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Bible Study Guidelines

2ti2-15Jerald Finney
January 2, 2017/1st Edition completed: January 6, 2016

Click here for 5 min. 57 sec. study which teaches why Christian programs for young people have not and do not work.
What is the problem when one cannot understand the Word of God? Is it the Bible? Are there errors in the Bible? Is it head trouble? What is it? Learn the answer and more in this great teaching from Proverbs 8.8-36.
Click here to listen to a great teaching on studying the word of God: Nehemiah 8, Dr. J. Vernon Mcgee. 

Timothy 2:15:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Bible study is essential for Christian growth. It is not to replace one’s active participation and learning in his local New Testament church, nor the teaching and preaching therein, but to complement it.

To understand God’s truths as revealed in the Bible, keep in mind that you must believe it. To become a disciple of Christ, you must continue, believing, in His word. Remember, that only the King James Bible is the word of God in English (See, King James Bible page).

John 8:31-32  “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Bible study includes “analysis,” not just reading and memorization. In fact, analysis is much more important than memorization, for many purposes. Memorization of some Scripture is very helpful, e.g., for street preaching, but memorization without proper understanding and application is not to be desired. Someone may be very good at memorizing, but memorization alone is not sufficient. To enjoy all that God offers you in his word, you must – as you read – believe, study, analyze, and apply. Without application of correct doctrine, study and analysis are useless. Application takes place where the rubber meets the road – where one lives his daily life – regardless of his circumstances.

Proper analysis of the Bible guards against heresy and apostasy. For example, some verses, out of context, can be recited which seem to indicate, with proper contextual analysis, that water baptism saves, or that water baptism is a part of salvation. Other verses can be, and have been, manipulated to seemingly teach that the Church has replaced Israel, that God is finished with Israel, and that the principles for the “theocracy” of Israel are God’s model for all nations. Both heresies have resulted in establishment of religions which have misled untold millions as to certain fundamental Bible doctrines. The latter heresy has also resulted in the murder, in the name of God, of tens of millions who refuse to bow down to the official church/state establishment (See, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus). Test doctrines by a contextual analysis of all Scripture

At salvation, one is a babe in Christ. Christ does not want you to continue in that state.

Hebrews 5:12-14  “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

God wants his children to go on to perfection. This can happen only within a local New Testament body of believers:

Ephesians 4:11-16  “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

A new believer should be baptized into a church which believes, preaches, practices, and applies the word of God. If one’s studies reveal that the church he is a member of does not honor and glorify God by accurate Bible teaching and practice, he should seek out another church. One solid Bible church is Old Paths Baptist Church or Northfield, Minnesota. Some good Bible teachers and teachings can be found online, but most online teachers and ministries are heretical and apostate. Old Paths Baptist Church and Pastor Jason Cooley offer excellent Bible teaching to both their church body and the world; to the world through their online broadcasts.

In your studies, you must consider both the immediate and the overall context of Scripture. Look at the verse, the surrounding verses and chapters, and all the verses on the subject from Genesis to Revelation. Instead of relying upon any doctrine – e.g., Calvinism, – rely on the word of God. Generally speaking, many dogmatists will walk one through a series of verses, out of context, to prove their dogma. That is not the way to find truth.

To effectively learn correct Bible doctrine, the saved student must start with Genesis 1.1 and proceed, in diligent study, to Revelation 22.21. Do not just read. Pick out a doctrine which you wish to understand. Take notes. In your notes, quote each verse, verses, chapters, etc. which develop the doctrine you are studying. With the computer this is easy, especially if you have a good King James Bible software program which allows you to easily copy and paste verses. This author uses SwordSearcher software which has instant access to many commentaries on each verse and many other extremely helpful properties that greatly speed up your studies.

Isaiah 28:9-13  “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”

For example, to understand the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, do not make the mistake of being directed to selected verses. Start with Genesis 1.1 and go to the end. List and quote every verse you encounter which explains or applies these doctrines. Keep in mind, during your study, to look for the concept, not just the word. Sometimes, a verse may not, for example, say “free will,” but deal with the matter nonetheless: Luke 18. 9-14, e.g., (only verse 14 quoted here): “14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Another example is found in John 3, verses 17-20. In those verses, the word “repentance” is not used. However, the verses address “repentance” nonetheless.

Once you have gone through the Bible and written down all the verses you have come across which deal with the doctrine you are studying, you can then go back to those verses and analyze them for an understanding of the doctrine. Good Bible commentaries are very useful in such an analysis. When one has gone through the Bible a few times using this approach, he will begin to easily discern when someone else is presenting error on doctrines he has studied. 

The above methodology is used by Jerald Finney. The results of his studies, which continue to this day, were the foundation for the books he has written.

To understand any particular part of the Bible, you must first have some understanding of the rest of it. “It is found that the fact that no particular portion of Scripture is to be intelligently comprehended apart from some conception of its place in the whole. For the Bible story and message is like a picture wrought out of mosaics: each book, chapter, verse, and even word forms a necessary part, and has its own appointed place. It is, therefore, indispensable to any interesting and faithful study of the Bible that a general knowledge of it be gained. 

First. The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity. (1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Where ever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him. (2) The Bible forms one continuous story–the story of humanity in relation to God. (3) The Bible hazards the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought around the appointed time, records their fulfillment. (4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once, and once for all. The law is, ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn.’ Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete. (5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption. (6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme – the person and work of the Christ. (7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the Divine inspiration of the Bible.”

“Second. The Bible is a book of books. Sixty-six books make up the one Book. Considered with reference to the unity of the one book the separate books may be regarded as chapters. But that is but one side of the truth, for each of the sixty-six books is complete in itself, and has its own theme and analysis. [The sincere student should outline] the entire book and insert the divisions and subdivisions. [Sometimes a good study Bible will be helpful if formulated by one who believes, rather than interprets, the Bible. When one compares the guidelines of others with Scripture, he will be able to spot error, if any.] It is therefore of the utmost moment that the books be studied in the light of their distinctive themes. Genesis, for instance, is the book of beginnings – the seed plot of the whole Bible. Matthew is the book of the King, etc. 

Third. The books of the Bible fall into groups. Speaking broadly there are five great divisions in the Scriptures, and these may be conveniently fixed in the memory by five key words.

“PREPARATION. the O. T.
“MANIFESTATION. The Gospels.
“PROPAGATION. The Acts.
“EXPLANATION. The Epistles.
“CONSUMMATION. The Apocalypse.

“In other words, the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ; in the Gospels he is manifested to the world; in the Acts he is preached and his gospel is propagated in the world; in the Epistles his Gospel is explained; and in the Revelation all the purposes of God in and through Christ are consummated. And these groups of books in turn fall into groups. This is especially true of the Old Testament, which is in four well defined Groups. Over these may be written, as memory aids:

REDEMPTION                          ORGANIZATION              POETRY                     SERMONS

Genesis                                      Joshua                           Job                          Isaiah        Jonah
Exodus                                       Judges                           Psalms                    Jeremiah  Micah
Leviticus                                     Ruth                               Proverbs                  Ezekiel      Nahum
Numbers                                    I, II Samuel                     Ecclesiastes             Daniel       Habakkuk
Deuteronomy                              I, II Kings                        Song of Solomon      Hosea     Zephaniah
I, II Chronicles                                                                  Lamentations            Joel           Haggai
Ezra                                                                                                                Amos        Zechariah
Nehemiah                                                                                                        Obadiah    Malachi
Esther

“Again care should be taken not to overlook, in these general groupings, the distinctive messages of the several books composing them. Thus, while redemption is the general theme of the Pentateuch, telling as it does the story of the redemption of Israel out of bondage and into ‘a good land and large,’ each of the five books has its own distinctive part in the whole. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and explains the origen of Israel. Exodus tells the story of the deliverance of Israel; Leviticus of the worship of Israel as a delivered people; Numbers the wanderings and failures of the delivered people, and Deuteronomy warns and instructs that people in view of their approaching entrance upon their inheritance.

“The poetical books record the spiritual experiences of the redeemed people in the varied scenes and events through which the providence of God led them. The prophets were inspired preachers, and the prophetical books consist of sermons with brief connecting and explanatory passages. Two prophetical books, Ezekiel and Daniel, have a different character and are apocalyptic, largely.

Fourth. The Bible tells the Human Story. Beginning, logically, with the creation of the earth and of man, the story of the race sprung from the first human pair continues through the first eleven chapters of Genesis. With the twelfth chapter begins the history of Abraham and of the nation of which Abraham was the ancestor. It is that nation, Israel, with which the Bible narrative is thereafter chiefly concerned from the eleventh chapter of Genesis to the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The Gentiles are mentioned, but only in connection with Israel. But it is made increasingly clear that Israel so fills the scene only because entrusted with the accomplishment of great world-side purposes (Deut. 7.7).

“The appointed mission of Israel was (1) to be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deut. 6.4; Isa. 43.10); (2) to illustrate to the nations the greater blessedness of serving the one true God (Deut. 33.26-29; 1 Chron. 17.20, 21; Psa. 102.15); (3) to receive and preserve the Divine revelation (Rom. 3.1, 2); and (4) to produce the Messiah, earth’s Saviour and Lord (Rom. 9.4). The prophets foretell a glorious future for Israel under the reign of Christ.

“The biblical story of Israel, past present, and future, falls into seven distinct periods: (1) From the call of Abram (Gen. 12) to the Exodus (Ex. 1-20); (2) From the Exodus to the death of Joshua (Ex. 21 to Josh. 24); (3) from the death of Joshua to the establishment of the Hebrew monarchy under Saul; (4) the period of the kings from Saul to the Captivities; (5) the period of the Captivities; (6) the restored commonwealth from the end of Babylonian captivity of Judah, to the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; (7) the present dispersion.

“The Gospels record the appearance in human history and within the Hebrew nation of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, and tell the wonderful story of his manifestation to Israel, his rejection by that people, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

“The Acts of the Apostles record the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the beginning of a new thing in human history, the Church. The division of the race now becomes threefold – the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. Just as Israel is in the foreground from the call of Abram to the resurrection of Christ, so now the Church fills the scene from the second chapter of the Acts [forward]. The remaining chapters of [the Revelation] complete the story of humanity and the final triumph of Christ.

Fifth. The Central Theme of the Bible is Christ. It is this manifestation of Jesus Christ, his Person, as “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3.16), his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, which constitute the Gospel. Unto this all preceding Scripture leads, from this all following Scripture proceeds. The Gospel is preached in the Acts and explained in the Epistles. Christ, Son of God, Son of man, Son of Abraham, son of David, thus binds the many books into one Book. Seed of the woman (Gen. 3.15) he is the ultimate destroyer of Satan and his works; Seed of Abraham he is the world blesser; Seed of David he is Israel’s King, ‘Desire of which is his body,’ while to Israel and the nations the promise of his return forms the one and only rational expectation that humanity will yet fulfill itself. Meanwhile the Church looks momentarily for the fulfillment of his special promise: ‘I will come again and receive you unto myself’ (John 14.1-3). To him the Holy Spirit throughout this Gospel bears testimony. The last book of all, the Consummation book, is ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Rev. 1.1).”

Click here to listen to a great teaching on studying the word of God: Nehemiah 8, Dr. J. Vernon Mcgee.

END


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