Yesterday I mentioned that the first and foremost question in Bible study is, “What does it say?” That is the question of observation. Good observation takes time. It takes concentration. It takes looking past the surface to the structure and vocabulary of a passage. Smelling the verbs.
You probably know Acts 1:8. May even have it memorized. In Prof Hendricks’ class on Bible study at Dallas Seminary, one of the first assignments was to make 50 observations on that verse. The next assignment was to make 50 more… and on… The record when I graduated in 1991 was somewhere in the order of 650 observations. That took a minimum of 13 days to do. Observation takes time. In order to do it well we have to slow down, not speed up. There are some things we can look for that will make our examination of a passage more effective. But there is no substitute for time.
There is a classic piece on observation click “In the Laboratory with Agassiz,” to read it.