How To Study The Bible Part 2

Purpose & Process of Study

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens 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; {21} In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: {22} In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Last week we spoke of the Scripture, and showed that the Bible properly taught – both Old and New Testaments – is the FOUNDATION of the Church. Last week I quoted from our above text:

{you} … are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone

The Apostles wrote the New Testament Scripture that we enjoy, and the Prophets wrote the Old Testament Scripture. The foundation of the Church is the Scripture properly interpreted. And all Scripture points to Christ. As we draw Scripture into our lives the will of God is that we become more like Christ. One of my favorite Scriptures is:

Romans 8:28-29 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

All things work together for good to them that love God”. Everything that comes our way has a divine and eternal purpose. What is that purpose? We are told in verse 29 “we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”. We are to be like Christ. We are to imitate Christ. Our thoughts are to be like Christ’s. Our actions are to be like Christ. In Ephesians 2 the Apostle uses two words to describe what we are not:

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Because of Christ we are no more STRANGERS.

This is the Greek ξένος xénos (pronounced Z-nos) which means a person who is not under covenant with God. This word was used of Judas Iscariot who hung himself. The Jews who plotted with him took the thirty pieces of silver that he betrayed Christ with and bought a field:

Matthew 27:7-10 (KJV) And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers (xénos) in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.

Judas was treated as if he were a Gentile, a person who had no covenant relation with God. Before Christ we who are Gentiles had no covenant relation with God. Now in Christ we do. Because of His Blood we are grafted into the Promises of Abraham (Romans 11:17, 24). We are no longer xénos but are “of the household of God”.

Because of Christ we are no longer FOREIGNERS.

The word “FOREIGNERS” is the Greek πάροικος pároikos, (pronounced par’-oy-kos) which means “an illegal alien, someone who lives in a land without right of citizenship”. Everyone knows the problem we have in America with unregistered illegal aliens. Before Christ the unsaved live off of the bounty of God’s goodness, enjoying His sunshine and rain in due season, but were not citizens of the Kingdom of God. Since God grafted us into the Covenant of Abraham by the Blood of Christ we are now citizens of the Kingdom of God. We follow Christ our King. We are “fellow citizens with the Saints”, that is, we have the same birth certificate that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, Ruth, and all the other saints of Scripture.

The reason that God saved us is so that we can …

(vs 21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord

In Whom” – that is, “In Christ” work together to become a Holy Temple in the Lord. We are God’s Church. TOGETHER we are God’s Church. When the focus of every member in the Church is not Christ but themselves then we stall as a Church, becoming like the Church of Ephesus.

Did you notice our focal text is the letter of EPHESIANS to the Church at EPHESUS?

Jesus warned this Church in Revelation 2:4-5 (KJV) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

This Church – once so promising that God wrote a love letter to it in Ephesians – in Revelation Jesus chastised that Church for leaving its first love. How does a Church leave its first love? By each member neglecting and rejecting personal and corporate or collective Bible study. As you study the Scripture and do as it requires it makes you like Christ. Reject Scripture and study the world and become UNlike Christ and like the world. Our first love is Christ. We follow Him as we intake Scripture. As we absorb God’s Word into our souls we become a place that is becoming to God. That is why the Scripture says:

In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God
through the Spirit.

As each member grows spiritually the Word of God increases in the Church. As the Word of God increases the Church increases. We see this in the Book of Acts:

Acts 12:23-24 (KJV) … immediately the angel of the Lord smote {Herod}, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Acts 19:18-20 (KJV)18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

As the Church grows spiritually, so does it impact the world around it. The light destroys the darkness! Now what we just did with our focal text is called Bible Study. It is deeper than reading the text, though careful reading is involved in it.

Bible Study Begins With Daily Solitude

A You must get away from the world and its noise if you are going to study God’s Word. You need to get to a place where you can talk alone with God. As we studied last week, meaningful Bible Study is not possible unless God is teaching you. God wrote the Book, and God has to explain the Book. You must get away from the world. Turn off the cell phone, the TV, the computer, and talk to God. Make time for God. I make an appointment with God every day, and guard that time as if it were a gold bar. Our Lord Jesus was the busiest Person ever on the face of the earth. People chased after Him. But look:

Luke 5:15-16 (KJV)15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

If the Lord Jesus needed a quiet place, we need a quiet place. Studying the Bible requires quiet – a quiet room, a quiet place, a park, your back yard, where ever you can go to get away for a while. Don’t take your cell phone, or if you do, turn it off. Tell people you have an appointment with an important Person. You do. He is the Lord!

b Before opening the Book, do some personal housekeeping. Confess your known sins to God. The Psalmist David said:

Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Sin becomes a barrier between the Believer and His Lord. If you will study God’s Word, you must purge your conscience before God. Acknowledge your sins to God.

Psalms 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Once sin is earnestly confessed – SELAH – REST! Do not fall in the trap of trying to do penance. Admit the sin to God, and believe that God is faithful and just. Claim His promise by faith …

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

The old time Puritan Preacher Thomas Watson said: “The godly man is ingenuous in laying open his sins. The hypocrite doth veil and smother his sin; like a patient that hath some loathsome disease in his body, he will rather die than confess his disease; but a godly man’s sincerity is seen in this – he will confess and shame himself for sin. … Nay, a child of God will confess sin in particular; an unsound Christian will confess sin by wholesale; he will acknowledge he is a sinner in general, whereas David doth, as it were, point with his finger to the sore: “I have done this evil” (Psalm 51:4); he doth not say I have done evil, but this evil. He points at his blood guiltiness”.

God will never forgive an excuse, but He does forgive confessed sin and purify from all unrighteousness if we would but humble ourselves and confess those sins to Him.

c As you come to the Word acknowledge your total dependence on God. If God will not teach you you shall not be taught. God promises to give us wisdom.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Christians have received the Holy Spirit of Adoption by Whom we cry out Abba, Father! (Romans 8:15). This same Spirit is given to guide us in God’s Truth:

1 Corinthians 2:12 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.

We have received the Spirit of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. The Spirit is given to …

John 16:13-14 … guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. {14} He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.

As believers we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time (1 Peter 5:6). We humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift us up (James 4:10). Doesn’t Scripture teach us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble? (James 4:6).

The purpose of Bible study is To Be Like Christ

a As Citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom we are to DO the Scripture. True faith is always accompanied by FOLLOWING. Why did the first generation of Israel die outside of the Promised Land? Because they would not step out on faith. The Bible says:

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

The Land was already theirs, but they would not follow the example of Abraham who believed God:

Hebrews 11:8-9 (KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise

What is the purpose of Bible study? Do we study the Bible for mere knowledge, so that we – like Scribes and Pharisees – can have great knowledge so others will bow before us? No! We study the Word so that we can draw closer to God.

b We study the Word of God so that we can have a “know so” salvation. The Apostle said:

1 John 5:13 (KJV) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

God wants us all to have a know so salvation. He wants us to be secure in our place in His family. As you study scripture your salvation is affirmed. You become more confident as a believer, more usable for God.

Prayerfully Read And Study IN CONTEXT!

As we looked at our focal text today we studied the text IN CONTEXT. What does that mean? I tried not to read anything into the text, but took the text as it was and prayerfully considered it. I examined every word of the text, and looked at it as a precious thing placed in my hands.

  • I read all of the Scripture around our focal text, not taking anything out of context.
  • I looked up key words in the original language from which our Bible is translated. There are online resources like www.blueletterbible.org or www.biblegateway.org that allow you to look up the Greek or Hebrew words behind the English translation.
  • I looked up texts in reputable Bible Commentaries and Dictionaries.
  • The greatest resource I have is 43 years of daily reading and study of the Scripture. The more you read daily the better your growth in study.

One of the first translators of the Bible was John Wycliffe, and he advised his students:

“It shall Greatly Helpe Ye to Understand Scripture, If Thou Mark Not only What is Spoken or Written, But of Whom, And to Whom, With what Words, At what Time, Where, to what Intent, With what Circumstances, Considering what Goeth Before And what Followeth.”

The Scripture is to be “rightly divided”:

2 Timothy 2:15-16 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. {16} But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Avoid human traditions. Jesus chastised the Pharisees who rejected …

Mark 7:9 … the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

They were not interested in becoming more like Christ, nor were the Pharisees and Scribes interested in being the light of the world. They were interested in justifying their lifestyle – so they pulled Scripture out of context. In doing so they perverted the Word of God.

c As you read the Scripture in context, ask God how to fit it in the context of your daily life. What does God want me to do? Jesus said:

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Without personal application your Bible study is useless. Read the text carefully and prayerfully, circling your action verbs. Look at verb tense. Pay attention to the small words – a, an, the, is – because they carry big meaning. Approach the Scripture with no preconceived notions. Be a Biblical Literalist. Ask God to teach you to rest in what He has said, to trust what He has said, and to believe in what He has said – period!

Avoid these pitfalls

  • Do not try and make the Bible say what you want it to say.

  • Do not “spiritualize” the text. Take it literally – unless it makes no sense otherwise.

  • Do not approach Scripture with a settled mind. Ask God to tell you what it means.

  • Do not isolate texts from their contexts. Study your texts in context and be blessed of God.

  • Don’t dismiss a text as applicable today because you’re uncomfortable with it. What God has said stands forever.

  • Do not fail to apply the text to your own life.

May God bless you as you grow in the knowledge and application of His truths. Thank You, dear Lord, for your Unspeakable Gift!

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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