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Understanding the Bible: Discernment, Context, Concordance, Language, and Meditation.

Updated on August 3, 2018
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Given the historical and spiritual significance of the Bible, Kevin has devoted himself to studies through prayer and discernment.

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Disclaimer

The reason for the title change is because the verse referenced in the URL is Isaiah 28 10. "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" I thought the word "precept" meant cross reference since it says "line upon line". But it doesn't. it is a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought. Within the context of this passage, the latter definition seems more applicable. The Strong's Concordance gives us this definition of the word precept. 6673. tsav: perhaps command. Click here for more info. My apologies for any confusion.

Welcome. Today we will be going over the key steps into understanding the Bible.

  1. Discernment
  2. Context
  3. Concordance/Lexicon
  4. Language
  5. Meditation
  6. Example

Discernment

The very first thing you need to do is pray for discernment and keep an open mind. Remember, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do his commandments; his praise endureth for ever." Psalms 111:10. So make sure you are keeping his commandments, which is the law, statutes, and commandments that every true follower stood by in Scripture. Make sure you are earnest and righteous and trust in The Most High. Because if not, then you can be deceived by even one verse if you do not have the true understanding. With that being said, I encourage you to read this article in hopes that you will be edified by its contents and find a better spiritual understanding.


Context

Because a verse taken out of context can mean anything. For example, Luke 11 9. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."


Luke 11:9 has little to do with guaranteeing our personal fulfillment. Let’s look to the context of the verse rather than attempting to apply it by itself. To understand Luke 11:9, let us look to the beginning of the chapter. Christ teaches them the Lord’s Prayer, which serves as an example of how we are to pray. Nowhere do we see this verse is used to refer to anything monetary or personal. It is a humble supplication, asking God to help us live the way He wishes us to live. This is not to say God will never do that for you, but be careful when using a verse out of context.

Concordance/Lexicon

A concordance is an alphabetical list of the words (especially the important ones) present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned, while a Lexicon is a dictionary, especially for Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Arabic. Both are used to pinpoint specific words in scripture and show both the original word is used, the meaning of the word, the etymology of the word, where that word has been used, and more. I am more familiar with the Concordance so I will be using it for this and for my articles.


DISCLAIMER: The Concordance has different variations and the number related to words can be taken out of context. So whatever you do, put things in the correct context when reading. And don't put this above scripture. Use it with caution.


Whether you believe that later parts were written in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Paleo-Hebrew, etc, you need to remember that these people did not speak English. So meaning can be lost in translation or it can be misunderstood. That is another reason why we must remember the cross-references as I stated above. For example, let's look at this.

Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

— Song of Solomon 4 7

Song of Solomon is describing a woman and her appearance, so obviously the fair part doesn't mean fair like being fair with someone. This is describing her appearance. Nowadays we might attribute someone of fair skin as being a white person. But given that we know that the original 12 Tribes are not white, that is not the case either. So what does this mean? Let's look it up in the Strong's Concordance. 3303. yapheh: fair, beautiful. So we can see that this is describing someone who is called beautiful, not someone who is being fair or has white skin.


Genesis 17 5

You need to study the original language so you can understand some of these hidden meanings. It can explain a lot. It is good to know the meaning of the names of the prophets. Names have a significant impact. Abraham is a good example.

"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."

— Genesis 17 5

His name means he is a father of many nations. A fitting name for his destiny, as he soon fathered Isaac, who fathered Jacob, and from him came the 12 Tribes: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Meditation

Not the meditation we think of, which typically includes yoga, crossing your legs, and/or humming and praying to another god.


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

— Psalm 1 1-2

The Concordance defines this use of the word meditation.

  • 1897. hagah
  • to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse
  • Original Word: הָגָה
  • Part of Speech: Verb
  • Transliteration: hagah
  • Phonetic Spelling: (daw-gaw')
  • Short Definition: meditate


Using All Of These

Now we are going to use all of these methods to break down the meaning of Jeremiah 4 12.

When reading scripture, words might have multiple meanings when used in another verse. Especially when using the Strong's Concordance. Here is a good example. Jeremiah 14:2 "Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up."


Is this talking about a color? When we use the Concordance we get the following.


  • 6937 qadar: to be dark
  • Part of Speech: Verb
  • Transliteration: qadar
  • Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-dar')
  • Short Definition: mourning


When we look in the other translations we see that it should say they were mourning, they were upset. Go to the first verse in this chapter and you see that this was about a drought going on in the land. Keep reading on in that chapter and it shows how much trouble this drought is bringing them, so of course, they are going to be upset. This is not about a color. It is not saying they were black. They are upset over the drought. We can further prove this when we read Job 5 11. "To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety."

When we look up the word mourn in this verse we get the same thing. 6937. qadar. The word black has a few variations in scripture, such as in Lamentations 5 10. in that we get 3648. kamar. When properly translated, it should say that their skin was getting hot due to fever.


When studying scripture, use every single one of these tactics to the letter and you will not go wrong. Peace and blessings and all praises to the Most High.

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