This sermon was preached by Jason Shodd on Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 6:00PM. To download the sermon, CLICK HERE, or just listen from the webpage. If you would like a CD made of these sermons, let us know and we would be happy to oblige.
A. This is our third and final lesson on “Why Study the Bible?”
B. The study of the Bible is important because it contains God’s will for our lives.
1. It is the only absolute divine authority for the children of God.
C. As we mentioned, in this lesson we want to lay out some basic for studying the Bible.
I. FIRST STEP – READING.
A. Paul said that when we read, we can understand what he understood. (Ephesians 3:2-5 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:)
1. The Scriptures should be read to others. (1 Timothy 4:1313 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.) (Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near)
a. The NASV puts in the word “public” in (1 Timothy 4:13 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.). Thus, the translators are showing that the original language implies the public reading of the Scriptures.
b. The “he” of (Revelation 1:3) is probably the public reader of that day as seen in the fact that he changes to the pronoun “they” for the listeners.
B. What are some practical ways to read the Scriptures?
1. In preparing for a Bible class, read the text for the lesson several times. Look up and read each verse that is listed. Answer the questions.
2. For one’s own personal study. There are several good reading plans that are available.
a. Heard a story of a Christian who had followed the “Read through the Bible in One Year” plan for 49 years. Imagine the knowledge from year 1 to year 49.
3. Here’s another good plan: Read one book ever day for a month.
a. Begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for a month. It will take you no more than ten or fifteen minutes per day.
b. Divide the longer books into shorter sections, and read the first section daily for a month, the second for a month, and so forth.
1. For example, divide the gospel of John into 3 sections, seven chapters each. After three months you would have finished the book of John.
c. For variety, alternate between short books and long books.
d. Within three years, you will have read the entire New Testament about 30 times.
II. SECOND STEP – INTERPRETING OR EVALUATING.
A. By reading, we learn what the Bible says; by interpreting or evaluating, we learn what it means.
1. In (Acts 8:30-31 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.). It is not enough just to read, we must determine what it means.
2. Of course, many passages are so easily understood; we interpret them simply by reading them. Some, though, require more effort.
B. Some of the old rules for Bible study are good.
1. First, consider “What is said?”
a. Examine if it is really in the Bible.
1. A holiness preacher said, “Holy Spirit baptism is for remission of sins.”
b. Study the context or setting of what is said.
1. On baptizing someone, a young Mormon said, “No one should take this honor upon himself.” See (Hebrews 5:4 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.).
2. A Methodist preacher said, regarding the Old and New Testaments, “He has made both one.” See (Ephesians 2:14 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,).
c. We should never teach the truth with the wrong verse. (2 Corinthians 4:22 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.)
1. (1 Corinthians 2:99 But as it is written:“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”) – This verse is not referring to heaven.
2. (1 Corinthians 2:1616 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.) – It context it is not saying that all Christians have the mind of Christ, but only the inspired men.
· In our Bible study, we should consider, “Who is speaking?”
a. Sometimes the devil is speaking, but he is the father of all liars. (John 8:44 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.)
b. Some have said we shouldn’t contend for the faith against denominations because of (Acts 5:38-39 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”). This was only a man giving his advice.
c. In order to say we need instruments in worship to today some may use (Psalm 150:3-4 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! 4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!). However, this was David speaking, who was under the Old Law, not the New.
3. To understand the Bible, we should consider, “To whom is it said?”
a. Some think that every passage applies to them.
b. (John 14:26 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.) – This was said to the apostles only.
4. In our Bible study, we need to consider all that is said. (Psalm 119:160 160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.) (Isaiah 28:10 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”)
a. Every passage tells the truth, but not all the truth is in every passage.
· “The entirety of your word is truth.”
· Some use (Romans 5:1 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,) or (John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.) and say we are saved by faith only.
a. However, those verses say nothing about repentance and confession.
· From (Titus 1:5 5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—) If a young preacher said that elders could oversee a whole city of churches. He had not considered (1 Peter 5:22 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly).
C. The best means of interpretation is to “interpret the Bible by the Bible.”
1. We should let the Holy Spirit teach us.
a. Use cross references, comparative passages, concordances, indexes, and other helps. The topical Bibles are good for this.
2. Determine the meaning of Bible words.
a. Again, compare verses and notice how words are use in various passages.
b. Good Bible dictionaries also help; however, please beware that they are only the works of men. For example, under the word “coming,” Vine teaches “Premillennialism.”
3. Follow God’s commandments and you will have Bible knowledge.
a. Here are some of God’s commands regarding knowing
His will. See chart below: “God’s commands for study.”
b. If we follow these commandments, we certainly will know God’s will.
III. THIRD STEP – APPLICATION.
A. By reading and interpreting the Bible, we gain an understanding of what it says and means. We must then apply it to our lives.
1. Many people know what the Bible says, but can’t seem to make application.
a. Perhaps the problem is that they really don’t want to make application.
2. We need to pray for the wisdom to properly apply God’s Word. (James 1:5 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.)
3. Someone has said, “What is the best translation of the Bible? -A translation into one’s life.”
4. One commentary said on (Philippians 2:4 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.), “This verse does not need show, but application.
a. That could be said of nearly all the verses in the Bible.
B. We must let God’s Word penetrate our hearts and change our lives.
1. “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only.” (James 1:21-25 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.)
a. First of all, it must be implanted in our minds. Vs. 21
· (Hebrews 8:10 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.) – Old Covenant and its laws were just something inscribed on stones. Under the New Covenant, God’s laws are inscribed on our hearts. His laws are in our minds and in our hearts because we have studied them and we know them.
b. We must also do what the Word says. Vs. 25 of James 1.
· As Jesus would say – (John 13:17 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them).
C. After reading and studying various passages, we should ask, “What practical application can I draw for my life?”
a. There are some good helps on the market. Example: Would be a good study bible.
b. However, again bear in mind that in some places, the footnotes teach error.
D. Remember, the power of the Word itself. (Hebrews 4:12 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.)
1. The Word of God is not just a collection of words, but a living, life-changing, dynamic force that works within us.
2. Like a surgeon’s knife, the Word of God penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual being.
3. It has the power to change and shape our lives.
A. Let me emphasize, again, that we should always approach the Bible as the absolute authority.
1. We should have awesome respect for God’s Word. It is the standard which will judge us in the last day. (Revelation 20:12 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.)
B. Let me emphasize, also, that we should always study the Bible with an open mind and honest heart.
1. We must remove all former ideas and go to the Bible to learn God’s will.
2. If we approach the Bible with pre-conceived ideas, that it can only teach what we have already been taught, we will somehow make verses mean what we have already been taught.
3. The greater majority of people corrupt the Word of God. (2 Corinthians 2:1717 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.)
C. How do we study the Bible?
1. FIRST STEP – READING.
2. SECOND STEP – INTERPRETING OR EVALUATING.
3. THIRD STEP – APPLICATION.
featured image courtesy of revger licensed via Creative Commons.