Effective Bible Study Basics is a systematic and comprehensive program of Scriptural study, which leads to a clearer understanding of God's Word, the Holy Bible. There is a vast difference between Bible study and Bible reading. Understanding the true meaning of what you have read is dependent upon effective Bible Study. It can only be accomplished when you keep in mind that:
- The Bible is one complete work that begins with Genesis and ends with Revelation. (The Testaments are not isolated from each other but are intertwined. They are parts of a single spiritual document, as are all the books of Scripture.)
- Since the original manuscripts were inspired by God, there can be no significant contradictions in their content. Also, in the areas of doctrine and our knowledge of God there can be no contradictions at all.
- It is the only true and accurate source for studying and understanding the Nature of God, the Person of Jesus Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, the gift of Salvation, and all other spiritual matters.
- That the original manuscripts were written in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek; and sometimes it is necessary to view the usage of an original word to understand the true depth of meaning of the translated word.
- Also it must be kept in mind when studying the Epistles, that they were written to believers, not to the unsaved.
For these reasons it is readily apparent that no verse, chapter or book can be considered on a stand alone basis. It must be considered in relation to the entire context of the Bible. Occasionally, the meaning of the original language must also be considered. And, that Holy Scripture is a spiritual document and addresses matters of the spirit.
Why is effective Bible study necessary?
Much of the doctrinal differences seen throughout what is called the 'Christian Community' stems from lifting a verse, or collection of verses, out of Holy Scripture and then developing a dogma from this verse, or group of verses, while completely ignoring the remainder of Scriptural content. Current trends in Bible study, and the development of various churches, are 'to decide what you want to believe then pick and choose the verses of Scripture that support that belief', while ignoring, or explaining away, any content that contradicts your belief. One glaring example would be the belief of some self-proclaimed Christians in Universal Salvation. Based on verses such as 2 Peter 3:9,
- - "The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
They contend that all will be saved. By focusing on this, and similar verses, they ignore the overall message of Scripture which is shown in verses such as,
- - "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn't believe will be condemned."
- - "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."
This is a glaring example of why correctly studying the Bible is a necessity. It also shows why personal study, & understanding, of Holy Scripture is a requirement. It does not matter what you are told from the pulpit, lectern, etc. the only thing of eternal importance is God's word, which He has given to us in Holy Scripture. When you ultimately stand before Him you will be judged according to His Word not man's interpretation, or misinterpretation, of it. That you lived faithfully according to what you were taught by preachers, elders, priests, teachers, etc. will not matter, if it differs from the Bible in its original form. That you thought you were living righteously will be no defense against damnation. Our Almighty God and Savior has given us all that we need to discern what is necessary for salvation and righteousness, in the form of His Word, the Bible, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- - "There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all."
If you also consider 1Co 14:33,
- - "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
You should come to the realization of why effectively studying Scripture is a necessity. All that we see around us that assumes the title 'Christian' is not necessarily deserving of the title. We are told in Scripture that there is only One Faith, and that God is not the author of confusion; therefore it follows that there is only one acceptable system of beliefs and God has given it to us in Holy Scripture. Confusion comes when man, with the aid of Satanic influence, interprets the Bible according to what he wants it to say.
What is required to effectively study the Bible?
First, and foremost, you must spend some time on a routine basis and put forth the effort to study. No fancy degrees are required to read and understand the Bible. It was written to shepherds, beggars, etc. as, well as to Kings and wise men. There are a number of aids available to effectively study Holy Scripture.
- The guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- A Literal Translation of the Bible.
* * * A book, or software, which gives the exact translated wording of the original Scriptural manuscripts. All of the other translated versions of the Bible have rearranged, sometimes changed, the wording of the originals to make for easier reading, and they claim more understandable.
- A good Concordance.
* * * A tool used to provide information about words used in today's translations of the Bible. It provides the word from the original language of the Scriptural manuscript and shows how the word was used and what it meant to the writer of the manuscript, and the people of that time.
- A quality Lexicon.
* * * A book, or software, used to identify the vocabulary of a language. It is similar to a Concordance.
- A Parallel Passages Source.
* * * A book, or software, that lists similar verses from the opposite Testament you are reading. In the case of New Testament verses, it lists the Old Testament source verses.
- Topical Indexes
* * * An index grouping verses by subject. i.e. Under the subject 'Salvation' you would find a comprehensive listing of the verses relating to salvation.
- Other helpful aids
* * * Commentaries, Biblical Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, Treasuries of Scriptural knowledge, etc.
Using any tool as the only basis for bible study is not recommended, since they are all subject to the opinions and beliefs of the writers.
It is fairly expensive to purchase the tools needed to effectively study Holy Scripture. The purchase of good Bible study software. or books, can cost well over $200. However, with internet access comes the ability to freely use all the tools you will ever need. My Bible Study Tools page provides links to on-line free resources and an exceptional free downloadable Bible browser and study tool, which provides 70+ easy to use resources.
The following is a list of Bible verse, subject, and Doctrinal studies using the techniques outlined above:
Jesus is the Creator
Jesus is God, Jehovah, & Ho Theos
Hebrews 1:8 & 10
The Alpha & the Omega - the First & the Last
The Holy One of Israel
The Title Ho Theos
Baptism, what the Bible teaches
Acts 10, Cornelius & his household
Sovereign Grace Salvation
The Biblical Process of Salvation
Hell Hades Sheol Gehenna
Eternal Punishment, Damnnation
Hell Hades Sheol Gehenna