Study Helps

 

 

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Spiritual Principles to Understanding God’s Word

 

First: You should have proved that God is a Living God. "…Only a fool would say, ‘There is no God!…’" (Psalms 14:1). If you don’t believe in God –why waste your time reading the Bible? There are definite spiritual principles that lead to a better understanding the Holy Scriptures.

Second: You should apply what you learn to the choices and actions in your life. "The fear (reverence) of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments…" (Psalms 111:10) Keeping the commandments also shows your love for Jesus Christ as He said: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

Third: You should build understanding upon proven and established knowledge you have previously studied and/or read in the Bible. Just who will understand knowledge? Those who take the time to research various passages in the Bible to seek and rightly understand the Bible as a whole: "Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those who are weaned from the milk and withdrawn from the breasts [that is people who are fully grounded, through personal study, in the basics of the Word of God]. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-10).

Fourth: You should examine all related scriptures on the subject seeking to establish sound doctrine. That is exactly how you need to study any scriptural question—look at all relevant passages on any given subject. As Paul said: "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth " (2 Timothy 2:15).

Fifth: You should be willing to search the scriptures to prove whether new information is biblically based. Prove if it is a correct statement of what the scriptures say on a particular subject or point raised or brought as a focus upon. The Bereans searched the scriptures and: "…were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, to see if those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Sixth: You must believe the promises that Jesus gave such as: " God’s word is truth" (John 17:17). And that: "…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you" (John 14:26). "Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, it will guide you into all truth. For it will not speak on its own accord, but will speak whatever it hears and will declare to you the things that are to come" (John 16:13).

Seventh: Beware that the focus of you mind as well as whether you have been baptized and had hands laid on you to receive the Holy Spirit will affect your understanding of scripture: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)" and "To set our minds on the flesh leads to death, but to set our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace. That is why "the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile toward God. For it refuses to submit to the authority of God's law because it is powerless to do so. Indeed, those who are under the control of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not of the flesh but under the control of the Spirit, since God's Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans 8:6-9).

Eighth: God’s Word is not understood by human wisdom or reasoning. It is only through the Spirit of God that the Word of God can be understood. For proper understanding of the scriptures you need help from the Holy Spirit: "But as it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed those things to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. Is there anyone who can understand his own thoughts except by his own inner spirit? In the same way, no one can know the thoughts of God except by God's Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9-11).

Finally: Studying God’s word is very beneficial for advancement towards salvation and eternal life. The value of scripture is stated as such: "…you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

 

Rules for Studying the Bible

 

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.

 

Final Notes of Caution

 

Be aware that there are places where side commentary has inadvertently been inserted into the main text. Be also aware that the scriptures have a few places where men have deliberately perverted the words and true meaning of the written word by adding "glosses" and bias commentary. Examples follow:

A "gloss" is a purposefully misleading interpretation or explanation put into a section of translated scripture. A Catholic Abbot was guilty of a gloss as he tried to deceive others into believing the false concept of the "trinity." It was inserted and appears in 1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." The correct translation is: "And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth" (1 John 5:7).

Another known gloss was done in 1611. The King James translators mistranslated the word "Passover" and deliberately inserted the false word "Easter" (Acts 12:4).

Another recent gloss is in some modern translations that try to interpret new meaning into what Jesus said to "prove a doctrine" that is not based on scripture! The example is found in Mark 7:19: "For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and is expelled as waste." (Thus he declared all foods clean.) The statement: "Thus he declared all foods clean" is not a valid part of scripture and does not appear in more authentic manuscripts.

Another gross error appears in the Catholic Rendition of the Bible where they cut out the command to not have idols or graven (carved) images, so as to excuse their idol worship. They also use the words "revere, worship, venerate, adore," and avoid the word idolize or idolatry in reference to their carved statutes and painted images of their supposedly representation of "deities." Idolatry by any other name is still a sin! They should heed the warning: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen" (1 John 5:21).

Also note that many of the terms used by some "religious leaders" do not occur as a valid part of the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Examples are: Trinity, Christmas, Easter, Lent, Substantiation, Eucharist and other of men’s traditional non-biblical teachings.

Because the flow of scripture as well as other clear scriptures to the contrariwise; it would appear that the scripture "the women must keep silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak out, but must place themselves in submission, as the law also says" (1 Corinthians 14:34) is another gloss.

Another translation (a possible gloss) that appears to be contrary to other examples and biblical teachings is that "a woman must learn quietly with full submission. Moreover, I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. Instead, she is to be quiet" (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

Finally the condemnation by Christ in (Revelation 2:20-21) Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because thou allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not." Notice Christ did not rebuke her for teaching, but rebuked her for what she taught and said that she should repent of her false teachings.

Woman as well as men take heart for God has said, "‘I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ declares the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18).

Christ is our Apostle and High Priest: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1).

We are all equal in Christ: "Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old man with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new man, which is being renewed into full knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Where this happens, there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free person. Instead, Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:9-11).

 

 


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