“10 Principles for Bible Study” October 29

 

10 Principles for Bible Study - What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of one important principle. So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God's Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of this one important principle.

So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 43 & 44
Psalm 119.97-104
Proverbs 28.3
2 Timothy 2.1-26

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

 

2 Timothy 2.1-26:

Cutting God’s Word Straight

There is an abundance of practical wisdom in this chapter. One of my favorite verses and key to our walks with God is verse 15:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

sewing-sizzorsSo much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God.

Here are some principles that can help us study and understand God’s Word more accurately:

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

  1. Unless a passage is clearly symbolic, we should interpret the Bible literally. The Bible does contain parables, analogies, figures of speech and symbolic language, but even those passages point us to literal truth.
  2. Study the Bible in context. It is easy to lift certain passages out of context and assume they mean something entirely different. Doing so can lead to all kinds of error.
  3. Study the Bible in its historical and cultural context. What did it mean to the people who first heard it. God’s principles are true for all people at all times, but must be properly understood.
  4. Allow the Bible to interpret itself by looking up parallel passages and cross references.
  5. Understand that the Bible does not contradict itself, although sometimes we must dig deeper.
  6. Consider grammar and sentence structure. Who or what is the subject of the sentence? To whom do the pronouns refer? In what tense is the verb?
  7. Understand analogies, figures of speech, etc. Jesus Himself sometimes used exaggeration (pluck out your eye, cut off your arm), comparison, simile (I am the Door), and other literary devices to make a point. These are generally obvious. If not, they should only be considered after using other methods of interpretation.
  8. Never base a doctrine on a single verse or rhetorical question (i. e. 1 Cor. 15.29 about being baptized for the dead).
  9. Understand the difference between a principle and a promise. The book of Proverbs for example is a book of general truths and principles, not iron clad promises.
  10. Always interpret personal experience in light of Scripture, not Scripture in light of personal experience.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it will help guide you as you seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 43 & Jer 44:

Sinning Against Ourselves 

Continue reading