The following rules for studying the bible show how to "rightly discern and understand" the Word of God. When these principles are followed, you will find the truth of the Bible as revealed by the Spirit of truth. These rules are not designed to justify various doctrinal dogmas of men—but only the true word of God and the doctrines of the Bible that Jesus taught. Thus we can avoid being led astray by erroneous private interpretations of the scriptures. "First you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were moved to speak by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
1) Ask God with prayer to help you understand what you read.
2) Don’t just read the scriptures, take the time to meditate on what you have read.
3) Realize that the Bible is very condensed. Example: "Noah…planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine, and got drunk…" (Genesis 9:20-21).
4) Realize that unless there has been a corruption of the scriptures, each verse has a reason and a purpose for being written at the exact point in the word of God.
5) Understand that some translations may have a bias or editorial notes that do not comply with the true meanings of the scripture.
6) Understand that words and their meanings change through time so they become ambiguous and irrelevant to the understanding of our youth.
7) Understand that dictionary meanings of words may not agree with clear Biblical teachings expressed in the Bible.
8) Understand the context of what is written, there was no original Greek punctuation, nor were there any neither verse nor chapter divisions.
9) Understand who or what is being quoted, don’t be misguided by subject headings nor by marginal notes which may be bias and spurious.
10) If possible understand the culture or historical setting that derives the written words.
11) If the scripture is easy to understand – ask or seek to determine if the rest of God’s written word is or is not in agreement with the scripture.
12) Do not try to make scripture say what it does not explicitly say.
13) Listen to what the word says and what the word does not say.
14) Read, mediate, and study with an open mind –be willing to accept new truth as the Holy Spirit directs you.
15) Do not rely on the teaching from other sources than Biblical scripture because God’s written word is the only standard for truth and a standard for valid belief and actions.
16) As you learn from bible study, be willing to expose any false concepts such as traditional beliefs in Easter or Christmas that you have taken as fact. These cherished beliefs are false pagan practices. Your will see them exposed as man’s vain attempt to influence and corrupt the true teachings of the Bible.
17) Avoid believing something for sentimental reasons or because you were taught by a close relative, seek the truth by studying the scriptures.
17) Be willing to "prove all things" and hold fast to the true meaning of the scripture.
18) Be willing to examine sources for the "original" Hebrew or Greek to seek clarification at times -if the need arises.
19) Realize that Jesus brought a New Testament Covenant with new doctrine that replaces some of the Old Testament requirements and carnal dos and don’ts; such as animal sacrifice, tithing, and other carnal ordinances.
20) Realize that Christ is now our High Priest and we can approach His throne –seeking the Holy Spirit for understanding.
21) Build understanding upon what you have proved to be true.
22) Study with the intent to apply what you have learned as you worship the Creator in spirit and truth as your focus on pleasing and obeying God and not men.
23) Be aware that you are personally responsible for your understanding and subsequent actions as new truth is revealed to you and you must work out your own salvation with reverence to God and His word.
24) Be prepared to suffer ridicule and other trials as Jesus also suffered.
25) Use caution in sharing what you prove to be the truth; the world is not anxious to have their faults and blunders pointed out to them.