How to study scripture to find truth.
Scripture Study Helps
Tips on how to study and understand scripture properly
I just cannot understand how so many professing Christians can have a belief without any idea if it is truly scriptural. I suppose that part of the reason is the false teachings that are so prevalent in the church today. The lie that you are never to question the leaders and that they are there to teach you and you must accept what they teach. Interestingly there is not one scripture that says there are to be leaders in the new testament church. It talks about being an example and teaching , leading by setting an example, ruling his own house and “taking care of the church”. It says He has appointed men for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry etc. and this Mark 10:42 but Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
I have seen so much damage in the body of Christ by the teachings of these hirelings that do not teach the saints, to NOT believe ANYTHING that they are taught by ANYONE until and unless they have gone to scripture with the aid of the Holy Spirit and proven it. If it does not pass the “truth” test it should be rejected no matter who wants you to believe it. The teacher will ultimately answer for what he teaches but you and only you are responsible to God for what YOU BELIEVE.
There is nothing wrong with admitting you do not know or that you are still waiting to be sure what the truth is. It certainly makes more sense then have to later say I used to believe that but now I believe this. Whether true or not it makes you look wishy washy to have to admit you had to change your stand on a scriptural issue. I have always done this and there are still many things I do not have an understanding that I am willing bet my life on so I do not teach them. I just say I do not have the full decision on that yet, but this is what I see so far according to scripture, or I don't know yet.
Because I was taught this early on I have never “yet” had to change what I believe on a scrptural issue.
With all the scriptural admonition to test all things to see if they be of God, and warnings about false teachers etc, how can one profess to be a Christian and not be able to show the scriptures taken in context that support his belief. And worse yet so many of these people try to teach others their opinion as gospel without scriptural backup. They have all the typical answers like, how can a just God do that, why would God ,being love, allow that and so on. These are just excuses and should be a warning to beware the first time you hear such an excuse. Your reply should be “show me the scriptures taken in context to support what you are saying,” and if they cannot do so reject it. If the subject is one that you are interested in study it for yourself. The best way is to use scripture and study aids only, and let the Holy Spirit guide you to all truth as is His promise. I personally prefer to study for myself and get my understanding without reading what anyone else says. Once I have decided what scripture is saying I will then read a commentary or two, but remember they are not necessarily correct either. I prefer Adam Clarke because he seems to understand things best, gives documentation that makes sense and is not afraid to disagree with the others when they are wrong but most people have a favorite of their own..
If you choose to do otherwise just be sure that you do not let any other person's “opinion” lead you without double checking context of their references as I find over half of all scripture references I check take scripture out of context or use it incomplete. We cannot do that to find truth.
One of my favorite resources which I highly recommend is the interlinear bible. It gives a word by word translation without all the assumed verbage being added and also the strongs numbers. I also recommend a good computer bible study program, my favorite is PC Study Bible , they have several versions and run sales regularly, There are also quite a few free ones available on the internet but be careful as some are free because they want you to follow their teachings. An open source one is usually best. If they are from a denomination, church or ministry I would be probably not use them.
I believe the minimum in equipment whether on computer or book form would be the following.
A new king james bible, an amplified bible and an interlinear bible. A good concordance. A good bible dictionary, not a modern one. And a good commentary, I prefer Adam Clarke Commentary. Also a Greek/Hebrew word dictionary is handy. And one other that I consider a necessity is Manners and Customs of the Bible. This one helps understand the manners and customs of the bible period which are very different than modern customs. This can be downloaded free from the internet. And I recommend reading it before you start your study.
There are my suggestions that serve me well along with many others but use the ones that you prefer.
And if you do not have them all start with what you have and add the others as you can.
Suggested readings to begin.
First I will tell you that in order to understand much of the new testament you have to understand much of the old testament. The way I teach is to read and study Genesis and Exodus verse by verse from GENESIS verse one through Exodus 40 verse 38. This gives a good basis for starting the new testament.
Then read and study from the New testament Matthew verse 1 thru Jude verse 25. I do not recommend Revelation the first time. Many people teach it but most of them do not really understand it they just repeat what they have been taught. And I believe that when God gives the real meaning Many will be surprised and embarrassed
As you study the new testament, when you come to a place that needs an understanding from the old testament, stop and go there, read and study necessary information to understand the new testament scripture then continue in the new testament study.
Once you have completed this you will usually find you have found your way and you will have more things you want to study than you have time.
Then at some point you will need to read all the rest of the bible in whatever sequence you feel the need for. I would guess I probably read the whole bible piece by piece in no particular order 4-5 times before I ever read it straight through in order. It seems different parts draw different people in different order so don't worry. As you are studying if you come to something you want to pursue, stop and do it. Make it as much fun as possible as you want to learn to study in a manner that you enjoy.
I also say do not worry about memorizing the scriptures, LEARN what they mean as this is the important thing, understanding scripture properly. And you will find the ones that are important to you will become so familiar you will be able to quote them as you learn. Understanding the scripture is the most important thing. . .
As you study, the concordance will be one of your most used tools. With it you enter a word or verse and it tells each scripture where that word or verse appears in the bible.
How to Study Scripture.
There are several important things to understand about studying the scriptures
Most Important is context, context, context. Every false doctrine and every cult exists because of scripture being used out of context or incomplete. One false doctrine I investigated at the request of a friend whose mother was involved had 150 plus scriptures that they used to prove their doctrine. I studied the first 78 and stopped because every single one was either taken out of context or incomplete. If you are going to err in checking context then check more than is necessary. Many times you have to read a whole chapter and even for some a whole book to establish proper use and context. Read forward and back as much and as many times as necessary to establish contextual usage. And always use the complete verse(s) as needed to establish context. Remember context is everything in use of scripture as proof of a point or doctrine.
The bible never contradicts itself. If it seems to be then you have something wrong and keep looking until what you believe can be proven and cannot be contradicted with scripture in context.
You must Understand that Christianity is found in the NEW testament. In the old we learn the character and nature of God and the history of natural men reacting with Him. Christians are spiritual persons in natural bodies no longer of this world but still living in it temporarily. In the new we learn about Jesus ( who the whole old testament points to) and How He expects us to live. You must also understand that the old testament law does not apply to us. The law of Moses that controlled the people has been fulfilled by Jesus and is no longer in effect. You will see this as you study.
Be aware that there are several places in the bible where it is the same information from a different view or with additional information. For example, the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Are not 4 different stories and do not contradict each other, they supplement each other. They are the same story from the perspective of 4 different men and you know that each of us sees different things in manner of importance so our recollection of any situation will be different, So they are 4 versions from 4 different views of the same occurences.
Contrary to what many seem to believe and even teach the bible is an easy book to understand(if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit ) and is to be taken quite literally.
Understand this is intended to help someone with a desire to know the scriptures to really understand them and is a basic plan, a place to begin. It is a suggestion and certainly not the only way. BUT, the how to study scripture section is imperative if you are desiring scripture truth no matter how you go about it..
God bless you as you follow Him. Remember JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY!