Reading the Bible


The church did not produce the Word of God. The Word of God produced the church. The Word of God is not subject to the authority of the fallible church, but the church is subject to the infallible authority of the Word of God.

As followers of Jesus Christ and students of the Holy Scriptures it is important that we approach the written Word of God with reverence and allow its truth to transform our hearts and minds. We do not go to the Bible to validate what we believe to be true about God; we go to the Bible to learn what God has revealed about Himself through His Word.

We are reminded throughout scripture of the importance of the Word of God in our lives.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

 

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

 

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. (Psalm 119:97-98)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

What is the Bible?

The Bible is the divine library, consisting of 66 separate yet related books. It is THE Book of all books, priceless and incomparable. Its two divisions are the Old Testament, having 39 books and the New Testament containing 27 books. Though a compilation of 66 books it is really one unified book. The Bible is the only authoritative written revelation of God. Jesus Christ is the Living Word, the Word made flesh and the Bible is the Written Word; both are the “Logos”. The Living Word is revealed in the Written Word and the Written Word leads us to the Living Word. They are one. (Kevin J. Connor)

 

As a Christian, prayer and the study of God’s Word are two of the most important elements in our lives. It is with these thoughts that I would like to share a few practical principles to be mindful of when studying the scriptures.

 

  1. In order for you to truly understand the message of scriptures you must accept that the Bible is true and that it is the authoritative Word of God.

  2. The Bible is self-interpreting and self-explanatory. You will find that one verse will explain others. “All your words are true” (Psalm 119:160).

  3. Each statement in the Bible has one meaning but it may have several different applications. The literal meaning of the verse is generally the correct meaning. The Bible means what is written and nothing else is hidden.

  4. We cannot interpret the Bible in light of our experience we must interpret our experiences in light of the Bible.

  5. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to those who humbly seek after God and are willing to listed, obey and be changed.  The Bible’s primary purpose is to transform our lives not to increase our knowledge or satisfy our curiosity.

  6. Everyone is dependent on the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible.

  7. Every person has the freedom, right and responsibility to research and follow the Bible as the Holy Spirit enlightens his conscience.

  8. Church history and traditions may give guidance but do not determine our understanding of the Bible.

  9. All God’s promises in the Bible are available through the Holy Spirit to every believer in every generation.

  10. Clear and simple verses explain those which are more difficult. Central truths explain those that are peripheral.

  11. Jesus is the center of the Bible, its nucleus and its focus; its substance and brilliance.

  12. A passage may be read without its context but it can never be understood outside its context. It is vital to know how a verse relates to those before and after it. The whole context must be followed and accepted.

  13. A doctrine cannot be considered Biblical until it takes into account all that the Bible has to say about it.

 

It is important that we allow the Bible to shape our worldview; to be the solid rock upon which our lives our built. We should not attempt to interpret the Bible so that it fits within our present worldview. We must come to God and His Word with an open heart, seeking His wisdom and enlightenment; willing to be changed.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

 


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