Many do not read the Bible because they say they cannot understand it. It is important that we understand the Bible because it is inspired of God. 2 Tim. 3:16,17. It is God's handbook for godly living. Titus 2:11-14. We will be judged by the words of Jesus Christ, our Lord. John 12:48. We now offer ten suggestions which will help in understanding the Bible.
First, we need to realize that we can understand God's Word when we read it. If we enter the study of the Bible with the preconceived notion that we can't understand, we probably will not understand. Paul, wrote, "When ye read, ye may understand." Eph. 3:4. It is true some things are "hard to be understood." 2 Pet. 3:16. However, everything we need to know to be saved we can understand. Also, the more we study, the greater our understanding will be.
Second, we must love the truth. Those who have no love for the truth will be deluded. 2 Thess. 2:10-12. God's Word is truth. John 17:17. Sadly, many are more interested in the doctrines of men than the truth of God. Matt. 15:9. Jesus said, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:32.
Third, never give to a more difficult passage a meaning which contradicts a clear passage. In spite of the claims of some, the Bible does not contradict itself. "God is not the author of confusion." 1 Cor. 14:33. Paul said we must give diligence to handle God's Word aright. 2 Tim. 2:15.
Fourth, we need to study with a prayer that we might understand. Knowledge does not come as a result of prayer. The knowledge that leads to faith comes from hearing and reading the Word of God. Rom. 10:17. However, we can and should pray for wisdom as we study God's Word. James 1:5.
Fifth, we study with the desire to obey. We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only. James 1:22. If there are some truths one does not want to obey, he will find a way to get around them. True disciples of Christ must continue in His Word. John 8:31.
Sixth, we must not just take the words of men without investigation. John said, "Many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1. We should follow the example of the Bereans. They "searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so." Acts 17:11.
Seventh, we need to know that God has dealt with different people in different ways during three dispensations. In the Patriarchal Age, He depended upon the head of the family to guide His people. During the Mosaic Age, He revealed the Law through Moses and Old Testament prophets. During the Christian Age, He reveals His Word through His Son and those men to whom His Son revealed the truth. John 1:17; Heb. 1:1,2; Gal. 1:8-12. The things which were written before were written for our learning. Rom. 15:4. But, we now live under the New Covenant of Christ. Heb. 8:6-13. Those who try to live under two Covenants will be confused.
Eighth, we must use a reliable version. Some so-called Bibles are paraphrases and are simply the teaching of the one who is writing. Versions which are the result of the work of many are generally more reliable than those done by one or a few. The standard versions are generally more easily understood and more reliable. We can still learn the truth of God from the King James Version. The American Standard Version is a very accurate Bible. The New King James Version by Nelson Publishers is a good Bible.
Ninth, the use of the following helps will be good as we study. Learn how to use a concordance. (Cruden's is a good one). In so doing we will be able to locate other passages which deal with the subject we are studying. A good Bible dictionary is very helpful. W.E. Vine has a good dictionary, especially of the New Testament. Halley's Bible Handbook will give us the background for the book we are studying.
Tenth, we should make good use of commentaries written by knowledgeable men. One must remember these writers are not inspired. Just as you must compare what a preacher says with the scriptures, so you must "search the Scriptures daily." Acts 17:11. Keep in mind the commentary or the religious leader is not the authority. The authority in spiritual or religious matters is the Word of Christ. John 8:31,32. Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John 12:48. -111 Heather Court, Scott Depot, WV 25560.
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