RSS

Tag Archives: Study Bible

Practices that are a Must in Understanding the Bible

English: Heart shaped shadow cast by a ring on...A. How Can We Understand The Bible? In answering that important question, consider first the preparation necessary for Bible study. You see, the Bible is one book that is written for the heart. Unless your heart is prepared, you will miss the truths and blessings of God’s Word.

1. You Must Have a Regenerated Heart Having been born of the Spirit through faith in Christ – John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The unsaved person cannot understand God’s Word, according to 1 Corinthians 2:14 ” But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

2. You Must Have a Humble Heart – Listening to God as a little child would listen to his father – Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

3. You Must Have An Obedient Heart – Willing to do whatever the Word says, with a deep desire to know God’s Word – Psalms 119:97 “O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” The Christian who sincerely loves God’s Word has no trouble finding time to read it every single day. Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

The first step in getting more out of your Bible study is simply this: open your heart to God and let Him prepare it for the blessings He wants to give you. Let Him cleanse every corner as you confess every sin. Be sure your will is yielded to Him. When your heart is quieted before Him, breathe the prayer of the psalmist: “Open thou mine eyes; that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” (Psalms 119:18)

The second step is this: realize that God has made provision for you to understand His Word by giving you the Holy Spirit. The Spirit wrote the Word – 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (See also 2 Peter 1:21) and is the Divine Teacher to explain the Word – John 14:26, 16:13-15 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you…Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Allow the Spirit to guide you and you will be amazed at the way He will open your spiritual eyes! Of course, this means that you must be on good terms with the Holy Spirit, not grieving Him with disobedience or unconfessed sin – Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” He is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation who will open the eyes of your understanding, accord to Ephesians 1:17-18 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” So allow Him to direct your study of God’s Word.

B. Principles of Bible Study

1. The Accuracy Principle – Be sure that all persons, places, objects, and events are accurately identified, and all words accurately defined, before you interpret a passage of Scripture. You must be especially accurate in identifying persons and places in the Bible. There are 10 different Simons, 4 men named John, 3 James, 6 Marys, and several Herods! Some people have 2 names: Jacob is also called Israel, Levi is another name for Matthew, and Peter is called Simon and Cephas. The Sea of Galilee is also known as the Sea of Tiberias and the Sea of Gennesaret.

The Accuracy Principle also tells you to define Bible words accurately. The King James Version of the Bible was translated from the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in 1611. Since that time, many English words have changed their meanings. Take Hebrews 13:5 as an example: “Let your conversation be without covetousness…” That seems to teach that Christians must never talk about money, but the writer had something entirely different in mind. The word “conversation” means “speech” today, but back in 1611, it meant “behaviour.” This verse simply commands us to live without the love of money controlling our actions. Or, look at Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing…” which seems to suggest we should be careless about everything! Of course, the word “careful” meant “full of care, anxious” back in the 17th Century; so the verse implies, “Be anxious about nothing.”

Strong's on "echad"

Strong’s on “echad” (Photo credit: bismikaallahuma)

To help you understand these old English words you will eventually want to purchase an 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary and/or a Strong’s Concordance of Greek and Hebrew words.

2. The Background Principle – Be sure that you understand the background and setting (context) of a passage before you interpret it. Always study a verse in the light of the entire chapter, and study the chapter in the light of the entire book it is in. Ask yourself these questions:

a. What is the main theme of this chapter?

b. Who is speaking: God, man, satan, angels?

c. Who is addressed: God, man, saints, sinners?

d. When was this spoken or written?

3. The Cross Referencing Principle – Be sure that the Holy Spirit is your ultimate teacher and cross-reference all Scriptures concerning a particular word, doctrine, topic, character, principle, etc. Compile all Scriptures about the subject and believe all the truth about that subject not just part. This type of study is called “comparing” in 1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” and is the method the Holy Spirit honors with His illumination. Cross references in your Bible come in handy. They refer you to other Scriptures that shed light on the same subject. For example, why did Jesus constrain (compel) His disciples to get into the boat and depart after He had fed the 5,000? Matthew 14:22 does not tell us, but the cross reference refers us to John 6:15-21, and here we find the answer. Verse 15 says that the crowd wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him a king! Jesus refused to be crowned by people who were only interested in full stomachs! Never study a verse or passage as an isolated piece of Scripture. Look at it in its setting and study all the passages related to it. That way you will find many of the problems solved and the so-called “contradictions” answered.

Use good sense in interpreting parables, too. Do not try to make everything in a parable mean something unless the Bible warrants it. Look for the main lesson in a parable and the details will give you little trouble. Often the Bible explains the various symbols in a parable such as, “The Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:3-8 “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”

Explanation in Matthew 13:19-23 “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Also the “Vision of the Woman” in Revelation 17. After reading Chapter 17 see how the explanation in verses 9, 12, 15, and 18 “9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” “12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” “15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” “18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

4. The Dispensational Principle – The Bible is divided into at least 12 different ages. We must “rightly” divide the word of truth – 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Some of the laws, rules, rituals, etc. that God expected people to live by in one dispensation (age) were changed in another. Someone who does not know this will think there are contradictions in the Bible. For example, some meats that were not allowed to be eaten in the Old Testament are now allowed in the New Testament.

Here is a look at the 12 dispensations:

a. Eternity Past

b. The Creation – Six days in duration in which God created all things.

c. Garden of Eden – Perfection, Adam and Eve, Very short in duration.

d. Age of Conscience – From expulsion from the Garden of Eden until the flood of Noah.

e. Age of Human Government – After the flood. Man was given the responsibility of capital punishment.

f. Age of the Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (twelve sons).

g. Age of Law of God – Through Moses and the Nation of Israel.

h. Apostolic Age – Day of Pentecost until the completion of the Bible, various gifts, signs, and wonders.

i. Church Age – Overlaps with Apostolic Age until the Rapture of the Church in Revelation 4:1 “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” The Apostolic Age ends at the completion of the writing of the New Testament. I Corinthians 13:8-10 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Some have suggested that the 7 churches of Asia, spoken of in Revelation 2 and 3, represent the past 2,000+ years of church history in exposing the personality of the churches during these years. This seems to be more than coincidental:

  • Church of Ephesus – 1st Century Church – Sound in doctrine and works, but they left their first love – Revelation 2:1-7
  • Church of Smyrna – 100-376 AD – The persecuted church that was poor materially, but really rich spiritually – Revelation 2:8-11
  • Church of Pergamos – Middles ages – Mixed with the world – The heretical Church – Revelation 2:12-17
  • Church of Thyatira – 1054-1305 AD – The Medieval Church – Idolatry – Attached to the world. Spiritual fornication – Revelation 2:18-29
  • Church of Sardis – 1305-1517 AD – The almost dead church – Apostasy – Revelation 3:1-6
  • Church of Philadelphia – Reformation to early 1900’s – The Church in Revival – Revelation 3:7-13. Some churches will continue in this spirit until Christ comes.
  • Church of Laodecia – 1940’s-Present – Apostasy and Humanism – Ecumenical (Global) – Christ is on the outside – Revelation 3:14-22.

j. The Tribulation – Time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble – 7 years long.

k. Millennium – Christ’s Kingdom! 1,000 Years!l. Eternity – Heaven or Hell. Do not allow the difficult portions of the Bible to discourage or detain you. Live by what you clearly understand from God’s Word and trust Him to shed light on the obscure passages in His good time. The test of successful Bible study is not simply how much you learn, but how much you live what you learn. The proof that Christ has taught you is not a ‘big head,’ but a ‘burning heart’ – Luke 24:32 “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Prepare your heart, yield to the Spirit, and apply these basic principles. The Bible will become a new book to you and you will become a stronger Christian!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Eschatology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reading and Studying the Bible

The first page of the Book of Genesis from the...

I really love my Women’s KJV Study Bible. I began studying the book of Joshua this morning, and in chapter one is an article by Roberta Parham Hromas (from Passport to the Bible) that I feel led to share. It fits perfectly with my new series here on God’s Word, this must be more of God’s Perfect Timing! Enjoy!

Perspective – Beginning to Read and Study the Bible

The Bible tells us how to know God…how to find eternal life…and how to experience genuine life in our inner person. It gives health to our souls and tells us how to heal broken relationships. The answers to life’s questions are found in the Bible. But where does a person begin in reading and studying the Bible? Here’s an approach that has been effective in the lives of many people around the world:

Start by reading ten minutes a day. The truth of the Bible is like food for your soul. The Bible will literally become a part of you, and your hunger for God’s Word will increase if you begin reading God’s Word daily. If you find that ten minutes a day isn’t enough to satisfy your spiritual hunger for the Word, try ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening. You may need several ten-minute feedings throughout the day.

Make sure you have a small, readable copy of the Bible that you can carry with you. Ask God to guide your reading. If you have difficulty concentrating as you read, read the Bible out loud.

Read as if God is speaking directly to you. Always look for the personal application.God knows the number of hairs on your head, and he desires to make his Word come alive to you in practical, personal ways. This does not mean that you are the sole source of interpreting the Bible or that you can bend the Bible’s message to fit your own life and your own ideas. Bible truths are eternal and absolute. The Bible spans all cultures, history, social levels, and occupations, all ages, races, and nationalities. But the way in which a particular passage of the Bible applies to your circumstances and your experience is unique to you each day. If a verse stands out to you in a particular way, write it down on a card and carry it with you all day. Read it over and over. Think about why the verse stood out to you.

Five Ways to Study the Bible. In addition to your daily reading of the Bible, discipline yourself to engage periodically in a more in-depth study of the Bible. Here are five approaches to Bible study:   English: Personal bible study Português: Estud...

1. Word and Subject Studies – This approach to study begins with the question, “I wonder what the Bible has to say about…?” The word or topic you choose is the subject of your study! Use a concordance to look up various references from Genesis to Revelation. With pencil and paper in hand, begin to look up references, and as you read each one, write down a few words that summarize what you believe to be a practical meaning or application of the verse to your life. Be sure to look up a number of verses or passages in both the Old Testament and New Testament–perhaps a dozen or more verses or passages. You may also want to look up synonyms (similar words) and antonyms (opposite words). Word and subject studies make great devotional studies to share with others. They reveal the nature of God and God’s “opinion” on a wide variety of problems and issues.

2. Journey Studies – The Bible tells the story of many journeys–both journeys of individuals and the journey of the children of God. A study of these journeys can help us see that life happens in stages…situations do change…and that no circumstance lasts forever. Life has good times and bad times. You may want to study the journeys of these men and women: Joseph, the Children of Israel as they left Egypt, Abraham and Sarah, David, Paul, and most certainly, Jesus. Journey studies lead us to an understanding that life is in constant motion and that natural life has a progression to it.

3. Progression Studies – In progression studies we are concerned with progress in our spiritual lives. The Christian life must have an upward trend so that we are always growing more into the likeness of Christ, closer to God, and upward in spirit. Some very familiar passages may be read in a progressive way that reveals growth toward spiritual maturity, including the Beatitude portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), Psalm 22-24 (which gives insight into Jesus as our Shepherd), Galatians 5:22-23 (one character trait gives rise to the next as we bear the fruit of the Spirit), Ephesians 3:14-19 (a spiritual progression for those who pray with boldness and confidence), 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (for those who are living in the day of the Lord’s return). As you engage in a progression study, read the whole before dissecting the parts. Look for a strong relationship among the verses–don’t contrive a relationship that doesn’t exist; check your progression with other Scriptures; keep in mind that the last verse or last passage must bring you closer to Jesus than the first.

4. Type and Shadow Studies – A rewarding way to study the Old Testament is to look for the people, objects, and events that cast spiritual shadows. These studies reflect “types” of experiences and events that happen to us on a spiritual level today. In themselves, the stories are about Old Testament people and events. The shadows of these stories tell us more about God, outlining for us the nature and working of God on the spiritual level. As such, they tell us a great deal about our spiritual selves and help us understand our spiritual purpose. Type and shadow studies reveal the interplay of the Holy Spirit and Jesus in our lives as we make the steps.

How do these studies differ from Journey and Progression studies?

  • Journey studies show how God works in our natural lives; type and shadow studies, in contrast, show us the master plan for our lives in the context of eternity.
  • Progression studies make us aware of the steps that occur in spiritual growth. A type and shadow study, in contract, tells us how these steps occur and why.

The story of Ruth (Book of Ruth) is a good story for type and shadow studies. (Ask: who is Ruth? Who is Boaz? Who is Naomi?) The way in which God dealt with the Children of Israel in the Book of Deuteronomy makes a good type and shadow study, as do the stories of Esther, Jonah, and Job.

5. Symbol Studies – The Bible has many symbols, including numbers, colors, and tangible objects used as symbols in various places. In many cases, understanding a symbol is the key to understanding an entire story or teaching. Symbols indicate eternal value, eternal meaning, and eternal reasons. For an object to be a genuine symbol, the meaning associated with that symbol must run from cover to cover in the Bible. Among the symbols that make great studies are: gold and silver, wood, crown, seals, stone vs. dust. Objects that are filled with symbols make good studies, including the Ark of the Covenant, Noah’s ark, Nehemiah’s wall, and Daniel’s den of lions. Ask the Holy Spirit to make the meanings of the symbols known to you and be sure to check and cross-check your interpretation of a symbol to make certain that your interpretation is valid. A true symbol does not mean one thing in one place and another thing in another place–it must have a consistent meaning throughout the Bible.

The more you read and study your Bible, the more you will want to read and study it. Its spiritual riches cannot be fully mined in any one lifetime…that’s all the more reason to begin today and continue reading and studying every day for the rest of your life!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Godly Women

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Endure Suffering

I recently decided to approach my daily Bible reading with a plan I found on the Blue Letter Bible website based on the chronological order of God’s Word. I am now reading in Job (yes, more of God’s perfect timing, right?)  🙂 which is the next order of events after Noah and the flood. In my study Bible, in the Book of Job is a chart on what the Bible says about “How to Endure Suffering.” I have learned that the best way I am able to apply what I read to my life is to write about it or share it with others. If this study may help someone else along the way, Glory to God for that. I know that it is indeed growing me in this temporal journey on this earth.

There is a list on the left side of the chart of the wrong ways to endure suffering. I told my husband that, “Gee whiz, I believe I have done every one of those wrong things on that list. Now, I wish to learn God’s right ways of getting through this season of my life. I will study the list on the right side of this chart from God’s Holy Word.”

No. 1 Wrong Way – Demand to know WHY. Boy, when my mother was in the hospital fighting her battle to stay alive, I lost count of how many times I asked God why He would allow this sweet Child of God to endure such suffering. Then when she died, I asked why all her fighting seemed for nothing. Although I believe that it is natural for us in our human flesh to ask why when we witness suffering or when we go through it ourselves, it did not comfort me, nor did it give me the answers I longed for.

I have gotten to the point where I no longer care why any of it happened. I know that Heaven looks much sweeter to me now. 🙂 Another thought that comes to my mind is, “Why not? Must I only accept the good in life and not the bad?”

One of God’s suggested right ways to endure suffering is found in Romans 8:28-30: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Now that I am past asking God why, I take much comfort in being content to know WHO is in charge. How it blesses my soul to know that God “foreknew” me and called me to be His child. Since I chose to answer His call and receive Him as my Lord and Saviour and to be justified by His Son, I will one day be glorified with Him. I can be content in the fact that, yes, I will go through trials on this earth, but look WHO has me in His hand and is preparing me for the future glorification in Heaven with Him and my saved loved ones.

When I saw this Scripture on the right side of that chart as the Right Way, I understood why God had brought this very word to me in the midst of the pain, but I did not let it sink in at that time.

Next time: wrong way: Withdraw from God

May - King James Version of the Bible.

May – King James Version of the Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 18, 2012 in God's Love

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: