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One of the primary elements in Bible study is observation. Literally, this just means that you take the time to simply see what is in a passage or book that you are studying.
Start with the 5 W's:
Who? Determine who was involved in what was written, who wrote it, who the author wrote it too, etc.
Where? Where is all of this taking place? What do I know about the setting? What do I know about where it was written?
When? When was the book written? When did the events written in the book take place? What was different about that time period from today?
What? What is happening in the passage? What is being written about it? What is the background? What events are taking place around the action? What does the author say about everything?
and Why? Why is this important to the author? What was this passage written? Why is it where it is in the book? Why does it matter?
Use these questions to help you start your Bible study, and watch your understanding and retention jump up astronomically.