Why Study The Bible? and How to: (#1 of a series)

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Google has only 86,200,000 results to answer this question. Let’s try to get into a fraction of it today. If you prefer to LISTEN rather than read I suggest you open this link.  https://www.thetrumpet.com/radio/live-by-every-word/episodes/71-benefits-of-bible-study

If you prefer to read (as I do) here’s today’s lesson.

based on notes from:  https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/371-effective-bible-study-an-urgent-need-for-everyone

Value of Bible Study-1  You’ll find several articles numbered discussing this important topic.

based on notes from:  “Effective Bible Study — An Urgent Need For Everyone.”ChristianCourier.com By Wayne Jackson

It was never the will of God that direct, supernatural communication — from heaven to earth — be a perpetual phenomenon throughout this planet’s history. Rather, “the things of God” (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11) were to be committed to a series of inspired documents. The collection we have of them today are called The Holy Bible. There are other extra Biblical documents which some of us read and find beneficial. The Holy Scriptures were designed to provide men with all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), and to furnish devout students completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Let me remind you, this refers to the Old Testament because those who wrote this did not have a New Testament. That came finally into hand written form at the behest of Emperor Constantine after approximately the year 315. Some changes were made to the collection and finally the King James combined Old Testament (Tanach/Torah = 24 books) and New Testament (27-books) in year 1611.

If you visit here: https://www.biblegateway.com/ you see a listing of Old Testament, New Testament and Apocryphal books which still lacks for the Book of Enoch, Book of Jasher, see this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocrypha  you can find many more! The Catholic Fathers finally settled on the entire canon of 66 books in 1546. Many of the Apocrypha tell nothing more than what is in your Bible.

The term “Apocrypha” commonly appears in Christian religious contexts concerning disagreements about biblical canonicity. Apocryphal writings are a class of documents rejected by some[who?] as being either pseudepigraphical or unworthy to be properly called Scripture, though, as with other writings,[which?] they may sometimes be referenced for support, such as the lost Book of Jasher. While writings that are now accepted by Christians as Scripture were recognized as being such by various believers early on,[when?] the establishment of a largely settled uniform canon was a process of centuries, and what the term “canon” (as well as “apocrypha”) precisely meant also saw development. The canonical process took place with believers recognizing writings as being inspired by God from known or accepted origins, subsequently being followed by official affirmation of what had become largely established through the study and debate of the writings.[4] The Catholic Church provided its first dogmatic definition of its entire canon in 1546, which put a stop to doubts and disagreements about the status of the Apocrypha.[5]

If you do not have a Bible you can download a free copy of my NIV copy with a few of my notes in it. You’ll find it and many other books and articles free for you HERE> https://heavensway2022.com/the-major-directory-of-articles-by-topic-copy-updated-daily/

It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the value of the Bible to the human family. The most brilliant minds of history have praised the “Book of books.” Our second president, John Adams, called the Bible “the best Book in the world.” Lincoln characterized the Scriptures as “the best gift God ever gave man.” Sir Isaac Newton thought the Bible to be “the most sublime philosophy” known to humanity. The list of laudatory testimony is almost endless.

The Value of Bible Study

There are multiple values inherent in a study of the sacred Scriptures. Meditate upon the following.

(1) The Bible is the only source of valid knowledge as to the origin of the human family. The baseless theory of evolution is so riddled with such a vast variety of factual inaccuracies that it assaults the analytical ability of any thinking person (see Mastropaolo). Darwinism stands in bold contrast to the sublime Genesis record of human commencement. My site HeavensWay2022.com and many others provide articles from the best of many scientific disciplines proving that Darwin’s THESIS has been upgraded to a modern fantasy. Good science continue to return to the conclusion that God created the universe and all life before genetic alternations began. (I do occasionally wonder about mosquitoes but there must have been a good reason for the dangerous life forms too.)

(2) The Scriptures provide the only explanation for man’s purpose upon the planet. David Hume, the Scottish skeptical philosopher, wrote:

“Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence and to what condition shall I return? . . . I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty” (Smith, 553).

(3) Aside from the illumination of the Bible, man’s future would be but a dark, terrifying enigma. When Pierre Curie was killed in a tragic accident, his wife, the renowned Madame Marie Curie, who had abandoned her earlier faith, exclaimed: “Pierre is sleeping his last sleep beneath the earth; it is the end of everything, everything, everything” (Curie, 249). When the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the body, the Lord informed them that their problem, in part at least, was their ignorance of the Scriptures (Mt. 22:29). It is only through the gospel of Christ that “life and immortality” have been fully revealed (2 Tim. 1:10).

(4) Without a knowledge of the Bible, human beings are bereft of any religious or moral compass to direct the affairs of life. You can look at modern (year 2018) society and see this in action. Younger people have been given an entirely different schooling compared to mine (I was born in 1950.) They don’t study “Civics”—a law course. They have been ordered to leave all Christian study material at home. They can’t even wear a pin on their jacked indicating their interest or belief in Christian thought. The society is breaking down. There are more people miserable, using dangerous drugs, even committing suicide, using strangers for lovers like cats! They don’t love anyone. Many raid stores en masse, steal a lot of stuff rushing out, society has become such a mess industry has moved abroad, employment is difficult to find, many sleep homeless on the street or in abandoned buildings.

Take a look at this prediction from The Bible:

Godlessness in the Last Days

3 You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them!    2 Timothy 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Does this describe the society we see today? I think it does! The modern western world has lost its ethical foundation. In my older years now I spend most of my life in South East Asia. I feel safer, and find more old fashioned kindliness and Judeo-Christian ethics here than in the US!

Evolutionist George G. Simpson of Harvard wrote: “Discovery that the universe apart from man or before his coming lacks and lacked any purpose or plan has the inevitable corollary that the workings of the universe cannot provide any automatic, universal, eternal, or absolutely ethical criteria of right and wrong” (Simpson, 180).

If there is no absolute moral code, every man becomes his own “god,” and may write his own ethical rules. In that event, chaos prevails, because every man entertains a “way” within himself that “seems right” to him (Prov. 14:12).

(5) Without an objective code of conduct, that stands apart from our own conscience, we do not have the sufficient motivation for exalted living. David stored the word of God in his heart that he might not sin against his Maker (Psa. 119:11), because, as Jeremiah observed, “it is not in man that walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). Moreover, without adequate information concerning “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22), we become the victims of religious confusion.

Some Procedures for Effective Bible Study

Effective Bible study is not a random process; rather, it is a science. The following suggestions are made for those whose goal is efficiency in their investigation of God’s Word.

(1) Sometimes it can be helpful to know something of the author of a biblical book or passage. While this is not always necessary (Hebrews was left anonymous purposely), such information can be beneficial.

For instance, the most extended discussion of the virginal birth of Jesus is in Luke’s Gospel record (2:7ff). Since a “virgin” birth had never occurred before, it is comforting to know that Luke, a very careful historian (1:1-4), was also a physician (Col. 4:14). If a scientist could be convinced by clear evidence that the virgin birth of the Lord really occurred, one may have firm confidence in the reliability of the historical narrative.

(2) Frequently it is imperative that the student know something of the background of a particular book or passage with which he is dealing, if he is to appreciate the full impact of the text.

Unless one understands, for example, that Jeremiah was attempting to prevent Judah from having to suffer the Babylonian Captivity, or that Ezekiel was warning his people against the false hope of an early return from Chaldea, he scarcely appreciates the thrust of these inspired documents. In studying Psalm 51, which is saturated with tears of penitence, it is helpful to know the background story about David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11 & 12).

(3) One needs to have some familiarity with the nature of the book he is studying. Is the document historical narrative (Genesis)? Is it poetical in form (Psalms)? Is it largely characterized by prophecy (Isaiah)? Is it highly charged with symbolism (Revelation)? A host of errors have resulted from a failure to distinguish between the different styles of biblical writings.

Some, in order to accommodate evolution, have viewed Genesis 1 as poetry; others have attempted to literalize the figures in Revelation (e.g., the 1,000 years in chapter 20). Such approaches have been responsible for significant confusion in the religious community.

(4) One of the most important factors in Bible study is a consideration of the context. Without a knowledge of context, the student can be in a maze of confusion.

For example, why does Paul advise against marriage in First Corinthians, chapter 7 (vv. 8,27,38,40), when elsewhere the Scriptures teach that it is “not good” to be alone (Gen. 2:18), and that marriage is desirable (1 Tim. 5:14)? One must understand that the apostolic counsel provided in the Corinthian narrative was in view of an impending distress (an era of persecution; see vv. 26,29,32,35,38,40). The inspired advice was never intended to apply with equal force, in every place, and at all times.

Here is another example. A consideration of the data in Acts 10 and 11, and the unique circumstances associated with the conversion of Cornelius (and the introduction of the first Gentiles into the church), would correct the common error that “Holy Spirit baptism” is a divine gift to be experienced throughout the entire Christian age. Context makes a world of difference in such a case.

(5) One of the crucial principles of sound Bible study is that of scriptural harmony. The Bible, as the verbally inspired revelation from God, will be consistent in all its instruction. Thus, the sacred narrative must be studied synthetically, i.e., the teaching of the Scriptures on any given subject must be brought together. Various contexts dealing with a particular theme can provide the fullness often required to understand a subject more completely.

For instance it requires a consideration of several contexts to discover that the Lord’s supper involves: the eating of bread and fruit of the vine; on Sunday of every week; in memory of the body and blood of the Savior; as a pledge of the Lord’s final return (cf. Mt. 26:26ff; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23ff, etc.).

If one does not understand something of the principles of methodical study, he cannot gain the maximum benefit from his endeavors.

Practical Habits for Bible Study

In addition to the “mechanics” of effective study, it is helpful to think also along the lines of study habits. I would like to offer some suggestions that have been helpful to me across the years.

(1) If at all possible, create for yourself a special “study” in your home. In a spare room, the attic, the basement, etc. — find yourself a “study nook” that can be yours. Furnish it with a comfortable chair, a desk, good lighting, and some book shelves. Make it your special place and plan to visit it regularly on certain days of the week (e.g., an hour each morning before work time).

Early morning is really the most ideal time for study. Discipline yourself to get in the habit of regular study. This is a difficult chore. If one is not preaching, teaching a class, or engaged in some activity that demands research, it is hard to carve out the time — particularly if it is a labor, rather than a love. But if one gets into the study mode, virtually every day, it will pay rich dividends — not only in his personal life, but in qualifying him to help others.

In addition to devotional reading in the Bible itself, for example, one might select a popular (as opposed to technical) commentary that he will read through in the coming year. I try to keep a good book handy to read whenever I have a spare moment away from regular duties. For instance, if I know I am going to have to spend time in the doctor’s waiting room, rather than browsing magazines, I may take a book with me.

(2) Every Christian should build at least a modest library of good books. Handy tools, such as a complete concordance, a Bible atlas, some biblical dictionaries or encyclopedias, a few good commentaries, some volumes on Christian evidences, church history, etc., are vital for a well-rounded range of knowledge. One should subscribe to at least a couple of good brotherhood periodicals — those that teach (as opposed to merely haranguing).

(3) Study the Scriptures from several different vantage points. Survey biblical books. Galatians falls into three natural divisions:

Personal – A Defense of Paul’s Credibility (1-2); 
Doctrinal – Justification through the Gospel (3-4); 
Practical – Walking by the Spirit (5-6).

Explore the biographical data of great Bible characters. Articles in Bible dictionaries (e.g., The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary) on Abraham, Joseph, Jesus, and Paul will enrich your life. Learn to do “word studies.” Words are the vehicles of intelligent communication. Even the non-specialist can learn something of the treasures of the original languages of the Bible.

(SN: Most Americans speak Amerieze. They don’t know English. They learned what they know speaking to mother and friends and watching television. The very idea that they should open a dictionary and learn definitions of words “puts them off” {is repugnant.} If you don’t know the word definition you misunderstand sentences, paragraphs, entire chapters, an entire book! You’ll fall asleep over your reading because you don’t understand what you’ve read. Make opening the dictionary are regular part of all reading for at least a year.

Every time you get sleepy while reading go back about 5-lines and find a word you know you really cannot define. Look it up, use it in sentences, make it your own. suddenly you’ll wake up and as you continue you’ll clear away more and more of these definition problems and gain much more from past and future study. Don’t try to argue I’m playing semantics games. The truth is, you don’t know your language and you must study to understand it! People who brag they never open a dictionary are bragging that they are functionally illiterate! Don’t you be one of them anymore!)

(4) In this day of mobility, a good student can take advantage of good Bible lectureships by listening to tapes as he drives about from place-to-place. It is important to utilize every possible opportunity to learn God’s word. The Christian who is ever learning will become a valuable resource to the congregation of which he or she is a member.

(YouTube has many lectures from good pastors. Download the Torch browser and learn to copy and save lectures to hear when it’s more convenient, or simply click the “watch later” note at YouTube, or copy/paste/save the address of lectures you want to hear later. It’s there for you and free. We are in the last days. All too soon these resources will no longer be available to us. Get them while you can!)

The Preacher and Study

Here’s a comment relative to the preacher and his study habits. The man who stands before the congregation to preach to lost souls and to edify his kinsmen in the Lord, should overflow with the riches of Sacred Scripture.

Unfortunately it is the case today that too many preachers desire (or are strongly encouraged) to become proficient in everything but the Bible. They are office efficiency experts, church flunkies, visitation specialists, counselors, education directors, errand-boys for the elders, etc. Some (or all) of these chores may be quite necessary in their place, but they are not the work of a gospel preacher.

Every preacher must engage in his own spiritual activities (e.g., as visiting the sick, helping those in need, etc.), but that is not his principal area of emphasis. As someone has said, “The work of the preacher is threefold: to preach, to preach, and to preach.” I would add to that: “To study and preach, to study and preach, to study and preach!”

(Yes! And preach the Bible and the coming Kingdom of God. Do not live to gather in more money. Do not preach a replacement theology or a new “prosperity gospel.” Preach God’s Truth!)

Elders should encourage their preachers to spend more time in seclusion, studying and storing up great segments of information so that when they mount the pulpit, they are able to draw vast resources from the library of their minds. In such cases, the audience becomes excited about the beauty and value of God’s written truth. I have, on occasion, spent hours digging out a golden nugget of truth (which may take only a minute or so to present) in the hope that it will challenge my brethren to deeper study. This is what results when teaching the Mind of God becomes a passion rather than a profession. When the preaching and teaching are stagnant, attendance will eventually decline. Moreover, a studious preacher provides the sort of example that inspires greater Bible study within the congregation.

Do not presume that a huge congregation indicates better preaching. It might indicate an apostate church and a lot of people being entertained. In earlier times the great apostles worked for their living and preached on off hours. When your church becomes a business, it’s time to leave and open your own little church!

Conclusion

We cannot but mention that if the church of today was a more studious body, she would not be plagued with as many problems as she now encounters. Knowledge is a powerful antidote to error. Let us encourage one another to return to the thrilling adventures within the Word of God.

Related Articles
Works Cited
  • Curie, Eve (1937), Madame Curie: A Biography(Garden City, NY: Doubleday), p. 249.
  • Mastropaolo, Joseph (1999), “Evolution Is Biologically Impossible,” Impact, November, #317.
  • Simpson, George G. (1951), The Meaning of Evolution(New York: Mentor, 1951), p. 180.
  • Smith, Wilbur (1945), Therefore Stand(Boston: W.A. Wilde Co.) quoting David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature.
Scripture References

2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 22:29; 2 Timothy 1:10; Proverbs 14:12; Psalm 119:11; Jeremiah 10:23; Acts 9:2, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14, 22; Colossians 4:14; Psalm 51; 2 Samuel 11; Genesis 1; 1 Thessalonians 1; Genesis 2:18; 1 Timothy 5:14; Acts 10; Matthew 26:26; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23

source for most of this article 

Jackson, Wayne. “Effective Bible Study — An Urgent Need For Everyone.”ChristianCourier.com. Access date: January 5, 2019. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/371-effective-bible-study-an-urgent-need-for-everyone. (With Dr. Newdell’s additional comments here and there.)

WHY STUDY THE BIBLE SERIES

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