Time Out: Studying the Bible by the Timothy method

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

How old were you when you started studying the Bible? When did you first learn how to study the Bible for yourself? Paul tells us that Timothy knew the Scriptures from the time he was an infant (2 Timothy 3:15). He affirms that the Word is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. These four uses of Scripture form a good outline for personal Bible study.

TEACHING: Ask: What does this passage say about God? What do I learn about His character, purpose or power? What does it say about others and the temptations or trials they face? What does it say about ME? Is there any insight into my own sins or struggles?

REBUKING: As you think about the truths you have read, is there any place where you are falling short? If so, where? Why is this happening? Is this sin a root problem, or a symptom of a deeper problem? For example, you may find yourself critical of others. Is criticalness the root problem, or could it be that someone has unfairly criticized you and you are having a hard time forgiving.

CORRECTING: If you see a sin in the passage you are studying, what should be done to correct it? In other words, what is the opposite of the sin? What action or plan will you be taking to correct the problem?

TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: Now that you have seen where you fall short and what you need to do to correct that, what do you need to do to stay on track? How can you make this change a part of your life?

While not all passages will fall into this pattern (promises, for example will not work here), this can be a good way to study Proverbs, Paul’s epistles or even the statements made by Jesus. Howard Hendricks says the only wrong method is the one you use all the time. So if you’re looking for a fresh slant to your Bible study, try the Timothy method.

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

Psalms 19:7-8, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”

John 5:39, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me…”


  • Think of some times when you had a great time of Bible study – what made those times so meaningful?
  • What are some of the strengths of your current personal Bible study method?
  • What are some of the weaknesses of your present way of studying the Bible? What can you do about them?
  • If you’ve discovered something that helps make your Bible time more meaningful please let us know. We’d love to share some of these in future blogs.


Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on June 9, 2008

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