How to Do a Historical, Cultural, and Theological Study
Research the Background information on the book in which your
passage is found in an introduction on the Old or New
Testaments and in the introduction chapters of commentaries.
In the New Testament, one of the best is Donald Guthrie's
New Testament Introduction. In the Old Testament, one of
the best is R. K. Harrison's Introduction to the Old
Consult references such as those in the center or side margins
to find other passages in the Bible which might provide
historical background to your passage.
For cultural information consult Everett Ferguson's
Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Other volumes to consult
include Merrill Tenney's New Testament Times and R. K.
Harrison's Old Testament Times.
Note cultural information found in commentaries and if
possible check out any primary references for yourself.
Commentaries are notorious for inventing cultural background
information. Good sources for checking primary references
are the volumes in the Loeb's Classical Library. The
Mishnah by Danby is a good primary source for Jewish
backgrounds in New Testament times.
Consider the theological implications of the passage under
consideration. Do these seem to agree with or disagree with
the presuppositions that you already hold?
Consult a scripture index or topical Bible (such as Nave's
Topical Bible) on topics found in your passage. Look up the
passages and try to formulate a wholistic teaching on the
subject. Ask how the passage under consideration fits into
this scheme. Ask whether similar passages from the same
author that wrote the passage you are studying have a
different emphasis from other passages on this topic.