|THE WORD FIRST
Read the Word first before you read any
books, commentaries, etc, or before listening to tapes or
watching videos about it. Sadly, not everyone who teaches
or preaches the Word does it out of a pure heart.
LET THE HOLY SPIRIT BE YOUR TEACHER
Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit into
the world to be our teacher, helper and guide. Lean on
His understanding as you read God's Word.
The blessing of the Word comes from
HEARING it. The Bible was meant to be read aloud. Reading
aloud helps you concentrate on each word and brings
Meditate (meletao) in the Greek
means to "attend to, practise, be diligent in, to
ponder". Mull over what you've read and let the Holy
Spirit be your teacher, speaking to your heart about each
Search for a fresh vision of God's
Word. Don't be bound by what you've heard in the past.
Come to the Word with an open heart and mind, asking the
Lord to renew your mind and transform your spirit.
TAKE IT AS IT IS
Over 90% of the Bible is about
everyday issues and should be taken literally. Only when
it's obvious that it can't be understood that way, such
as a prophecy or metaphor, should you look for a
Study the history and customs of
Old Testament and New Testament life to get the full
meaning of the text. Don't use your culture and customs
to try to understand what difficult texts mean.
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!
Scripture was meant to be read IN
CONTEXT that is, with the verses that surround it. Each
book of the Bible is a unique package that must be
understood in itself before you can relate it to the
whole Bible. Don't be guilty of taking a scripture here
and there and tossing the lot together to form your
AVOID "PROOF TEXTS"
Some people get hung up on a verse
or two and use those verses to try to beat other people
up about a certain doctrine. They give their own private
interpretation to these texts and fail to grow because of
USE THE "2 or 3 RULE"
Any doctrine that you trust in
should be supported by two or three scripture passages,
NT OVERRIDES OT
We are taught in the book of
Hebrews that we are now living under a New Covenant or
Testament that is superior to the Old Covenant or
Testament. So for any matter of faith or practice, what
the New Testament says is primary.
SEEK MERCY, NOT JUDGEMENT
Be careful of your attitude and
motive for studying God's Word. Are you doing it to draw
closer to Jesus and be more like Him? Or are you just
looking up "proof texts" to show you are
spiritually superior to someone you are having an
argument with? Are you trying to condemn others so that
you can justify yourself?
QUESTION, QUESTION, QUESTION
Question any doctrine you've been
taught that doesn't line up with the Word of God. Don't
get under the bondage of legalism, or false doctrine.
There are many "gray
areas" in life that the Bible gives you options on,
such as the day of worship, eating meat, drinking wine.
There are also many areas the Bible doesn't address that
pertain to modern life, such as smoking, watching TV,
going to the movies, etc. Study the Bible for guidelines,
let the Spirit guide you into what YOU should do, and
keep your opinions to yourself. Don't use your
conclusions to judge your brother for whom Christ died.
See also separate study on Doubtful Disputations.
BUILD UP, NOT TEAR DOWN
Use whatever wisdom you glean from
the Word to build up (edify) the Body of Christ, not to
tear it down or cause division. Party spirit, quarrels,
and gossiping are all works of the flesh.
SEEK TO DRAW CLOSER TO JESUS
The goal of Bible study should be
to draw closer to Jesus and to become more like Him. Any
other motive is not from God and should be examined
closely and discarded.
Every child of God should try to
commit scripture to memory. This helps follow God's
instructions and make us better able to witness for Him.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
The Bible clearly states that we
are not saved by our works, but without good deeds
following our faith, we are unfruitful for God. Whatever
you read in the Bible, put it into practice in your
everyday life. Ask God for wisdom in making His Word
alive in your life.