How To Study Your Bible: Your Perception of Scripture Impacts Your Study of Scripture

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2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV)  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  [16]  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

I was in the bookstore the other day and noticed a large number of books listed for Dummies or “An Idiot’s Guide to..”. These are all self help books. These books taught how to play card games, how to raise chickens, how to do digital photography. Then I saw two books that blew my mind. They were:

Bible Study For Dummies and
The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Bible

Lest you be tempted to buy one of these books I want to tell you they just don’t work. Why? Because …

What did the Apostle Paul tell his young student Timothy about the Scripture? He said in verse 16:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God

Let’s examine his words. He said “ALL Scripture”.

What is the Scripture?

Is it just the Old Testament writings, just the New Testament writings, or just the Pauline writings? I went to a Church several years ago that rejected any Scripture that was not written by Paul the Apostle. So what is “Scripture”? The “Scripture” is what the Church is founded upon. The Apostle told the Church at Ephesus:

Ephesians 2:19-20 (KJV)  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  [20]  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

What is the “foundation” of the Church? the Apostles and Prophets. The writings of the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles. This is what the “Scripture” is. So when Paul told Timothy “All Scripture” he was referring to the Old and New Testament writings. Look further:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God

“Inspiration of God” can be translated “God breathed”. God spoke the Scripture into being. Though God used humans to write the Scripture down it was God’s Word, not man’s word, that was recorded. The Bible says:

2 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV)  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  [21]  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

God – using His Prophets and His Apostles – spoke through them, moving them to write as He willed. What is written in the Bible is sure, for God is its Author and the writers His Pen. If I have a paper and pen, the pen doesn’t write on the paper. It sits on the paper until I move it. Once I move it I write on the paper what I will. Now there are different types of pens. There are bold pens, and fine tip pens, and felt tip pens, and pens of all different colors.

God chose the Prophets and Apostles like I or you might choose a pen, and He wrote moving them. Their character shines through in the writing, but what was written is what God wanted to be written.

If the Bible is flawed,
the Church is flawed!

If the Bible were a human written book it would be filled with errors and flaws. If the Bible were a human written book the 66 Books and 40+ writers would be filled with contradictions and errors. But the Bible is God Breathed.

When a truth or a prophecy is given in Scripture, it is absolute truth that must be adhered to or fulfilled. It’s Source is God, and God is never wrong. When Judas betrayed Jesus and the soldiers grabbed Him in Gethsemane the Bible tells us that Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant Malchus. After the Lord healed Malchus and restored his ear He told everyone there:

Matthew 26:52-56 (KJV)  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. [53]  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  [54]  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  [55]  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.  [56]  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Jesus testified that the Scripture must be fulfilled. We do not say this of a human written book – but the Bible is GOD’S BOOK.

The Bible is absolutely accurate. When a lie is spoken and recorded by Scripture that lie is recorded faithfully. Parts of the Scripture provide historical coverage of lies made and crimes committed that God in no way condoned, yet these actions are accurately recorded. When the serpent said to Eve:

Genesis 3:4-5 (KJV)  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  [5]  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

A “serpent” did indeed speak to the woman. Though its words were lies, its lies were recorded faithfully. I do not debate whether a serpent spoke or not. I just accept what my God has told me. This is faith. Jesus said:

Matthew 4:4 (KJV) …. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

As the Scripture is “God Breathed” we can trust it implicitly.
Any error in this Book of Book is MINE!

Scripture was written to reveal Christ to us. Jesus said:

John 5:39 (KJV) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

The Scriptures tell us about Jesus. The Old Testament told us about the Jesus Christ Who was coming to be a part of our lives. The New Testament tells us about the Jesus Who has come to be a part of our lives. Someone once said both Old and New Testaments are fused together to create a single book with one coherent message, and that message is Jesus Christ. He is the glue that binds both Testaments together.

Scripture Was Written To Bless The Obedient

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable

The word profitable (ὠφέλιμος ōphelimos) means “to be advantageous, helpful. To cause to add to or bless”. The Lord told His people:

Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)  The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

There are some things we will never understand, hidden things. But God has revealed many things to us in His Word, and these revealed things belong to us and our children forever. God wants us to understand His Word, and it is to our advantage to understand it.

Understanding God’s Word and feeding our souls on it NOW will help us when we go through the hidden things and dark valleys THEN. There are many things I don’t understand – and don’t mind admitting I don’t understand. I don’t understand why people do the evil things they do to one another. I don’t understand why people practice ethnic cleansing, such as the Bosnians, Serbians, Nigerians, Albanians and other people groups have done. I don’t understand why abortion of babies is not murder in the eyes of the law. I don’t understand genocide, nor do I understand people who say they are Christians who practice hate. The Word of God in our souls is profitable, giving us comfort when we see things that are hidden to our understanding. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of Christ. You would expect him to be bitter over the imprisonment. Yet he wrote in Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. The Word of God taught him that the Lord is always in control, and that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This Word was in his soul, and it sustained him through the bitterest of times.

Our bodies are not perfect, they are riddled with sin and corruption. Dr. David Jeremiah, the Pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in the fall of 1994. He wrote: There is a strange idea going around in churches today. Some Christians have the odd impression that being a believer will exempt them from all problems. Somehow they feel, upon conversion, they’re issued the spiritual equivalent of ID cards that say, “This absolves the holder from any kind of pain or trouble while living on this planet.” It simply doesn’t work that way. We Christians have no immunity whatsoever to pain or suffering. It matters not whether you’re a new convert or a wise spiritual giant, you’re still an imperfect human creature living in a fallen world …. When we become part of God’s own family, what sets us apart is not any difference in the sin environment around us, but how we deal with it.”

The Christian must intrinsically change to the point where the trials of life do not destroy us. How do we do this? How do we overcome – even when family and friends betray us? Jesus told us that for Christians ….

Matthew 10:36 … a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

David Jeremiah survived his hidden time by relying on God’s Word. He wrote: “When we are at our lowest point, a place where even those closest to us cannot walk with us, it is God who walks at our side.”

Psalms 23:4 (KJV)  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Flight attendants on an aircraft always tell you where the emergency exits are before the aircraft takes off, not after it lands? Why is that? Because it’s hard to brief you on how to escape when the plane is going down. The worst time to try and learn is where the exits are is when the building is on fire, or the plane has hit the sea. Learn prior to the trial, absorb the “Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23) before you have to cross the Jordan and confront enemies.

Reading and understanding God’s Word will make us effective and usable as Christians. You cannot be light in darkness unless His Word is in your hearts. It is God’s intent that

2 Timothy 3:17 (KJV)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Word of God equips you so that you can do good works. Good works are not what we think are good, but what GOD thinks is good. The Bible tells us:

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  [18]  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation ..

If we are in Christ – children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26) – then our old way of life and old way of thinking are past. The NEW Creature must be NEWLY programmed. The Scriptures does this. Many young Christians do not study the Word and therefore keep operating according to the old man, the old way of life. We are to opererate in the New.

Romans 12:2 (KJV)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

As we absorb the Word of God God changes how we think. A butterfly starts out as a caterpillar that cocoons itself. A Christian, changed into a son of God by faith in Christ, cocoons himself in the Word of God.

The more you know of God’s Word, the more you will think like Christ. The more you think like Christ, the more you will behave like Christ. The more you behave like Christ, the greater the impact you will have on the world around you.

The Word of God was written by God for the children of God to make us like the Son of God. In order to understand the Book you must be taught by God the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (KJV)  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  [13]  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. …[16]  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of God. He is the Promise of Christ:

John 14:16-17 (KJV)  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  [17]  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

The Holy Spirit of God – the Third Person of the Trinity – lives inside of every Christian. Jesus said that the job of the Holy Spirit is to

John 14:26 (KJV)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

It is the Holy Spirit that guides us as we study the Word of God. It is His job to teach us the Word of God and remind us of the things that the Word of God wants us to do.

John 15:26 (KJV)  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to testify of the Son. He teaches us to be more like Jesus through application of the Holy Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit Who initially opened your eyes to the Gospel, convicting you that you were a sinner, doomed to eternal damnation (John 16:7-15).

In order to understand God’s Word I must first be saved. If I am saved by faith in Christ, then I must be in fellowship with God. If there is active sin in my life I must repent and turn from it.

1 John 1:9 (KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Before beginning any Bible study we need to confess our sins to God, and then ask God to lead us in our study. We then need to trust God, reading with an accepting heart. When we do not understand something, we do not disbelieve it. Rather we continue to trust God, reading and studying His Word.

John 10:35 (KJV)   … the scripture cannot be broken;

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Scripture teaches us. It rebukes us, making the crooked straight. Scripture corrects us, bringing us in line with the mind of God. It trains us in righteousness, keeping us salt and light. We must trust Him as we study His Word. We must be shaped by His Word, not shaping it to us but us by it. Remember the admonition of Solomon:

Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  [6]  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: [19]  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

These are solemn words. Let us commit ourselves to heed His Word and be the blank canvases that we should be so that Christ can be formed in us. For His glory. Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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