HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
INTRODUCTION: "More about Jesus would I know,
more of His grace to others show, more of His saving fullness see, more
of His love who died for me." How many times have we sung this song. But
are we really wanting to know more about Jesus.
We have begun a series of lessons on "How to
study the Bible" in an effort to learn more about the wonderful message
of Jesus and what he has done for us. This is part two in a series.
I. DON'T FORGET THE TWO MAIN DIVISIONS IN
A. The Old Testament was written for
a specific purpose: to prepare the way for the coming of Christ and His
II. REMEMBER THE FIVE W's OF BIBLE STUDY.
1. Galatians 3:24 - "Wherefore the law
was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified
B. The New Testament has taken the place of the
2. Romans 3:20 - "Therefore by the deeds of the
law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the
knowledge of sin."
3. The Law of Moses prepared a sinful world for
the coming of the Messiah. It showed to man the awfulness of sin, the impossibility
of justification by our own deeds, and the need for a redeemer.
1. Colossians 2:14 "Blotting out the
handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"
C. Knowing this division is important.
2. Hebrews 9:15-17 "And for this
cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death,
for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament,
they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death
of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise
it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."
1. Without it one would not know not
to offer burnt sacrifices.
2. One would still be bound to the practices
of circumcision, keeping of feast days, and the abstaining from different
kinds of meats.
3. One would not have a direct relationship with
the heavenly Father but would still need to go through a separate priesthood.
4. An understanding of the proper divisions between
Old and New Testaments will allow us to understand whether we are bound
by certain commandments or not.
A. Who wrote, or spoke this?
III. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW
WE FIND BIBLE AUTHORITY FOR WHAT WE DO.
1. Who is doing the speaking?
B. When was it written?
2. Is it God, or some inspired man speaking the
word of God.
3. Is it some uninspired person, like the Devil
doing the speaking.
a. See Genesis 2:17 and Genesis 3:4
4. This is especially helpful when reading some
of the book of Job. Many of the statements spoken in the book were spoken
by uninspired men, like Job's "friends". Their statements must not be taken
as God's will.
a. Such statements are inspired in that
they have been accurately preserved, but they are not necessarily God's
1. This is important when we read of
C. Where are the words found?
2. Jesus commanded his followers to follow Moses
and the pharisees in Matthew 23:1 while after his death he said that he
had all authority (Matthew 28:18-20).
1. What is the context?
D. Why was it written?
2. Matthew 4:6 - "He shall give his angels charge
concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any
time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
a. This is a direct quote from Psalm
91:11. But when one looks at the context it is a quote from the Devil who
twists the Scriptures to suit his own evil purposes.
1. Miracles were commanded but the reasons
were also revealed, thus implying the duration.
E. To Whom was it written or spoken?
a. Mark 16:14-20 and Hebrews 2:3-4.
2. Footwashing was commanded, but as a good work
and not as an act of public worship.
a. John 13:14 and 1 Timothy 5:9-10.
1. Acts 2:38 was spoken to alien sinners
while Acts 8:22 was spoken to unfaithful Christians.
2.. Noah was commanded to build an ark, but we
A. Is there a Direct Command for what
we desire to do?
CONCLUSION: The Bible can be understood by the average
person. We simply need to put in some effort in that study. We will be
eternally rewarded in our labors.
1. Mark 16:16 is very clear about the
necessity of belief and baptism for salvation.
B. Is there an example of Inspired men doing something
that would be binding on us?
2. Luke 13:3,5 is just as clear about the necessity
1. How do we know if an example of an
inspired man is binding on us today? For example, are we still bound by
the example of Paul preaching until midnight? Are we required to meet in
an upper room because the Lord and his apostles did so?
C. We need to differentiate between General and
2. Some commonsense ways to know when an example
a. If the example of doing something
is necessary to carry out a command. For example, the apostles meeting
on the Lord's day (Acts 20:6-7) is binding on us because it is necessary
to carry Jesus' admonition to "do this in remembrance of me." However,
meeting in an upper chamber, or a specific container for the emblems is
not necessary to the carrying out of the Lord's command.
b. If the example was for a specific purpose
for the circumstances surrounding it and not to carry out an underlying
command it is not binding on us. Paul circumcised Timothy so that he, a
half Jew would be accepted in Paul's work with the Jews (Acts 16:1-3),
but Paul refused to circumcise Titus, a full gentile, because it would
have set an binding example on the gentiles (Galatians 2:3-4). Using the
circumcision of Timothy as a binding example on Christians would not be
sound reasoning because Paul meant it as a expedience to allow him to use
Timothy, not as an example for all Christians to follow. Titus demonstrates
1. General (or generic) Authority
where God gives us a command to do something and does so in a broad way,
allowing the individual the option to carry out the command it the best
way in their sight.
D. We need to keep in mind the Law of Silence.
2. Specific authority is where the Lord
gives the details of a command. He tells the how as well as the what of
3. In most cases the commands of the Lord are
a combination of both general and specific authority. Some Examples.
a. We are commanded to preach the gospel
to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). We are told specifically what the preach,
the gospel. The message is specific, excluding others. But we are generally
told to go. It is left up to us as to the means of carrying out the message.
b. We are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19).
In this verses the kind of music to be used is specified, singing. The
instrument is specified, the heart. This excludes other types of music.
But it is also general in nature. He does not specific from where to get
the words. Therefore, the use of songbooks, hymnboards to announce the
songs, or tuning forks and pitchpipes to get the right pitch are all authority
by general authority because they do not change the nature of sings. But
instrumental music is a violation of the specific of the command, to sing
with the voice.
1. While not specifically written down,
it is nonetheless a true principle.
2. When the New Testament specifies a command,
we are not free to do it in a different way, even though there may not
be a "thou shalt not" for what we are wanting to.
3. A New Testament example of the law of Silence.
a. Hebrews 7:12-15 teaches that Jesus'
priesthood has replaced the levitical priesthood because Jesus, our high
priest, could not be a priest under the old covenant because, "For it is
evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing
concerning priesthood." The old covenant specified that the priests come
from the tribe of Levi. But it did not say not to have the priest come
from Judah. It didn't have to. When the Lord specified it ruled out all
4. For example, when the New Testament specifies
immersion, it does not have to specifically rule out all other so called
"modes" of baptism.
Copyright 1999 by Grady
Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.