Section Two: Survey
How To Know The BibleIn the right margin, write "true" or "false" after each of the following statements:
|1.||The only people who can truly understand the Bible are those who attend seminary.||
|2.||There is no need to study the Bible because God can teach us through our experiences.||
|3.||The most important thing we can achieve from our study of the Bible is the large amount of facts that come in handy in debates.||
|4.||Memorizing God's Word enables us to use the sword of the Spirit to overcome Satan.||
|5.||Scripture is the Christian's most powerful tool in sharing Christ.||
|6.||God uses pastors to teach us truths they have found in Scripture.||
|7.||It is important to establish regular habits and times for your study of the Bible.||
|8.||Reading the Bible gives us an overall picture of God's Word.||
|9.||Only as we meditate on God's Word will we discover its transforming power at work in us.||
|10.||All our study is useless unless we apply the things we learn.||
Section Two: "How To Know The Bible"
Key/Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 2:15
The Bible is God's inspired Word, profitable for teaching, for correction (of false thinking and behavior), for reproof, and for training in how to think and live righteously.
In light of the importance of God's Word, the natural question to ask is "How can I get to know what the Bible teaches?" This lesson answers that question!
I. Personal PreparationThe Bible can only be fully understood with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Apart from a growing personal relationship with God, the academic study of the Word alone will produce little change. Some important steps of personal preparation prior to a time of Bible study are...
- A Cleansed Life
Refusing to deal with sin in your life breaks fellowship with God. The secret of restored fellowship and the cleansed life is very simple. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). Before beginning your Bible study, stop to confess to God any known sins.
- Prayer for Illumination
Follow the example of the psalmist as he prayed, "Blessed art Thou, O LORD; Teach me Thy statutes... Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law... Make me understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy wonders... Establish Thy word to Thy servant, as that which produces reverence for Thee." (Psalm 119:12, 18, 27, 38).
- Dependence Upon the Holy Spirit
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God" (1 Corinthians 2:12). God has given Christians the Holy Spirit to teach the truth from the Bible. Rely on His instructions. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
- Willingness to Obey
Jesus pointed out that a prerequisite to knowing the truth is the willingness to obey the truth. "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17). A man who is willing to obey will receive God's instruction.
II. Knowing God's Word
There are five methods to grow in understanding of God's Word.
Compare the five methods of learning from the Bible to the five fingers of your hand. If you hold the Bible with only one or two fingers, it is easy to lose your grip. But as you use more fingers you grasp of the Bible becomes stronger.
This is also true spiritually. If a person memorizes, studies, reads, and hears this Word - and meditates on it, his grasp of the Bible becomes firm and part of his life. As the thumb is needed in combination with any finger to complete your hold, so meditation combined with hearing, reading, study, and memorizing is essential for a full grasp of God's Word. Let's look at each of these components more closely.
III. Studying God's Word:
"Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)The three main steps involved in studying God's Word are:
In this verse, Paul is complimenting the believers who lived in Thessalonica because they received the Word with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily.
- How does Proverbs 2:4 indicate we should study the Word? seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures
- What should be our goal in studying the Bible? (2 Timothy 2:15) Handling accurately the word of truth
- God desires that we be diligent students of His Word, for it is in the Bible that we learn about God and His will for our lives as well as principles and promises to live by.
Observation is the act of seeking; taking notice of things as they really are; the art of awareness. Observation depends upon two root attitudes - an open mind and a willing spirit.
Too often people approach Bible study with preconceived notions. Their attitude is "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up!" An open mind is necessary for effective study.
A willing spirit is necessary because whenever you guard an area of your life, you hinder understanding. The man who is unwilling to be changed in his marriage will not even see his needs as a husband. The woman who refuses to admit to vanity in her life will probably not see it condemned in the Scriptures.
Accurate observations are the result of reading with diligence, purposefulness, thoughtfulness, and inquiry. Reading is not a lazy man's art. Reading until the Word jogs the mind and heart requires quality time. As you study, read for the message, not the mileage.
It will help to record what you observe. As you write down your thoughts they become clearer. Get a study Bible which you can use for underlining important words, writing in the margins, and drawing arrows to connect associated terms.
Be sure to define important words and phrases. Without knowing the meanings of words, it is impossible to communicate. One of the best reference books for Bible study is a dictionary.
Some questions to ask in making observations...
Who - Who are the people involved?
What - What happened? What ideas are expressed? What resulted?
Where - Where does this take place? What is the setting?
When - When did it take place? What was the historical period?
Why - What is the purpose? What is the stated reason?
How - How are things accomplished? How well? How quickly? By what method?
Observe 1 John 5:11, 12 and answer the following observation questions:
Who gives eternal life? God has given us eternal life
Where is eternal life found? and this life is in His Son
Who has eternal life? He who has the Son has the life
Who does not have eternal life? he who does not have the Son of God
Interpretation is the step of determining the author's meaning. Interpretation seeks to clarify the meaning of a passage and help you understand why the Holy Spirit included this portion in Scripture. Interpretation answers the question, "What does it mean?"
The Bible is the literal Word of God and means what it says. However, there is often more than one definition of a word. Correct interpretation depends on determining the definition the writer had in mind.
Application is putting God's Word into practice. "I considered my ways, and turned my feet to Thy testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Thy commandments" (Psalm 119:59, 60).
The benefit of Bible study is not derived from the method, the technique, or diligent efforts to decipher the text. The benefit is in obeying the Word of God - receiving what He says and putting it into practice. Application doesn't happen by osmosis nor by change - application is by intent!
Application starts with the willing acceptance of truth. A correct response to Scripture is characterized by trust, obedience, praise, and thanksgiving. The application may include remembering an impressive truth, changing a wrong attitude or taking a positive action.
Respond to God, not a rule book! Responses are to motivated by love. The goal is to glorify God by pleasing him in every area of life. An unwillingness to apply the Scriptures personally may develop mere intellectual knowledge and spiritual insensitivity to the Lord and to people.
The following list of seven directive questions may help you apply the Word to your life.
- Is there an example for me to follow?
- Is there a sin for me to avoid?
- Is there a command for me to obey?
- Is there a promise for me to claim?
- What does this particular passage teach me about God, or about Jesus Christ?
- Is there a difficulty for me to explore?
- Is there something in this passage that I should pray about today?
IV. Hearing God's Word"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ". (Romans 10:17)
What kind of heart will best hear and use the Word? (Luke 8:15) (Underline the correct answer.)
- A sincere and virtuous heart.
- An alert and cautious heart.
- An open but indifferent heart.
- A well-trained, scholarly heart.
Jesus gave a promise in Luke 11:28 when He said, " blessed are those who hear the Word of God, and observe it." V. Reading God's Word
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it." (Revelation 1:3)
"The Bible was written to be read. An unread Bible is like food that is refused, an unopened love letter, a buried sword, a road map not studied, a gold mind not worked" (Irving Jensen)
Some practical suggestions:
- Plan a regular time to read your Bible.
- Begin your reading in the Gospel of Mark or John, later you can begin a reading plan that goes through the whole Bible.
- The length of the passage you read will vary from time to time. You may read a chapter a day or just a few weighty verses, if you have an expanded time, you may find yourself reading a whale book at one sitting. NOTE: There are 1189 chapters in the Bible ... reading one a day will get you through the entire Bible in three years!
- Read with your eyes open carefully, alertly not mechanically.
- Read with pencil and paper, in hand, freely mark up your Bible with notes, underlining key verses, record on paper your questions and insights.
VI. Memorizing God's WordMemorize It - "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:9, 11)
The value and importance of memorizing God's Word can perhaps best be seen in Jesus' confrontation with Satan, Turn to Matthew 4 and read verses 1-11.
B. How will you overcome Satan's temptations?
But you can remember 100% of what you memorize!
VII. Meditation On God's WordHow blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Meditation is prayerful reflection with a view to understanding and application - giving prayerful thought to God's Word and to your life. with the goal of conforming your life to His will.
This kind of meditation on God's Word can be done:
|Hearing the Word|
|Reading the Word|
|Studying the Word|
|Memorizing the Word|
|Meditation on the Word|
That's why the Word "diligence" is used in our memory verse. Knowing that the truth that will set you free lies in the Bible, our prayer is that you would search for her as silver (i.e., work).
Following this work sheet is a practical supplement on "Tools for Bible Study"
Section Two Supplement: "Tools For Bible Study"
As any laborer needs tools for his job, so the Christian should be aware of the tools available to him.
Studying God's Word:
A. A Study BibleGet a Bible with marginal cross references, and one with margins wide enough and paper thick enough for writing notes. If you prefer not to mark in your Bible, make sure you have a notebook handy.
Nor stand in the lcpath
3 1Or, canals 2Or, foliage3Or, all that he does prospers
This is not easy to answer. There are so many excellent editions available that it is difficult to choose. Some differ from others only in matters of style and format and thus become a matter of literary preference for the reader.
Nonetheless, there are some basic and notable differences between translations that ought to be recognized. These differences reflect different procedures and methods in preparing the translations. There are three basic methodologies:
a. Verbal Accuracy
This method is that which seeks to fallow the original language text (Greek
and Hebrew) as closely as possible in a word-by-word pattern. Here strict
fidelity to the ancient language is stressed. An example of this method
of translations may be seen in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
b. Concept Accuracy
This method, which is the predominant method of modem translations, seeks a maximum of fluid reading style with a minimum of verbal distortion. Since words put together produce thoughts or concepts, the goal is to produce an accurate rendition of the thoughts or concepts of Scripture. Examples of this type may be seen in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and The New International Version (NIV).
c. The Paraphrase
The paraphrase method is an expansion of the concept method. Here the concept is extended and elaborated to ensure that it is well communicated. The premium is on readability and relevance to modern though patterns. An example of this method can be seen in the Living Bible (LB).
Compare The Following Translations & Paraphrases of 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5 "Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered," (NASB)
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, cloth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil:" (The King James Bible)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (NIV)
"Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly ever notice when others do it wrong." (LB)
Some editions of the Bible contain not only brief marginal notes but provide a running commentary. Two comments regarding these editions. First, do not let the commentary short circuit your own personal study of the text. Secondly, remember that the commentary notes are NOT inspired. Examples of Study Bibles with commentary notes are The Ryrie Study Bible, The Scofield Reference Bible, and The Harper Study Bible.
B. Other Tools
A Concordance lists the verses in which a particular word is used. A concordance is especially helpful for word study and when you want to find out where and how a word is used throughout the whole Bible.
An exhaustive concordance will also include a Hebrew and Greek lexicon - giving dictionary definitions of the words. Young's Analytical Concordance, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, and Cruden's Concordance are examples of good concordances.
Isa 65. 16 who blesseth himself... shall bless himself
Jer 4. 2 the nations shall bless themselves in him
l. Happy, very happy, ashere.
2. 12 Blessed (are) all they that put their trust
32. 1 Blessed (is) he whose) transgression (is)
32. 2 Blessed (is) the man unto whom the LORD
33 12 Blessed (is) the nation whose God (is) the
34. 8 Blessed (is) the man (that) trusteth in him
40. 4 Blessed (is) that man that maketh the
41. 1 Blessed (is) he that considereth the poor
65. 4 Blessed (is the man whom) thou chooses
84. 4 Blessed (are) they that dwell in thy house
84. 5 Blessed (is) the man whose strength (is)
84. 12 Blessed (is) the man that trusteth in thee
89. 15 Blessed (is) the people that know the
94. 12 Blessed (is) the man whom thou chasten.
2. Bible Dictionary
A Bible dictionary lists and explains nouns found in the Bible (persons, places, and things). It provides information about historical and cultural background. It treats some subjects, like archaeology and the Trinity, even though the actual word is not found in the Bible. Unger's Bible Dictionary or the New Bible Dictionary are helpful Bible dictionaries.
ACCAD, AKKAD One of the major cities, with
Babylon and Erech, founded by Nimrod (Gn. x. 10). It bore the Semitic name
A commentary gives the author's opinion about the meaning of the actual
text of Scripture, book by book, chapter by chapter, sometimes even verse
by verse. There are a wide range of commentaries available, they range
from single volume commentaries on the whole Bible to very technical works
provided for the individual books. They range from simple exposition to
higher critical exegesis.
b. provide a good "check" of one's personal conclusions about the meaning of a text of Scripture. My "private interpretation" needs to be checked by other students of the Word;
c. are a resource for a wealth of information that would help me better understand Scripture;
d. can be dangerous if the student totally relies upon the author of the commentary instead of doing his own personal study.
C. Bible Study Guides
Bible Study guides are usually reasonably-priced booklets that provide questions to stimulate your thinking on a particular passage of Scripture. The value of these guides is in their helping the student shirk through a passage and its application to their life.
D. Computer Software
All the resources available in print are also available as computer software. Software varies according to capabilities and cost. The following commercial software is available:
BibleSoft has fine-tuned PC Study Bible with the ability to attach personal study notes, a customizable Bible-reading plan, pop-up menu helps and a variety of other improvements. The PC Study Bible has an appendable clipboard that will not automatically erase and replace when new notes are added. New modules from BibleSoft include the New Exhaustive Strong's numbers, Interlinear Bible, Thayer's Greek Definitions and Brown, Driver, & Briggs Hebrew Definitions. Unique to the PC Study Bible is Nelson's Bible Dictionary. PC Study Bible combination packages include "Basic Editions," "New Master Edition," "New Reference Library," "Reference Library Plus" and the "Reference Library Plus Special CD-ROM Edition." Call (800) 877-0778.
2. BibleWorks 3.0 for Windows by Hermeneutika
More than 30 Bible texts and reference works are included in this most recent version of BibleWorks on CD-ROM. This is a great program for biblical exegesis. It contains the Hebrew Old Testament, the Greek Old and New Testaments and several English translations. Every word in the Hebrew and Greek texts is grammatically parsed, which helps reinforce vocabulary and grammar studies. Call (406) 837-2244.
3. HyperBible 3.0 by Kirkbride Technology
HyperBible 3.0 is tied into the popular Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible. It has a new look and packs in more power. The program even includes pronunciation helps for those difficult Old Testament names. The HyperBible program contains several Bible study helps, personal topics and notes, an atlas and location finder, archeological studies, character studies, parallel Bible translations, special Hebrew information and six translations to choose from. HyperBible's newest add-on module is Strong's Concordance With Hebrew and Greek Definitions. The software comes in CD-ROM, Windows and Macintosh formats. Call (800) 428-4385.
4. BibleMaster by The Lockman Foundation
BibleMaster specializes in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), whose copyright is held by The Lockman Foundation. The NASB has long held the reputation as the most literal translation from the original languages, which makes it excellent for scholarly study. Unique modules to BibleMaster are the NAS Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, NAS Cross References and the NAS Topical Studies. Many other modules are available, the newest of which is the New Unger's Bible Dictionary. BibleMaster is available in DOS, Windows and Macintosh formats. Call (714) 879-3055.
5. Logos 2.0 Library System by Logos Research Systems
Logos' latest update is a fine example of a program that meets the demand for varied and sophisticated second-tier Bible products. The Logos 2.0 Library System is a full-text search-and-retrieval system designed to work in an "electronic book" environment. Logos' multilingual support, typographic styles, graphics, charts and tables recreate the four-color printed page on the computer screen. This system is available on CD-ROM at four levels, representing 13 to 38 reference works, in addition to a variety of translations and languages. The Logos Library allows a single search to pass like an arrow through each one of its reference books, if the user so desires. For instance, a search for the city of Antioch will call up every occurrence of the word in a number of translations, encyclopedias, commentaries, dictionaries and lexicons. Logos system texts available on 2.0 include KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NKJV, NIV, NRSV with Apocrypha, RSV, three Greek lexicons, Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Logos Bible Map Set, Harper's Bible Commentary and Dictionary, Vine's Expository Dictionary, New Bible Dictionary, Jerome Bible Commentary, New Nave's Topical Bible, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Strong's numbers and lexicon, Matthew Henry's (unabridged) Commentary, 100 MIDI hymns and much more. In fact, by Christmas expect to see a total of 300 Logos titles on the market.
Several publishers will be creating electronic versions of their Biblereference books with the Logos software engine so that these books can interact with the 2.0 Library system. Examples include the Anchor Bible Dictionary from DoubleDay and the Elwell Topical Analysis of the Bible from Baker Bytes. Call (800) 87-LOGOS.
6. WORDsearch CD Expandable Library
WORDsearch Bible Software has locked in to a unique marketing strategy with WORDsearch CD Expandable Library. Using the latest encryption technology, WORDsearch Bible Software has placed most of its software product line on one CD; it is available in retail stores. Full versions of WORDsearch for Windows KJV and Enhanced Scofield Outlines can be used by the customer immediately. A working sampler of the rest of WORDsearch Bible Software's programs can also be examined. If the user wants to order any of the other programs, he or she can make a call to WORDsearch Bible Software, purchase a password or code, and unlock the desired application. Using an identification code, the retailer is reimbursed for every additional module purchased and unlocked off the CD. This innovative marketing approach minimizes inventory investment and shelf space for the retailer. Some of the unique modules on this CD include the NASB Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, the NASB Cross-references, Hannah's Outlines, LESSONmaker, along with the Life Application Notes, Outlines, Topics and map set.
The Message is now available on WORDsearch for $39.95. WORDsearch Bible Software plans to make it available on Version B of the WORDsearch CD Expandable Library. Those who already own the WORDsearch program can purchase The Message for $29.95 as an add-on Bible text. Call (800) 888-9898.
QuickVerse is a comprehensive Bible concordance program with new modules being added frequently. QuickVerse-compatible modules include KJV, NIV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, NCV, ASV, The Living Bible, Holman Bible Dictionary, Believer's Study Bible, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Hebrew Tutor, Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, the New Scofield Study Bible, PC Bible Atlas, the Hebrew and Greek Transliterated Bible and, most recently, The Ryrie Study Bible. Parsons has combined some of these modules for easy purchase. These packages, ranging from $129 to $249, are called "The QuickVerse New Bible Reference Collection" and the "QuickVerse Deluxe Bible Reference Collection." Call (800) 833-3241.
8. The Bible Companion Series by White Harvest Software
This new series was introduced in August. It is published for Windows on CD-ROM and contains three packages: Teacher's Bible Companion (includes 16 Bibles, four Greek texts, nine commentaries, six topical and six lexical tools; $349); Student Bible Companion (includes 12 Bibles, one Greek text, eight commentaries, six topical and four lexical tools; $219); Family Bible Companion (11 Bibles, one Greek text, five commentaries, five topical and four lexical tools; $129). Call (800) 318-7333.
9. MacBible 3.0 and BibleSource by Zondervan
Most Bible software publishers have been slow to jump on the Macintosh train. MacBible is the oldest and most sophisticated Macintosh Bible software available. Unique to MacBible is its use of punctuation marks for its Boolean searches (for instance, a comma = AND; a semicolon = OR; the minus symbol = NOT; a period = wildcard), which can speed up the search process a bit. Modules available for MacBible include NIV, NIV Study Notes, NRSV with Apocrypha, KJV, Greek and Hebrew. MacBible also has Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties as a reference book.
BibleSource is Zondervan's Bible software for PCs. The publisher just introduced BibleSource Study Edition for Windows, which includes the following modules: NIV, NIV Study Bible Notes, The NIV Bible Dictionary and the NIV Exhaustive Concordance. When customers return their registrations, they get a free copy of the KJV module. Call (800) 727-1309.
In addition, shareware and freeware is available from BBS and internet sites. The quality of these products is quite variable, and they usually have only public domain versions of the Bible (King James, Darby, etc.). Occasionally, this software comes on CD ROM with commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and notes. Try to examine the software before you buy.
One of the best deals is available through Wheaton College. They have produced a CD-ROM (for $35.00) that contains Bible software, dictionaries, commentaries, all the writings of the early church fathers, and numerous sermons, books, and lectures by influential Christian leaders. To order go to the CCEL Store.
|Address:||Wheaton College Bookstore
418 N. Chase St.
Wheaton, IL 60187
e-sword.net - Free Electronic Bibles and more
Suppose you have some math problems to solve. It is easier to get an expert to work them for you, but you do not learn much that way. Nor do you get the joy that comes from your own discovery. Of course, there may be an occasional math problem for which you must have help. Similarly, it is good to use reference materials to get information you cannot get otherwise or to help with an occasional interpretation problem. It is good to read the writings of godly men and counsel with them about the meaning of the Word after we have done some study ourselves.
May God strengthen you to be a diligent studier of the Word!