How to Study 2 Samuel
You should study 1 Samuel before you study 2 Samuel. In the Hebrew Scriptures they were written as one book and were not divided until later. Second Samuel records David's life from the time of Saul's death until the account of David's later years, and death (which are recorded in 1 Kings). First Chronicles 10 through 29 coves the same period in David's life. As you observe this book, keep in mind what you have learned in 1 Samuel.
As you study 2 Samuel, you need to remember that you are studying a biographical account of a man whose frame is dust, but a man whom God would later say was a man after His own heart. Therefore, as you study chapter by chapter:
Observe each chapter in the light of the "5 W's and an H." Ask questions such as: Who are the main characters in this chapter? What is taking place? Where is this happening? When is it occurring? Why did it happen? Why this response? What are the consequences? How was it handled? How did David (or whoever) respond? Record your insights in the margin.
Mark all reference to time with a ¹. Double-underline in green all geographical reference and locate these on a map.
In chapter 22 and throughout the Psalms, David wrote about the character of God. Watch for the reference to God and wrote note what you learn about God's character and His ways, even as David did.
Watch and see what lessons you can learn for your life. Record these in the margin as you did in 1 Samuel under the heading "LFL" (Lessons for Life)
When you finish each chapter, record the theme or main event of the chapter on Structure of 2 Samuel and in your Bible.
Chapters 1-10: David Becomes King of Judah and Then Israel.
As you read each chapter, in addition to following the "General Instructions," mark the following key words: king, reigned, inquired, ephod, ark, covenant, before the Lord, and evil (iniquity). Write these key words on an index card you can use as a bookmark. As you mark these words, observe what you learn and, in the margin, record any pertinent insights.
When you study chapter 7, give special attention to the Lord's promises to David. This is referred to as covenant in 2 Chronicles 13:5; 21:7. Then observe what David does and how he responds to the Lord.
In 1 Samuel you marked every reference to covenant. In 1 Samuel 20 Jonathan and David make a covenant between their "houses" (families). When you study chapters 4 and 9 of 2 Samuel, keep in mind the covenant David and Jonathan made in regard to their houses and notice how David fulfills this covenant. Also when you study Mephibosheth, remember 2 Samuel 5:6-8. Mark Mephibosheth in a distinctive way.
Chapters 11-12: David's Sins
Make a new bookmark for this segment. Mark the following key words: inquired, ark, evil (sinned, sin), and every reference to fasting.
Carefully watch the progression of events in these two chapters. Note the progression of sin and the things which could have served as admonitions against sin had David heeded them. Also list the consequences of David's sin and how the consequences parallel his sin.
Remember to follow "General Instructions." Don't forget the "Lessons for Life" (LFL).
Study Psalm 51. Note when the psalm was written.
Chapters 13-24: Consequences of David's Sins
Mark the following key words: Absalom, Mephibosheth, inquired, ark, covenant (oath), before the Lord, evil (iniquity), and Spirit. Make a new bookmark for this segment.
Follow the "General Instruction. " Pay attention to who's who in these chapters-there are many characters. Record their names in the margin. Note how they are described and observe the consequences of their actions.
Note who David's children are and how he deals with them. Watch Absalom carefully and keep a running record in the margin of what you learn about him. Record your "LFL" in the margin.
As you study these final chapters, give special attention to David's relationship to the Lord and to what David has to say about God even after God told him He would chasten him. Spend time meditating on chapter 22 and 23:17. When you come to covenant, review what you learned in chapter 7 and add any new insights.
Then complete Structure of 2 Samuel.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in 2 Samuel
Davidic covenant— God’s promise to David to extend his throne and kingdom forever (7:12–16; 22:51; see other references for Davidic covenant in 1 Samuel)
Sin—Israel’s sin created personal and national consequences (6:6, 7; 12:13, 14; see other references for Sin in 1 Samuel)
Messiah—foretold to David by Nathan to be the anointed king who will triumph over all nations opposed to God (7:12–16; 22:51; Matt. 1:16, 17; 1222; Mark 1:1; John 7:42; Acts 2:30-33)