Disciplines for Studying Godís Word

 

We can understand the Word more clearly by using 12 simple disciplines.

Basic examples of how to use each of these disciplines are located below the 12 disciplines.

 

1. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, that He would reveal to us what our Father would have us know. The intent in the heart is more important than the words you speak, for our God what knows what you want, what you need, before you even speak. Yet our God always desires to have us come to Him with our praise, prayers and requests.

 

2. Our Godís spiritual plan of salvation defines what is happening in His Word. Our God loves us, created us, and sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins, so we could be His holy children once more. This spiritual truth is consistent, interprets what is happening throughout the Word, should be considered before anything else.††††

 

3. The newest writing or revelation, takes precedence over the older writings of the Word when they disagree. For the Spirit continually reveals more to us.††††††

 

4. Know who is talking and whom they are talking to.

 

5. Know if the events in the verses we are reading have happened, are happening, or will happen. See if these events have foreshadowed, given additional revelation to what has happened, is now happening, or will happen.††

 

6. Concepts, passages, and verses need to be in context with the rest of the Word to be considered true. Do not accept oneís interpretation, or allow them to expand the meaning of a verse, without other confirming verses. The Word does not contradict itself; we must keep the meaning of verses within the context of the entire Word of God.

 

7. The Word should first interpret itself; by the way words are used in it. Especially to word meanings which are unique to the Word, and are given a distinct meaning by it. Words which are self defined within Scripture, should never be replaced with word definitions of the secular world.††

 

8. Stories, parables, symbols, illustrations, and actions define the meaning of what is being said more clearly than the words which are used.†††

 

9. Many words and phrases are used for to describe the same person or event. It can be hard to understand who or which particular event is being referred to. We have must determine what person is being referred to, or what is happening by the context in which these words are used.

 

10. Godís Word defines the physical events which take place in it. The Word does not need confirmation from any other source to prove it is correct. Yet information from legitimate Christian based history, archaeology, astronomy, or other means can be used as secondary help in understanding the Word. Providing the meaning derived remains in context with all of the Word.

 

11. Different translations of the Word should be used to compare verses, to help us find the correct context and meaning of them. We use 6 different translations, 5 word for word literal translations (listed in order of being most literal): American Standard Version (ASV), New American Standard Bible (NASB+), English Standard Version (ESV+), King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV+), and one word by word, and thought for thought translation: New International Version 1984 translation (NIV+). And do not use paraphrase translations of Godís Word. For a paraphrase is only the author using their own thoughts, their own words to completely rewrite the Bible.

Note: The 1984 New International Version of the bible is no longer being published, is hard to purchase, and it is now easy to confuse with the newer 2011 New International Version of the bible; for both go by NIV. We will continue to use the 1984 NIV because the 2011 New International Version uses less literal word by word translation and more thought for thought (human interpretation). NIV+ only refers to the 1984 NIV translation on our website, the + notes its copyright at the bottom of the page. If you want a 1984 NIV Bible try looking on the internet for it.

 

The premium edition of Bible Explorer 4 computer word search program we use in no longer being produced, one can try finding it on the internet. Or go to wordsearchbibles.com/ basic (does not have the 1984 NIV+) and pick a word search program which has the rest of the 5 Bibles above, which can be individually purchased and downloaded for no cost to a minimal cost.

A word search program can instantly find any word which is used in Godís Word, and shows us all the verses it was used in. These programs can bring up 5 or 6 different bible translations in boxes on the same computer screen, at the same time, so we can compare them all together. Cross references and footnotes are also available depending on which programs you choose to help us follow the context of the Word. Always read the word of God first, before you read any commentaries, so you can have an open mind on what the verse means. We are not the sharpest tack in the box. But with the help of the Spirit, with the help of a computer giving us the ability to instantly find words and verses in 6 translations of the Word, we can learn much about our great God, His great love for us.

 

12. Then we must accept that which we cannot understand by faith. Using the best potential meanings until the Spirit reveals the complete truth to us.

 

Simplified general examples to understand how to use them:

 

1a. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, that He would reveal to us what our Father would have us know. The intent in the heart is more important than the words you speak, for our God what knows what you want, what you need, before you even speak. Yet our God always desires to have us come to Him with our praise, prayers and requests.

#Example:

ďHoly Spirit, we thank and praise you for opening our hearts, our minds to the great love our God has for us. As we read and study Godís Word, teach us the truths our Father would have us know, so we may continually enrich our lives, as we love and follow our Savior. Grant us the ability to put aside our sinful will, our human thoughts, and our preconceived ideas, so we can accept the truths you continually reveal to us in the Word. Even those which the world will not accept, even those differing from traditions we have long been taught. Give us the faith to accept those things in the Word which at this time we cannot understand. Knowing You will continue to reveal all we need to know, at the time we need to know it, until we are taken to Heaven. To God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be all honor and glory. Amen.Ē

 

2a. Our Godís spiritual plan of salvation defines what is happening in His Word. Our God loves us, created us, and sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins, so we could be His holy children once more. This spiritual truth is consistent, interprets what is happening throughout the Word, should be considered before anything else.††††

#Example:

Jesus was not killed by crucifixion as demanded by the Chief Priests, and carried out by the Roman government. Jesus freely gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. If any one killed Jesus it was us, for each and every one of our sins forced Him to die on the cross as atonement for them. Jesus blood alone can forgive our sins, make us holy children of God, opens the gates of Heaven to all who will believe.

*Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. Mk 15:15 NASB+

*"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" Matt 26:53-54 NASB+

*and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph 5:2 NIV+

 

3a. The newest writing or revelation, takes precedence over the older writings of the Word when they disagree. For the Spirit continually reveals more to us. Jesus fulfilled the New Covenant (New Testament) so the Old Covenant (Old Testament) ceremonial laws are needed no more.†††††

Example:

Our Heavenly Father told Israel there were certain animals they were not to eat, for they were under Old Covenant ceremonial laws. In the New Testament our Heavenly Father tells Peter that he did not have to abide by these laws, Peter could now eat of all things. This is confirmed by Paul. There is no argument between the Old and New Testaments, the new replaces the old.

*and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat!" But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." Again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. Ac 10:12-15 NASB+

*men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 1Ti 4:3-4 NASB+

 

4a. Know who is talking and whom they are talking to.

Example:

When someone is talking we must know whom they are talking to. When Jesus tells His listeners to obey the Pharisees, He is talking to the Jewish people who at that time were under the law. Not to us who are under His grace.

*Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. Matt 23:1-3 NASB+

 

5a. Know if the events in the verses we are reading have happened, are happening, or will happen. See if these events have foreshadowed, given additional revelation to what has happened, is now happening, or will happen.††

Example:

The Passover Meal was an Old Covenant feast which foreshadowed Jesus as the lamb who was slain as atonement for our sins. It also foreshadowed the Lordís Supper which Jesus would institute before His crucifixion, which we still participate in today. The Lordís Supper foreshadows the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This will happen when our Savior returns, gives us glorified bodies and brings us into His Fatherís Kingdom.

*And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; Lk 22:15 NASB+

*And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt 26:26-28 NKJV+ 

* But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." Matt 26:29 NKJV+ 

*Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" Rev 19:9 NKJV+

 

6a. Concepts, passages, and verses need to be in context with the rest of the Word to be considered true. Do not accept oneís interpretation, or allow them to expand the meaning of a verse, without other confirming verses. The Word does not contradict itself, we must keep the meaning of verses within the context of the entire Word of God.

Example:

Satan used a single verse out of context trying to deceive Jesus. Jesus merely used another verse to put the correct context on what the Scriptures said. We should do likewise.

*Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"Matt 4:5-7 NIV+

*"You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. Dt 6:16 NASB+

 

7a. The Word should first interpret itself, by the way words are used in it. Especially to word meanings which are unique to the Word, and are given a distinct meaning by it. Words which are self defined within Scripture, should never be replaced with word definitions of the secular world.††

Example:

Israel was baptized, united together with Moses as their mediator, as Godís chosen people. This symbolizes how when we are baptized with water we are united with those in the church. Israel was not immersed in water, which is the secular worldís definition of baptism. Only Pharaohís army chasing Israel was immersed in the water.††

*For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 1Co 10:1-2 NASB+

 

8a. Stories, parables, symbols, illustrations, and actions define the meaning of what is being said more clearly than the words which are being used.††

Example:

Symbolism explains what is meant when Jesus is called the Lamb of God, more than the words themselves. In the Old Covenant a sacrificial lamb was sacrificed as the means by which the sins of those who believed in God were forgiven. Jesus became our sacrificial lamb with His one time sacrificial death on the cross as atonement for believersí sin forever. In the New Covenant of grace, Jesus blood has become the only means by which the sins of believers can be forgiven, no other sacrifice or works will ever be needed.††

*Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Lk 22:7 NASB+

*The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Jn 1:29 NKJV+

 

9a. Many words and phrases are used for to describe the same person or event. It can be hard to understand who or which particular event is being referred to. We have must determine what person is being referred to, or what is happening by the context in which these words are used.

Example:

There are two Lords, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus. It is not always easy to know which is being referred to.

*David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' Mk 12:36 NIV+

 

10a. Godís Word defines the physical events which take place in it. The Word does not need confirmation from any other source to prove they are correct. Yet information from legitimate Christian based history, archaeology, astronomy, can be used as secondary help in understanding the Word. Providing the meaning derived remains in context with all of the Word.

Example:

We know that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, but the Word does not tell us the exact time. Gold coins have been recovered showing King Herod reigned until 4 BC. This helps us to understand Jesus could not have been born after 4 BC. He was probably born between 4-6 BC.

*Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, Matt 2:1 NKJV+

 

11a. Different translations of the Word should be used to compare verses, to help us find the correct context and meaning of them. We use 6 different translations, 5 word for word literal translations (listed in order of being most literal): American Standard Version (ASV), New American Standard Bible (NASB+), English Standard Version (ESV+), King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV+), and one word by word, and thought for thought translation: New International Version 1984 version only (NIV+). The 1984 version is no longer being published; the NIV 2011 has replaced it. We will not use the NIV 2011 because it uses less literal word by word translation and more thought for thought (human interpretation) in it. It is getting closer to the paraphrase translations we do not like. For a paraphrase is only the author using their own thoughts, their own words to completely rewrite the Bible. Without using the words the Holy Spirit guided the original writers of the Word of God to use. Paraphrase translations of the Word Bibles should be avoided.

We use the premium edition of Bible Explorer 4 computer word search program. Using this program we can bring up and compare 5 or 6 translations at the same time, on the same computer screen. This program has a word search program, which instantly finds a word wherever it is used in the Word, helping the Word to explain itself. Cross references and footnotes are also available on some of the translations we use, and should be used to help us understand what is being said. We do not have to be the sharpest tack in the box. But with the help of the Spirit, with the help of a computer giving us the ability to instantly find words and verses in 6 translations of the Word, we can learn much about our great God, His great love for us.

#Example:

By using different translations we can find the clearest and best translation of verses. KJV translation of the Bible incorrectly tells us in 1Corinthians 13:13 that charity, loving other people, and freely giving to them is greater than having faith in our God. However all five of the other translations (ASV, ESV+, NASB+, NKJV+, NIV+ 1984 version only) use the correct word, love, in this verse. Giving us the correct meaning that loving our God above all things is the greatest thing we can do for our God, for it is the goal and culmination of our faith and hope in Him.†††††

*And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1Co 13:13 KJV

*But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Co 13:13 NASB+

*Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. Matt 22:37-38 NIV+

 

12a. Our Heavenly Father, through the Spirit, continual reveals what He would have us know at the proper time. We must accept that which we cannot understand by faith. Using the best potential meanings until the Spirit reveals the complete truth to us.

*He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. Da 2:21-22 NIV+

 

Number Symbols (S^) common to apocalyptic prophesy in the Word

2 = number needed to validate or confirm

3 1/2 = limited time period, half of seven which is completeness

4 = the created world, the earth, 4 points of the compass

6 = means imperfect, like man is, just short of seven

7 = perfect completion, spiritual perfection, often refers to the work of God

10 = perfect number, including all in a cycle or period, generalization all of

12 = is a perfect number, is referring to believers or leaders, those who let God rule them.

24 = is Old Covenant believers or leaders (12 tribes of Israel) along with the New Covenant believers or leaders (12 disciples)

When one number is used more than once (like 666) or squared or cubed it is given more emphasis.

When one number is multiplied by another, it includes both meanings

 

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Copyright 2011, amended 2012 and 2013 by Ron Borkey

+ESV ďScripture quotations marked [ESV] are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version,Ē copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good New Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.Ē

+ NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (1995 Update) Copyright © 1981, 1998 The Lockman Foundation, A Corporation Not for Profit, La Habra, California. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

+ 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.

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