Seven Reasons Why Outlines are Helpful

Recently, I added another section to the “Theology & Exegesis” page. It consists of links to outlines I have drawn up of several books of the Bible (more will be added later). I hope you will be able to make use of them, and that they will aid in your understanding of Scripture. The outlines attempt to give the main idea of the author’s argument and/or purpose in writing each section and then analyzes how these sections relate to and make up the whole of his work. Here are seven practical reasons why creating such outlines are helpful for Bible study.

  1. Outlines force readers to articulate brief, helpful summary statements for each passage/section of the biblical book, and then prepares him/her to articulate those summaries to others in biblical discussions or evangelism opportunities. In short, they help the Christian to tell others what the Bible teaches and where it does so.
  2. Outlines help very detail-oriented, atomistic readers to see better the larger picture in the biblical narrative or argument, and thus grasp the main purpose(s) of a book. For example, each cycle in the book of Judges (Israel Rebels; Enemies Attack; Israel Cries; God Responds Mercifully; Land has Rest), when read together, paints a larger picture of now-Canaanized Israel’s need for a covenant-keeping king.
  3. Outlines aid in Scripture memory because they enable one to memorize the main point of complete sections of the Bible as well as how the individual memory verses fit into the larger picture. John 3:16, for instance, will thus include an understanding of the work of the Spirit, the Son’s mission, and the wrath of God that abides on all who reject 3:16’s message about them.
  4. Outlines act as quick reference guides (that have been memorized by the way) when searching for a verse or section of Scripture that might encourage a discouraged brother/sister, or address a difficult situation with another person, or answer an unbeliever’s question, “What does the Bible say about…?”.
  5. Outlines serve preachers and teachers by helping them map out how many sermons they should expect to preach after choosing to work through a certain book. The structure of the biblical book, then, shapes the sermon series and helps to prepare him to speak and the people to listen.
  6. Outlines, when developing them, force people to read the entire narrative, psalm, letter, etc. multiple times, in their parts and as a whole; and rereading the text (esp. in large blocks) is never a bad thing.
  7. Outlines look really neat and organized, and both of these are very cool 🙂

3 Responses to “Seven Reasons Why Outlines are Helpful”

  1. Book Outlines « Larger Needle…or Smaller Camel Says:

    […] Bret makes available some of the items he works so hard to produce. Of particular note are his book outlines. As of now, he has outlines available for the entire books of Joshua, Romans, 1 Corinthians, […]

  2. drjmarkh Says:

    yes, very cool!

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    jobs asia austaralia europe…

    […]Seven Reasons Why Outlines are Helpful « For His Glory[…]…

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