Chapter By Chapter

Have you ever started reading a book of the Bible, and realized it’s like thirty chapters long, and wondered how you would ever make sense of the whole thing?

I get it: some books of the Bible are intimidating. And even the short ones aren’t always easy to understand, or to remember. Adding structure to your reading will help you understand and remember what you’ve read. Better yet, you’ll create a resource you can use for years to come, whenever you return to that chapter or book.

Chapter By Chapter is a simple framework for breaking down any book of the Bible into manageable chunks.

Keep reading to learn exactly how to keep track of each chapter.

Quick-Start Guide

For each chapter, you’ll write down just three things: a summary, what it means in context, and a significant verse. Limit yourself to 33 words for each piece. That way, every chapter summary is less than 100 words. (Confession: sometimes I cheat on the length. You can, too. Just don’t tell anyone.)

Let’s look at an example from the book of Mark. Start by reading the chapter all the way through. Pay attention to who is involved, what they do and say, when it happens, and where they are. Turn that into your summary.

After you finish reading, if a verse jumped out at you as particularly important, or relevant, or just pretty, write that down.

The meaning comes last. Where does this chapter fit into the whole book? How does it relate to the previous chapter, the next chapter, and the whole story? (If the summary is who, where, when, and what, meaning is why.)

Here’s what it looks like when I put it all together. Your results should be different.

The beginning of Jesus's ministry. John the Baptist baptizes Him, and Satan tempts Him. Jesus calls disciples, preaches, prays, and heals in Galilee.
Jesus is anointed by John and by God as the Messiah and prepared for His ministry by the temptation of Satan. He begins his ministry in Galilee.
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."—1:15


From time to time, I’ll post the results of my personal Chapter By Chapter studies here. You are welcome to use them as study guides for your own reading, or for examples as you build your own.

Old Testament

New Testament