How to Study the Bible

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Interpreting the Bible

No book in history has the richness of manuscripts as the Bible. No other book even comes close. So we persuasively can say the original biblical documents were inerrant, infallible, and wholly accurate, for Almighty God gave them and He makes no mistakes. Because it came from the mind of the eternal God, it is timeless in its application. We never know when a verse of Scripture may come out of thin air and change our lives. Out of thin air? Well, consider what happened to Andres, the oldest son of Chief Fernando of the Muinane tribe in the nation of Colombia.

As Andres tended his rubber trees in a large section of the South American jungle, he started asking himself questions about life, like where we came from and what happens after death. One night in boredom, he began fiddling with a transistor radio given to him by a rubber baron.

How to Study the Bible - Focus on the Family

Suddenly Andres picked up a sharp, clear signal from Trans World Radio. By strange coincidence, that very evening the moon did not give its light. The young Colombian, deeply stirred, returned home. Andres was spellbound. As we study the Bible seeking its meaning according to sound principles of Bible study, it has a way of speaking to us.

If it is inspired and accurate, it must be relevant.

It is precise and accurate in all it says. It is relevant for all our days.

The Word of God is a light for our steps, a lamp for our pathways, a plumb line for our thinking, and a sure compass for our souls. You have likely never seen nor heard of anyone doing these things in our modern world. But you have read about them in the Bible. The four situations above are examples of why understanding context is so important in knowing what the Bible means.

Or, what did the Bible mean to the audience to which it was originally written? To answer that question, we must become students of context. Instead of excluding Mary for selfish reasons, it was your compassion for Mary that was the focus, but without that context—reasons, tone of voice, body language, relationships—your words could be taken totally out of context. One of the ways people can make the Bible say whatever they want it to say is by taking biblical texts out of their original context.

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Jesus pointed out this hypocrisy in Mark — Why did Paul say those things? There are two possible reasons. First, life in the Roman world was very tenuous for the early church; persecution and trouble were widespread. Basically, Paul instructed the Corinthians to avoid making changes that would draw attention to themselves at that moment, to be content until the crisis of the moment passed. We live now for Christ, not for ourselves. If that requires sacrifice, so be it.

So are we free to marry today and make long-term plans? Of course Ephesians — First Corinthians 7 was addressing specific questions, rooted in context, that the Corinthians had asked Paul 1 Corinthians —and his answers must be read that way. As Christians we must …. Did you hear about the professor who invented a complicated but finely-tuned machine in his garage? The contraption was years in the making. Finally one day an inquisitive neighbor persuaded the inventor to let him peek at it. There it was, an enormous apparatus with gears and belts and flywheels and electronic components with their flashing lights and digital readouts.

How to Study The Bible

With a push of a button, the machine hummed into motion with seamless precision, all the moving parts operating together like a miniature galaxy. This means that the NIV is often more readable and flowing in English, while the NASB is more of a literal, word-for-word approach though given the limitations of English even translations that take the formal equivalency approach cannot literally offer a word-for-word translation because the resulting translation wouldn't make a whole lot of sense in English.

Keep in mind that using multiple Bible translations will sometimes help you understand passages better, but other resources such as Bible commentaries, addressed below, will help you even more. If you have a good study Bible, often these resources are indispensable when it comes to addressing most common questions readers will have. While a study Bible is not essential to in-depth Bible study, it will help immensely by providing what is essentially a mini-commentary on various passages you encounter.

These types of study Bibles are in a sense annotated Bibles, full of notes by various scholars. Commentaries are also quite useful to in-depth Bible study. While commentaries used to be largely available to academic biblical scholars, they are now fairly common in Bible study software. Also, if you happen to live near a Christian seminary, you might look into accessing their library for more in-depth research, as they tend to have numerous commentaries available.

A commentary is fairly simple to use. If you have a question about a particular Bible passage, you consult the relevant Bible commentary and look up the passage and what the commentator has said about it.

Sometimes you will find a great answer to a puzzling question you've had, while other times you will find a blank space in the commentary. If you don't find what you are looking for, you can consult other commentaries or resources. If you are involved in a word study, a Bible dictionary and concordance are quite helpful. A printed concordance will help you easily look up key words and passages where they appear. Reading a different version is a good idea, especially if you are stuck on something complicated like the King James version.

Not Helpful 0 Helpful Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Tips At first it can seem daunting to read everyday. But when you are in the Word, it clears your mind and prepares you for the day. Reading the Bible is a necessary part of this. Don't give up. If you feel discouraged, ask the Lord for help. Pray before you start any Bible study or reading. Ask God to clear your mind and to show you things in His word before you begin reading.

There is a prayer for wisdom and revelation in Ephesians and you can say this prayer for yourself. Make a promise to yourself. Get up a little earlier in the morning for your reading. There are chapters in the New Testament. If you read 3 chapters per day, you will be completed with your New Testament reading in about 90 days. If all you wanted to do is read the whole Bible through, you could read 3 chapters from the New Testament in the morning and 4 chapters from the Old Testament in the evening, you would be through with the New Testament in 87 days.

You would have Old Testament chapters left. If you read 3 in the morning and 4 in the evening until completion you would have read the whole Bible through in about 6 months. However, it is much more beneficial to read 3 chapters per day. Don't worry about how long it takes to read it through. When you begin your study of your Bible ask the Holy Spirit for help. John says that He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance the sayings of Jesus.

I John is similar. There are enough reference books and study guides to fill a library. Don't feel you need to get them all. It would run into the thousands of dollars.

Three Reasons to Study Your Bible

Get what works for your needs. There is a long list below. Don't get overwhelmed. The reason for reading the Gospels out of order is that each identifies Jesus in a different way.

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Also, you don't want to get bogged down in the genealogies in Matthew and Luke right off the bat. Each has a different purpose, and familiarity is helpful Research the version or translation you are going to study with. Is it accurate? Is it just a modern readable version, or is it intended for study? As a means of keeping up with daily reading, you can use a One Year Bible.

It's not for study, but you will go through the Bible in a year which will give you more familiarity with each book as you study it. After you get through the Bible at least once, with the help of a good teacher, read a good layman's guide of hermeneutics and apologetics. They will help you know what questions to ask as you read and study. Studying with friends or family can really help you appreciate and understand the Bible more. Warnings Don't read what every Bible expert says about a topic.

Transferable Concept 11: How to Study the Bible Effectively

You will get conflicting opinions and this will cause you to become confused and give up. Be like the Bereans, and judge everything you hear in the scripture by asking pointed questions and trying the proofs Acts Let the Bible speak for itself. The author God will both reveal and inspire you. Some were translated literally, and some functionally. Read with a broad mind, pray, speak with others, and take the time to try to understand what the original writers' views were.

How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible How to Study the Bible

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