Lesson 17

HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE     
2 Timothy 2:15

1. Why study it?
It is God's revelation of Himself and His will to man.
It is the instruction book for human life.
It is the only manual in existence written by the manufacturer of human life.
God has protected it through the years from all kinds of enemies.  It must be very important.

Matthew 4:4  ... Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
God.  
Psalms 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy
word.  
119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  
119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

2. First, Read it
It would be good for all of us just to read through the Bible- over and over.
Follow yearly reading guides.
Start at the beginning and read through.
Don't just open and read from anywhere.
Be systematic.
Read until you get something.

3. Study it
Get serious- find out what's in there.  Look deeper.
Study Methods:
Subjects - seek all passages dealing with a certain subject or verses using a certain word.  (Use
concordance, Topical Bible, topical index, I.e. Thompson Chain Reference, Full Life Study Bible, etc.)
   Persons - study a Biblical person's life (Moses, David, Elijah.)
Places - significant locations (i.e. history of Jerusalem & things that happened there; Mount Zion; Sea of
Galilee.
   Events - Elijah on Mt. Carmel, Jesus' Crucifixion
   Books of the Bible - study a whole book (Gen, John, Rev.)

The best way is inductive study - approach it with an open mind (no pre-conceived ideas to prove) and
just see what it says and what it means.                                                         

a) Read the book straight through quickly - get the general idea.
Use the W-Key:
Who wrote it?  Find out something about the author.
When written?  66 books written over 1600 years, by 40 different authors.  Know something of the
historical background.
Where spoken or delivered? Where was the author when he wrote it?  Where was it read to people?
Why was it written?  What necessitated this message?(i.e. Jeremiah wrote to a rebellious nation  warning
of judgement.

It helps to know Paul told women at Corinth to be silent in church, not because            he didn't like
women, but because the church was in turmoil and the women were disturbing the services.
To Whom written?  Know some of the audience.

b) Start again reading short sections. (determine where divisions are)
c) Read a section over and over until you determine the main idea.
d) Read closely and determine what is being said about the subject.
e) Read the surrounding context - Consider the point in the context of the book.
f)         Look up words you don't clearly understand.
g) Consider any cultural implications (check the context and attitude of the book; use a Bible  
Encyclopedia)
h) What does it mean for us today?
i)         Consider other scriptures - get the balance of scripture on the subject.  Let the Bible interpret
itself. (Concordance, Topical Bible, Reference Bible, ie Thompson Chain Reference Bible)
j) Interpret only what is there.  Be careful of reading into it, or applying your own meaning.  Don't squeeze
out some meaning that is not  there.  (No scripture is of private intrepretation.)

MOST IMPORTANT
k) Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and  apply the scripture to your life.

Specific helps:

Old Testament:  read it straight through- story by story, section by section.  Perhaps chronologically.  Ask
God to show you how it applies to you.

Gospels:  read each incident or discourse on its own merit.  Consider the context (what has just
happened or is about to happen or is happening at the time.)

Epistles:  consider each section in context of the whole message of the book.

Prophetic (Revelation): go for spiritual principle - not dogma.

A good commentary is very helpful but remember it is not the Bible itself.  
Remember, look for the spiritual principle - the true meaning.  It's not just important what the Bible says -
its important what it means by what it says.  
More harm has been done by misquoted, out of context scripture than has been done by the enemies of
the faith.

Reference Book List:
Strong's Concordance
Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words
Naves Topical
Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible
Matthew Henry's Commentary
Erdman's Handbook to the Bible
Modern Versions
Self-study guide- various

James 1:22
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."