, the amount of work is less, because you figure out how to do it more quickly.
In and Out is the next step down. It is probably 2-3 hours of homework each week. We’ve discovered the main things taken out are the cross-references and the word studies. So, if you want to study a particular book in-depth, then this will get you the in-depth for the book, but you won’t get the Biblical richness.
I’m not very familiar with the New Inductive Series, but it claims to be about 2 hours of homework, my guess is it is more likely 1-1.5 hours of homework. These are a bit closer to a more traditional study, you have a book and you are writing in it, and not so much the color coding your Bible.
There is also a 40-minute study where you complete all of the study right there together, with no homework. I think this could be a good introduction or great for doing with younger kids maybe?
My Mom threw me into the deep-end of doing a full-on Precept Upon Precept study when I was in high school.
Back to the supplies
3 ring binder (I like the 1-inch size, with the clear front so I can slip the study cover in there), Post-it tabs, index cards (you only need 1 per study), Post-it notes, something to color with (I use colored pencils at least partially because I have a lot of them, another lady uses the Twistable colored pencils
Cool extra, but not really needed: Bible Maps, Then and Now, generally speaking the study will include any maps you need, but I like how this map has clear overlays that let you see the modern boundaries to see just where these events are taking place, and there are so many different maps. This one is a nice size because it fits into my Bible case so well.
Oh, that’s another thing you might want.
ESV Inductive Study Bible– the study has any printed chapters of the books you are studying, BUT I like to write all my notes inside my Bible. Which means my Bible looks like this now:
Lots of notes, it’s all marked up, and generally looks like I’ve used it a lot. You can tell by the fact that the imitation leather is being worn thin on my Bible.
This makes me smile. I remember my Mom had my Grandpa’s Bible, and it has the leather wearing thin and falling apart.
Setting up your binder
I’m going to start this by saying everyone has their own method that works.
One of the ladies in my group puts a binder ring through a lesson and keeps it together that way. Another lady uses paper clips to keep each lesson together, and another just sticks it in the binder and is done.
Side note, it really makes me happy to see the random little plastic compartments of the different sizes. There is just something so very very appealing about it.
I tear off the cover, it’s a glue binding, so it is very much designed to be taken apart, so don’t think I’m destroying this really nice book.
It is slid into the front of my clear binder. I keep the cover page, remove the table of contents, how to do a Precept Study, and a few other pages.
Then I grab my post-it tabs and write ONE. Yep, I write out the word, I just like the way it looks. It’s stupid.
I grab my book, tab through the pages to find the end of lesson one, stick my tab on the first page of lesson one, and then stick it in my notebook.
The only reason to pre-separate the lessons is I figured out it makes my life easier. That’s about it.
I then go through and label each lesson.
I then remove the Bible passages, like I said I just write straight in my Bible, but if I didn’t, then I’d be probably moving them to the lesson where we studied that chapter, again makes my life easier.
I put a tab on anything I will be flipping to often, maps, at at-a-glance charts, and historical information. It all gets a tab.
I’ve found you can end up with a lot of flipping back and forth, so this makes my life easier.
Helpful resources that won’t go in your notebook
Now all of this can be found in a few websites, and apps. There are times technology is truly amazing.
- Blue Letter Bible– This website (and app, I use the app on my tablet) replace an entire bookshelf worth of reference materials. You can lookup the Greek or Hebrew words used, find out more about the context, the part of speech or maybe other ways the word might be translated. It’s fascinating. It also has commentaries from various different people over the years.
- Key Word Symbols from Kari Dent– One of the key aspects of Precept is marking up the passage to easily see how often a word shows up. Sometimes the Precept study will have recommendations for how to mark the words, but I like to see how other people do this, and Kari Dent has shared her markings for every single study she has done, which is a lot, so I will check her website to see what she’s done. It gives me ideas
- Bible Project– This is useful to get an overview of the book as you are starting the study. They have short summary videos breaking down what’s going on for every book of the Bible.
- Sonic Light Commentary– These are a pastor’s notes and thoughts on the entire Bible broken down by Bible. It’s a great resource for after you’ve started your study (note I said after), when you need more information because you are still unsure of the meaning.
I thought it might be helpful to see how to use the website, so I looked up a tutorial, and I just found a much quicker way to do the word studies than I’ve been doing. I knew there had to be a better way. Seriously, I love to learn cool new things.
Here’s an entire 30-minute video (I haven’t watched it all yet, because I was searching this up as I wrote the video, but I’m saving to watch it in more detail).
But the Blue Letter Bible is seriously a great resource.