Peter Krol, Tedd Tripp

Knowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible

Paperback, Three Ebook Formats
(6 customer reviews)

Foreword by Tedd Tripp
Learn the basics in a few minutes, gain valuable skills for a lifetime.

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Knowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible, by Peter Krol

Endorsed by Jerry Bridges, Tim Chester, Vern Poythress, Leland Ryken, and more.

Knowable Word offers a foundation on why and how to study the Bible. Using a running study of the first chapter of Genesis, it illustrates how to observe, interpret, and apply the Scripture—and gives the vision behind each step. It also shows how to read each Bible passage in light of salvation history. But besides being just a how-to on Bible study, it fuels the desire to learn and grow through studying the Scriptures.

This book will appeal to beginners, mature Christians who want to improve their Bible study skills, and leaders who long not only to teach but also to equip.

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People with Bibles don’t always know how to use them. They’re good at absorbing and repeating material from sermons, commentaries, and blogs, but they miss the fullness and joy that comes from studying the Bible for themselves. The power to change the world is available, but it goes untapped.

Though study aids are helpful, imagine if your primary ministry curriculum was Scripture itself. You could study the Bible, teach people how to study it themselves, and expect those folks to lead their own Bible studies with their neighbors, coworkers, and friends. Each year, you’d see an increasing number of men and women wield the sword of the Spirit, piercing hearts and drawing the lost to Jesus.

Ordinary people can learn to study the Bible. These people may not have been to seminary. They don’t have much free time. But they love Jesus and want to be more like him. They want to know him.

Knowable Word offers a foundation on why and how to study the Bible. Using a running study of the first chapter of Genesis, it illustrates how to observe, interpret, and apply the Scripture—and gives the vision behind each step. It also shows how to read each Bible passage in light of salvation history. But besides being just a how-to on Bible study, it fuels the desire to learn and grow through studying the Scriptures.

This book will appeal to three kinds of people: 1) Beginners who love God and his Word; 2) Mature Christians who want to improve their Bible study skills; and 3) Leaders who long not only to teach but also to equip.

Knowable Word offers what each group needs: a sensible Bible study method. By learning to observe, interpret, and apply, ordinary people will grow extraordinarily close to Jesus Christ as they learn to study his knowable Word.


Peter Krol has taught the Bible since 1996 both as a collegiate missionary with DiscipleMakers ( and as an elder in both Presbyterian and Independent churches. He’s trained dozens of people to study the Bible. Many of them now train others who, in turn, have begun training a third generation. With each new year, he reads nothing but the Bible until he finishes the Bible — not because it makes God any happier with him, but because it makes him happier with God in Christ.


“I look forward to using this book to improve my own Bible study.”
—Jerry Bridges

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“Peter Krol has done us a great service by writing the book Knowable Word. It is valuable for those who have never done in-depth Bible study and a good review for those who have. I look forward to using this book to improve my own Bible study.”
Jerry Bridges, author and speaker

“At the heart of Knowable Word is a glorious and crucial conviction: that understanding the Bible is not the preserve of a few, but the privilege and joy of all God’s people. Peter Krol’s book demystifies the process of reading God’s Word and in so doing enfranchises the people of God. I warmly encourage you to read it. Better still, read it with others and apply its method together.”
Dr. Tim Chester, The Porterbrook Network

“Here is an excellent practical guide to interpreting the Bible. Krol has thought through, tested, and illustrated in a clear, accessible way basic steps in interpreting the Bible, and made everything available in a way that will encourage ordinary people to deepen their own study.”
Vern Poythress, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary

“This book has three primary virtues and many secondary ones. Its primary virtues are the nobility of its goal (to equip Christians to interpret and apply the Bible), the accuracy of the proposed methodology for interacting with the Bible, and the practical approach to the subject. Additionally, this book does a splendid job of employing the practice of ‘learning by doing.’”
Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English at Wheaton College and author of How to Read the Bible as Literature

“Peter Krol has written a book that many will find helpful in studying the Bible. Not just new believers, but anyone who wants to think about Scripture will find much here that strengthens their ability to read, study, understand, and apply the biblical text. Illuminating illustrations, helpful examples, and good exercises make this a good, solid tool that might be best used in a small group that is either starting to study Scripture together, or that wants to become better readers of the Bible. A book to be recommended, read, and used.”
Frederic Clarke Putnam, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, The Templeton Honors College at Eastern University (St. Davids, PA).

“The Word of God is a feast laid before us. Yet we should be concerned with the Church’s growing inability to enjoy this feast. If we don’t know the Bible, we won’t know the God of the Bible, either. Knowable Word does a tremendous service. It gives us tools to dig into the Bible that go far beyond the most common light and superficial methods. This book is biblically rooted, theologically rich, time-tested, and extremely applicable. Read and use it in your own study, and give it to others in your life and ministry. Enjoy the feast!”
Stephen Lutz, pastor and author of King of the Campus and College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture


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Weight5 oz
Dimensions5.06 × 7.81 in

Cruciform Standard, Bible Study


Print / PDF 978-1-936760-89-3
ePub 978-1-936760-91-6
Mobi 978-1-936760-90-9

US List Price

7.50 Ebook, 9.99 Print


106 pages


Paperback, Three Ebook Formats

6 reviews for Knowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible

  1. Blog Review

    “A brief, quick on-ramp into the world of Bible study.”

    When I was a child, I had an unusual fixation with instruction manuals. I actually enjoyed reading about how to use a toy, game, or electronic device. There was just something about reading a description of how something was supposed to work, and figuring out how to understand the description, comparing to what I was doing, and seeing if I could apply what I just read that I found satisfying, especially if I got a better result than what I had previously achieved.

    I can’t think of any higher compliment about Knowable Word than that it is a good instruction manual that is enjoyable to read and easy to use. Three attributes that distinguish Peter Krol’s book from other books on hermeneutics, or how to interpret and study the Bible, are its brevity, clarity, and practicality.

    Knowable Word is a brief, quick on-ramp into the world of Bible study. There are plenty of tomes on Biblical interpretation. There are books about an abundance of introductory matters about Bible study that never actually get one into the Bible study. Some of these books are hundreds of pages, but Krol’s is only 120. Its length makes it possible to read in a couple of hours. Reading it in a single sitting can help the reader more easily get the whole picture of what the author is saying, and get to work putting the book into practice.

    Knowable Word is a clear book. Its clarity is achieved by its focused vision to present a method of Bible study that is faithful to Scripture, easy to remember, and easy to apply. The three step method? Observe. Interpret. Apply. Krol grounds this traditional “OIA” method in Scripture, showing how Jesus used this methodology to point out things to His hearers (Matt. 21:42-44). He also shows how it works in normal human communication, as we see something, consider its meaning, and then choose a response based on what we have seen and interpreted. Krol also gives an overarching vision of the Bible as a book that points us to Christ. He takes us to Luke 24 to show us how Jesus viewed Scripture as pointing to Himself, and challenges us to look for themes that relate to the suffering and death of the Messiah, the need for repentance and forgiveness of sin, and the proclamation of the good news to all nations (Luke 24:46-47).

    Krol’s writing style is direct and straightforward. He does not get bogged down with a myriad of alternative views of scholarly theories, but focuses on explaining the OIA method in a simple manner.

    The author primarily limits his examples of Bible study methods to Genesis 1, which he takes on its own terms, rather than importing ideas foreign to the text to shape his interpretation. This approach remains consistent throughout the book. We do not have to constantly change gears to other types of literature as we are learning the method.

    Krol gives clarity by way of contrast. He argues that familiarity is our biggest enemy to observing what Scripture actually says, since we are not as active to observe that which we believe we already know. Presuming that we understand something is an obstacle to discovering the right interpretation. The inertia in our lives makes it difficult to want to budge and dig into the hard work of application, which leads to change.

    Knowable Word is a practical book. Krol quickly and clearly shows us how to put our Bible study into practice. He focuses both on our internal beliefs and character as well as our outward actions toward others. Examples from his own life, as he applies his study of Genesis 1 to his own aversion to home improvement projects, are illuminating and give good suggestions for us to think about when applying the Scripture. The book also provides exercises and access to printable worksheets for working through the phases of observation, interpretation, and application, with suggestions of the things we need to look for and consider.

    Krol’s book is a great instruction manual for reading the Bible. It doesn’t go on forever, but gives you the basics so you can jump right in and start studying. It doesn’t over-complicate things, but is clear in its instruction. It’s practical, and you can immediately see the usefulness of the method Krol explains. Knowable Word is thorough and clear enough that you can read it once and remember its gist as you put its principles to work. Yet, it is a good reference to go back to when needing to remind yourself how you can dig deeper.

    Knowable Word is a helpful resource that can introduce readers to basic Bible study methods they can learn “in five minutes” and master “over a lifetime,” as Krol states in chapter 1. I plan to use this book to help others of all ages learn how to study the Bible for themselves, in hopes that they will better know Jesus and pass this method on to others as well.

    DISCLAIMER: I received a free eBook of this title from Cruciform Press in exchange for an honest review.

    Doug Smith, Gazing at Glory

  2. Blog Review

    “I encourage this book for any Christian who needs a refresher or a beginning approach to studying the Bible.”

    In Knowable Word, Peter Krol has written a very short, readable, and reproducible book on the most important topic of study there could ever be: The Bible. I am confident that biblical illiteracy is a major reason for church declines over the past decade or so. Many people think that the Bible is foreign or irrelevant. Even worse, a lot of churchgoers think they know “enough” of the Bible because they know some of the key verses. Krol encourages his readers to not be afraid of the Bible and to read it…A LOT!

    The strengths of Krol’s work is the approach and examples he gives the reader. He writes as if you are in his office or meeting with him over coffee for discipleship. Through the book he goes through Genesis 1:1-2:3 using the inductive study method of Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Along the way through the process of breaking down the text, looking at key words, repetition, etc, Krol gives forms and outlines that the reader could easily and quickly adapt to help them in their studies. Even better yet, Krol has a whole website/blog dedicated to the the to topic of the book.

    My favorite line from the book is:

    God’s knowable Word smashes like a jackhammer and repairs like a blowtorch. It rips us apart and puts us back together. It identifies exactly what is wrong with the world: me and you. It shows us the solution: Jesus. It gives us hope that we can break the patterns of brokenness and replace them with more life-giving options. Let it speak to the details of your life.

    The more we read the Bible the more we are changed, which is why I encourage this book for any Christian who needs a refresher or a beginning approach to studying the Bible.

    No book is perfect of course. Krol does give an example of how Genesis 1 was basically applied to his life. Though not wrong, I disagree with some of the conclusions and observations he has on Genesis 1 and the way it applies to us today. I also would have liked to see more emphasis given to the meta-narrative or overall story of the Bible as a way to help readers begin to read and understand the Bible. He briefly mentions it in the last chapter but it is more of an afterthought. Finally, though Krol does encourage his readers to read the Bible a lot I felt that he put the bar too high and then provided little direction. Which then, in the end, may discourage his readers from even trying. He could have encourage a progression of reading long chunks of Scripture and then given direction on how to read the Bible with the “Big Picture” in mind, but in this work he primarily stinks to the OIA method instead.

    Again, any work on helping people understand and read the Bible is worth reading so I do recommend that you read this work, and moreso I pray it encourages you to read the Bible more.

    It’s Worth the Effort!

    Josh Tillman, Grace. Love. Fellowship.

  3. Amazon Review

    “You’ll be able to see that it is possible for us ordinary people to understand the Bible!”

    There seems to be a deluge of books on the word of God recently, first came the Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung. Then came Knowable Word by Peter Krol. I’m looking forward for more books in this area. I do seriously think the current generation needs to read more and more of God’s Word. Knowable Word is a great introduction for anyone to do just that. The main aim of the book is to help people read and understand the Bible by themselves.

    Krol first begins by telling the audience why we need to study the Bible, showing us various ways people have studied the Bible, and finally introduces his method, the OIA.


    Krol then goes on to show each and every step, giving clear examples and explanation on the objective of each of the “steps.” Although this book is meant really for relatively new Christians, Krol also highlights dangers that we might bring into each study before we even begin. This would be very helpful for those who have been studying the Bible for quite some time.

    What’s great about this book is that unlike other OIA methods, this one wants you to see and observe how the passage you’re studying is related/leading to Christ.

    Littered around the book are also helpful exercises that help the reader to see and apply what they learn on the spot. Krol also consistently uses the same, simple passage (Genesis 1-2:3) throughout the book to let you have a feel of how everything would be like if you had used this method consistently.

    Although this might not be the one and only book you’ll ever need to interpret the Bible carefully (for example genres were not discussed in great depth), this is an excellent start for any Christian to help them see that they can and should study the Bible by themselves and for themselves.

    Why not buy a copy, and try these methods out yourself and/or with a friend? I’m sure you’ll be able to see that it is possible for us ordinary people to understand the Bible!

    Chris Ho, in a 4-star review on Amazon

  4. Blog Review

    “This is not just for newbies. I highly recommend it.”

    Imagine walking into an Italian restaurant and learning that pizza was not on the menu. Aside from the understandable wails of grief and loss, how would you respond? You would be shocked! After all, for Americans, pizza seems foundational to an Italian menu. Many such restaurants are judged purely on the quality of their pies. A restaurant without pizza lacks something vital for the ongoing health of the business.

    So it is with a Christian who does not study the Bible. Since Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, nothing can be more important or foundational to the Christian life than understanding the Bible. The Bible is crucial for our understanding of God, ourselves, our world, and how we are to live. And yet, for all its importance, individual Bible study is not a widespread practice. Christians, when they do read the Bible, usually read briefly and lightly, perhaps more concerned with fulfilling their Christian duty than understanding and applying what God has said. Some Christians depend on pastors or authors to explain what the Bible really means and they feel unprepared or unable to face the text themselves.

    Peter Krol wrote the book Knowable Word to help “ordinary people learn to study the Bible.” Whether you are a Christian who has read and studied the Bible for years or you are coming to the Bible for the first time, this book will provide just the assistance you need. Though I am familiar with the method Krol teaches, I learned and gained much from the book. This is not just for newbies. I highly recommend it.

    At the heart of Knowable Word is the OIA (Observation, Interpretation, Application) method of Bible study. Though this method is known in other circles by other names, Krol makes a convincing argument for its value over and against more common ways people approach the Bible.

    As Krol discusses the steps of the OIA method, he punctuates each explanation with an example. (He returns to Genesis 1:1–2:3 throughout.) The descriptions were thorough and the instructions were easy to grasp. I also appreciated the cautions Krol gives—what dangers might arise as you begin OIA? What might stand in your way of seeking the Lord at each phase? How can you avoid getting sidetracked?

    The book is thoroughly practical. Krol has designed simple worksheets to help with each phase of Bible study; these appear throughout the book and are also available on the author’s website. I recommend printing them out and using them during the first few times that you study the Bible using OIA.

    Though Krol models each step of Bible study for the reader, a shining strength of the book comes in the section on application. All along, Krol guides the reader to understand the main point of Genesis 1:1–2:3. When the time comes for application, Krol shows just how extensive and far-reaching our application of the Bible can and should be. Would you believe that several paragraphs in this section are concerned with home improvement projects?

    The phrase that recurs in my mind when summarizing this book is “helpful tool.” An engaged reader will find here many aids not just for personal growth in Bible study but also for preparing to lead small groups. I plan to consult the book frequently when I teach an adult Sunday school on Bible study at my church in the fall.

    I love that this book is self-consciously not an end in itself. Over and over again, Krol points us back to the Bible. If we only read his book and do not begin to implement his recommendations, we have not really read the book. I love how this book pushes me, equipped, with hope, to study the Bible with the express purpose of seeking and knowing God through Jesus Christ.

    Ryan Higginbottom, A Small Work

  5. Amazon Review

    “It’s one of those books you read and keep revisiting”

    The book clearly engages readers like myself in learning to study the Bible. I was very refreshed through reading it and have actually changed a lot of the ways I personally study the Bible as well as lead a Bible study.

    It presents many specific examples and detailed questions to ask along the way to flush out observations, interpretations, and applications during a Bible study. The chapters on Biblical application were really helpful because sometimes that can be the hardest part.

    One of the most impactful lines for me: “When studying a Bible passage, you might make an interpretive connection to Jesus, but your work is not yet done. Your application must also derive from Jesus and his saving work.” I think it’s sometimes easy to just stop at simply connecting to Jesus. The book really challenges us to go further into how the gospel has specific impact to the application.

    Awesome book. I would recommend this to everyone. It’s one of those books you read and keep revisiting to refine your Bible study techniques over a lifetime.

    Kathryn Wesner, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  6. Amazon Review

    “This is not just a read-it-once Bible study book. It’s the kind you keep on your shelf and reference often to hone your skill.”

    Have you ever read a book on how to do Bible study, but came away feeling more confused and less motivated? Often the training guides give great amounts of information but do a disservice in failing to provide motivation and equipping for the excellent enterprise of Scripture study.

    That’s where Peter Krol’s book Knowable Word shines. It is concise, clear, and accessible. It doesn’t water down concepts or principles of Bible study, but instead makes them easily understandable and DO-able.

    Peter Krol has done the hard work of filtering through mountains of difficult-to-understand Bible study guides to summarize and present to you the refined gold. This is not just a read-it-once Bible study book. It’s the kind you keep on your shelf and reference often to hone your skill. It’s the kind you go through with young leaders to train them in a lifetime of Bible study.

    This book is not the prize, but it will outfit you to reach the prize. If the goal of life is to know and enjoy Jesus, then Peter Krol’s book is a solid resource for training you to reach that goal by knowing Jesus through His Word. Some books are like a cafeteria, they present the food hot and ready to eat. Knowable Word is a cooking class, teaching you how to prepare the food of the Word for yourself and others. Dig in!

    Andy Cimbala, in a 5-star review on Amazon

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