How to Study the Bible, by Watchman Nee


After we have a general grasp of all the books of the Bible, we should choose a few books and have an in-depth study of them. This requires intense research on our part.

For the Old Testament, at least we should study Genesis, Daniel, and the Song of Songs. If possible, we should add another book from the Pentateuch to this list, either Exodus, Numbers, or Leviticus. As for prophecies, we may want to add Zechariah. Isaiah surely has special value, but many of the prophecies in that book have been fulfilled already. Zechariah is like Daniel in that many of its prophecies are not yet fulfilled. This is the reason we suggest it.

For the New Testament, we have to take up four books at least: Matthew, Romans, Ephesians, and Revelation. These are the basic books. If we have time, we can also study the Gospel of John and 2 Corinthians. If we familiarize ourselves first with five or six books, and then slowly add more to the list, we will have an in-depth knowledge of ten or twenty books within ten or twenty years.


Many people have said that the Bible is a book that is specifically on Christ. The purpose of the Bible is to lead men to the knowledge of Christ. Throughout the Old and the New Testament, there is a line on Christ. We can find Christ in Genesis. In 1:26 there was a meeting of the Godhead to discuss the creation of man. Verse 27 shows us how He created man and woman in His image. Since verse 26 says “Let us,” verse 27 should use the pronoun their. Yet verse 27 uses the pronoun his. Clearly, his refers to Christ, for He is the only One in the Godhead who has an image. Therefore, in the actual creation, man was created in His image.

Genesis 3 speaks of the seed of the woman. Matthew 1 shows us that the son of Mary was the descendant of a woman. All the way from Genesis to Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we find the Bible full of Christ. We see Christ in the story of David. We find Christ among the books of the pre-captivity prophets like Isaiah and Jonah. The books of the prophets in captivity and those who returned from captivity are also full of Christ.

We find Christ not only in the prophecies but in all of the ceremonial laws. Both Genesis and Leviticus speak of offerings. Even after the building of the temple, there were still the offerings. First, we see Christ in the offerings and sacrifices. Second, we see Christ in the laws pertaining to the cleansing of leprosy, the cleansing with the ashes of the red heifer, and the purification of the priests. Third, we see Christ in the priesthood, in the priests’ garments, and in their duties performed before God. Fourth, we see Christ in all the feasts.

Many persons also typify Christ. Some typify Him explicitly. Others typify Him by correspondence. What does it mean to typify Him explicitly? The Lord Jesus said, “Behold, something more than Solomon is here” (Luke 11:31). This shows us that Solomon is a type of the Lord Jesus. The Lord also said, “For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt. 12:40). This is an explicit statement that Jonah is a type of Christ. Galatians 3 explicitly shows that Isaac is a type of Christ. Joseph, however, is not an explicit type. Although some parts of Joseph’s experience correspond to that of Christ, we cannot find one place that speaks of Joseph typifying Christ. Therefore, not only can we find persons who explicitly typify Christ, but we can find others who typify Him by correspondence. Adam, Noah, Joseph, David, and Jehoshaphat all belong to this category.

There are other types of Christ, including manna, the bronze serpent, the tabernacle, Jacob’s ladder, etc. In the Old Testament Christ is also typified by the two birds, the two kings, the two priests, and the two forerunners. The two birds typify death and resurrection respectively. The two kings typify war and peace respectively. The two priests typify earthly things (Aaron) and heavenly things (Melchisedek). The two forerunners relate to the exodus from Egypt and entry into Canaan. All of these are types of Christ.

In the New Testament, we find Christ’s history, teachings, miracles, and prophecies. In Acts we see His reign today. In the Epistles we see His indwelling. In Revelation we see His reign in the future. It is a good exercise to trace the line of Christ all the way from Genesis to Revelation.

(How to Study the Bible, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)