1. Read the context before and after the verse. Keep in mind that there are grammatical aspects, such as paragraph, genre, punctuation;
2. Pick out what might be key words/phrases.
3. Ask, “Who is this written to?”; “What is their situation?”
4. Ask, “What is prompting the writer to write this to these recipients?” IOW, what is the writers purpose?
5. Define the words according to normal definitions.
6. Look for the truth being taught by the writer to his recipients;
7. Ask, “How does this truth, according to the writers intent, apply to me today?” Application is always the last step, and can NEVER come before proper interpretation.