How to Study Godís Word

 

Godís Word is truth

Not that which we want to be the truth

Nor that which we think our God is telling us

Nor that which we try to remember in Scripture

Nor that what our human minds rationalize to be the truth

And certainly not that which the world deems to be the truth

Nor that which our worldly leaders tell us is the truth

The Spirit alone shows us the truth

By opening our eyes as we read Godís Word

To show us how our God would have us live

By continually revealing new truths as we study Scripture

Showing what our God has planned for us, wants us to do

By writing the truth in our hearts

That eternal life comes through faith in Jesus Christ

 

The Word of God is the only reference book we have directly from God. The Holy Spirit inspired leaders and prophets to write the Old Testament. Likewise the apostles and evangelists were under His inspiration as they wrote the New Testament. Only in the Word can we find the truths about our great God. About the saving grace our Savior has given us, what our Lord would have us do, and how He would have us live.

*All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work 2Ti 3:16-17 NIV+

*But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2Pe 1:20-21 NASB+

 

Only through the Holy Spirit can we spiritually understand the Word of God. We must humbly submit to the Spirit, sincerely asking Him to make the Word come alive to us. So we know the will of our God, so we will have the strength to follow it.

*Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 1Co 12:3 NKJV+

*But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Jn 14:26 NIV+

 

Perfect truth is in the Word, but not through human knowledge. We only receive the truth of the Word when the Spirit unveils it to us. The Spirit can help us understand the Word only when we have a change of attitude. When we completely relinquish our human will, our human reason, our human intelligence, and allow the Spirit to rule over our hearts and minds. The Spirit gives us all different gifts as we come into the Spiritual Kingdom of God. We are given the ability to understand what the Father wants us to know, when He wants us to know it, so we may do the works here on earth He would have us do.

*But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Co 2:14 NKJV+

*for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 1Co 12:8 NKJV+

 

The Scriptures were written over a long period of time, often many years after the events. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek. Jesus talked in Aramaic, and many of the early Christian commentaries were done in Latin. Then all of these languages had to be translated into our everyday language. But despite the language obstacles, despite the human imperfection of the writers of the Bible, the Holy Spirit made the Bible the complete truth about our God. Alive with all the knowledge we need to make us holy children of our Father. Below are some disciplines that must be utilized to help us understand and discuss the Scriptures. For without these disciplines we merely float within our own human rational, never allowing the Spirit to reveal specific truths in the Word to us.

*And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;. 2Pe 1:19 NKJV+

*Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2Ti 2:15 NASB+

 

We must avoid worldly beliefs changing the Word.

 

We must not rely on human intelligence to understand our God, as the liberal elite would have us do. Our God choose us to be His children, our meager minds do not have the capacity to find our God, explain what He desires us to do. Our intelligence is too infinitesimally small to ever completely understand the physical world we live in, to create better social values, or save this world from being destroyed. Only our God is all powerful, is all knowing, and has the perfect plan for the world, for all His children. And only when we follow the Word will we find this perfect plan, be given the gifts and knowledge to do the part our Father has chosen for us within this plan.††

* For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise , And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1Co 1:18-20 NASB+

*For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 1Thess 2:13 NASB+

 

We must not be swayed by the ideals, pressures, or pleasures of this world. We must avoid becoming part of the pick and chose generation. Those who chose to follow only the parts of the Bible which fits into their modern lifestyles, the political correctness of this world. Completely ignoring or falsely reinterpreting any passages from the Word which condemns their worldly lifestyle. We are not bound by the world, by its political correctness, but by the spiritual correctness of our God, and this is only found in His Word.

*But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." Lk 11:28 NASB+

*But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 1Jn 2:5 NKJV+

 

We must make sure our beliefs are truths from Godís Word.

 

The Spirit continually reveals more truths to us in the Word. We must grow in the Word, from mere infants being fed the milk of the Word, to adults being fed the meat of the Word. The basic truths about our God, about our salvation through the atoning grace of Jesus will never change, will be strengthened. Yet as we grow in the Word, as the Spirit reveals more truths to us, the realty of our God becomes greater and greater within our hearts. This reality will change previous concepts we had about our God, as we continually grow in the Word. We become better equipped to handle our everyday lives. We will be prepared to handle the trials and tribulations we will face, as the time for the Lord to return draws closer.

*For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. Heb 5:12 NASB+

*Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. Jn 17:17 NKJV+

 

We must not let incorrect congregational beliefs, traditions, or doctrines keep us from the truth of the Word.

 

As the Spirit reveals more truths to us in the Word, our true beliefs will be strengthened. But some long held congregational beliefs, traditions and doctrines may be shown to be inaccurate, or part of the Old Covenant and needed no more. It is hard to grow in the Word when we study it with long held concepts which are not true. Incorrect ideas change our focus on what the Word is telling, keeping us from understanding the real truth.††††

*Jesus answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? Mk 12:24 NKJV+

*But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb 8:6 NASB+

 

Some congregational leaders are slow to accept truths that have now been revealed to them. These leaders accept many points of view to keep peace in their congregations. As they try to keep the numbers up, and the financial stability of their congregations solvent. And many of the congregational members make no effort to read and study the Word. Accepting what they have been taught in the past, accepting what their leaders tell them without ever reading or studying the Word themselves. Searching out leaders who will say what they want to hear, that which allows them to do as they please.

*As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful schemingbut speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, Eph 4:14-15 NASB+

*For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2Ti 4:3 NIV+

 

Yet we can only learn about our Saviorís grace in the Word, and the more we learn, the more we grow. Jesus told us the truth would set us free to become children of God. We should diligently seek out the truth in Godís Word on our own, with others, with a class that searches the truth regardless of where it leads. Never settle for anything less.

*Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jn 8:31-32

*But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Matt 4:4 NKJV+

 

Here are some ideas we can use as we study Godís Word.

 

We should always ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit whenever we read Scripture.

*While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. Ac 10:44 NIV+

*And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:17 NASB+

 

The spiritual context throughout Godís Word must be considered to understand the truths our God would have us know. Our Godís spiritual truths have always been, will always be. They created this physical universe, they alone can explain all the mysteries of how it exists, how we exist on it, and the purpose of our existence. Spiritual truths always take precedent over everything else in determining the meaning in Godís Word.

Context means keeping the intent and meaning of individual verses and concepts, from Genesis to Revelations, consistent, in harmony, in agreement with each other. Godís Word does not contradict itself. The true intent and predominant message through out the Bible must be used to explain less clear passages. Always avoid trying to make the Word contradict itself, instead try and make the Word remain consistent with its spiritual meaning.

Spiritual truths are only in the Word, have only the meaning that the Father intended for them to have. Though many spiritual truths will remain a mystery to us, we must accept that which is revealed to us, will be revealed to us, within the context of Godís Holy Word.

*For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, Col 1:9 NASB+

*for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 1Pe 1:23 NASB+

 

The physical context within all of Godís Word should be used to reveal the physical truths it contains. Spiritual truths tell us what our God is going to do, physical truths tell us how He will accomplish it within this physical world. Always try and avoid making the physical context contradict itself, instead try to keep the meaning consistent through out it.

A secondary confirmation from legitimate Christian history, archaeology, astronomy, and other sciences of the world can be used to help explain the physical truths of the Word. But these confirmations are not needed to prove the truths of the Word. The Word gives us the confirmation of our Godís truths, which is all we will ever need.

*Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2Co 4:2 NIV+

*"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. Jn 17:17 NASB+

 

The Father replaced the Old Covenant of ceremonial laws with the New Covenant of grace. Jesus made us a new creation, replacing the old with the new. The revelations in the New Testament fulfill, replace, and take precedent over Old Testament ceremonial laws.†††††

*In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Heb 8:13 NKJV+

*Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2Co 5:17 NKJV+

 

Concepts, passages, single verses of the Word cannot be explained without confirming verses in the Word.Isolated verses by themselves can easily be taken out of context and redefined by human reason. The Father has always required 2 or 3 witnesses to establish the truth. Without other verses confirming a single concept, single section or verse, we can not establish that it is true. The more verses there are that agree with the meaning of a concept or verse, the more confident we can be that we have the correct meaning.

*This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 2 Co 13:1 NASB+

*But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. Matt 18:16 ASV

 

The Word of God should be used to interrupt itself first. We must first let the Scripture define the meaning of passages, verses, and words written in it. By how they are used, by how they are used in other verses, by how they are used within the context of the Word. Especially to the unique words which are found both in the Old Testament culture times of the Jewish people. And the beginning times of the Christian era in the New Testament. Then secondarily use the word definitions held by society at that time to help determine the meaning of words within Scripture. Providing these definitions keep the meaning, the context, consistent with the rest of the Word.

Changing the meanings of words is a quick easy way to change the meaning of Godís Word, whether intentional or not. Be very careful of those who retranslate the meaning of words in Scripture, especially without looking to how they were used in other verses and sections. This includes those who reinterpret the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek words in the Scripture.Many redefine words in the Bible to express their own point of view, promote their own human beliefs.††††

*as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 2Pe 3:16-17 NASB+

*which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, interrupting spiritual things for spiritual men. 1Co 2:13 NASB+ using footnote

 

We must accept that which we do not understand by faith, until it is revealed to us. Always growing, always learning as the Spirit continually reveals more truths to us. Always accepting these new truths, providing they are in context with all of Godís Word. Consider, remember, the best potential meanings until the complete truth is revealed.

As we grow in the Word, we continually add, correct, and make clearer, the messages on our website. Additions, Corrections

*because of the hope laid up for you in heaven , of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel Col 1:5 NASB+

*When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. Rev 6:9 NKJV+

 

Use different versions of the Word whenever possible to determine its meaning. Once again we should remember our Father requires 2 or 3 witnesses to establish the truth (see 5 above). We use New International Version (NIV), the New King James Version (NKJV), and the New American Standard Version (NASB), along with the two older versions, the King James Version (KJV) and the very reliable American Standard Version (ASV). There are other good versions to consider, including the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and the English Standard Version (ESV). Always read the footnotes and cross verse references in the various versions. We also secondarily use the notes from the NIV study Bible. These notes give us good insights, but there is also much which we do not agree with.

Also use a computer to help search the Word if possible. A computer enables us to analyze the Word as no other generation has ever been able to do.A word search computer program allows us to quickly find the verse we want, other verses which are relevant to it.It is an easy way to verify the way a word, a concept is used through out Scripture. These programs allow us to look at our 5 different versions of the Bible at the same time to compare verses. There are many computer programs available. We mainly use Bible Explorer Premium Edition Volume 4. Make sure any program you use has the 7 versions of the Bible listed above, especially the NIV. We strive to look at Godís Word as it is, as the Spirit reveals the truth to us, using verses from the Word as our reference guide. Not using the commentatorsí, doctrinal, or language translation programs.

*"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." Dan 12:4 NASB+

*And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, Phil 1:9-10 NKJV+

 

Godís Word should be read and studied by all, instead of merely accepting what others say. The Holy Spirit uses the very words of God to open our hearts and surrender our will to Jesus Christ. We must also study Scripture with other believers to grow as we discuss what a great God we have, what He would have us do. Yet Bible classes which openly, rationally, and in love discuss the Word are hard to find. We hope you find one, but if you need we will always be glad to discuss anything in the Word with you. Email us at abidewithchrist@abidewithchrist.org

*For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12 NASB+

 

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Copyright 2008 revised 2011 by Ron Borkey

+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONģ. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

+ NASB "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."

+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."