Here are some sample passages:

Matthew 5:13-16

(Note that a short passage is chosen here because it forms a natural section.)

Matt 5:13-16

Salt and Light


  1. The disciples are the salt of the earth which is useless if it has no flavour.
  2. They are the light of the world which cannot be hidden any more than a city on a hill can be.
  3. A lamp in a house is always put where it gives light.
  4. So must the light of your good works shine, to God’s glory.


The previous verses (the beatitudes) describe the character of a Christian, so this must be what is meant by the good works in v. 16


The disciples were to be like salt and light in their witness to the world, so that men glorify God when they see them.


I ought to make it more obvious at work that I’m a Christian, by showing the character of Christ better in my life.

Psalm 79

Note: This psalm is not an easy one because of the curses hurled at God’s enemies. It is not necessary to fully understand this in order to learn from the psalm. Also note that because it is a psalm, the context of the previous psalm is not necessarily relevant, so the historical context is given instead, if it can be determined.

Ps. 79

God’s people cry to him


  1. The nations have come into Jerusalem, defiled temple, and made God’s people a laughing stock.
  2. How long will you be angry with your own people?
  3. Be merciful to us and forgive us for our sins, for the sake of your name; so that the nations will not question your name.
  4. Hear the groaning of your people and return vengeance on your enemies.
  5. We are your people, your sheep. We will thank and praise you forever.


After the destruction of Jerusalem.


Even in a terrible situation, God’s people  can have confidence in him because he is a God who takes care of his own people.


My present difficulties should lead me to praise God, as in v. 13 because I know he looks after his people.

Ephesians 1:1-14

Sometimes the passage will not easily divide into four or five sections, and so you must be flexible. The following example illustrates this.

Note also that there may be more than one message in a passage, and a vast number of applications.

Eph. 1:1-14

Blessings in Christ


  1. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, in the heavenly places, in Christ.
  2. Chosen in him to be holy, predestined by him to the praise of his grace, redeemed in him according to riches of his grace, told mystery of his will, in him all will be united, made heirs in him for the praise of his glory, having trusted in him, sealed in him by Holy Spirit, to praise of his glory.


This passage fits in with the message of Ephesians which is about God’s great purpose and goal for the church through Jesus Christ.


All our blessings come through being joined to Christ and have a purpose—that we should bring praise and glory to God.


I must be more conscious that I am nothing and have nothing in myself, but because I am joined to Christ I have tremendous blessing.

Genesis 20:1-18

Here a longer portion of text is taken since it is a complete account. Each point therefore covers several verses and gives a bare outline. Note that the context refers back to Genesis chapters 15-18 rather than the previous passage.

Gen 20:1-18

God Keeps Sarah Pure


  1. Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife and Abimelech marries her.
  2. God keeps Abimelech from touching her, and reveals to him that she is already married.
  3. Abimelech confronts  Abraham who says he was afraid.
  4. Sarah is restored to Abraham with many gifts.
  5. God hears Abraham’s prayer for blessing on Abimelech.


God had promised that the Saviour of mankind would come through Sarah. Satan would have thwarted this plan if Sarah had children by  Abimelech.


God’s plan of salvation will triumph over all obstacles and is not dependent on men for success.


What a wonderful comfort it is to know that my salvation does not depend on my own works but is secure in God’s purposes.