The Expository Files



How To Study the Bible


The Bible is the most widely read book of human history. It is God’s word and it ought to be approached with deep respect. We are urged to handle it in a careful and diligent manner (2 Tim. 2:15). As we seek truth, we need to have the attitude that we are willing to apply it to our lives, thus making Bible study a meaningful, fulfilling, life changing event. To make Bible study what it ought to be, there are several good rules to follow:

1) Take a positive approach. Allow what is learned to change one’s life and attitude, setting aside our own opinions, prejudices and ideas in favor of what we read in God’s book (James 4:10). 

2) Realize that there are no contradictions in the Bible. When people ask about Bible contradictions, I ask them to show me one. Usually they have no example, but if they do, upon examination there has always been a reasonable explanation to show it was really no contradiction at all. God’s word is true. (John 17:17).

3) Pray for understanding. Ask God for wisdom in applying the things learned in everyday life (James 1:5,6). 

4) Be willing to accept and correct. Loving God means being willing to say “Yes” to His teaching (Jer. 10:23,24).         

5) Consider the context. See who is speaking and who is being spoken to. Just because the Bible contains the command “Build an ark” does not mean you are the one to build it.  

6) Consider all that the Bible says on a given subject. Don’t just pick and choose; get the complete picture. 

7) Do not put vague passages first. Build your knowledge base on the easier understood passages first before proceeding to the more difficult.

We hope that you have found these suggestions helpful.

In 2 Cor. 5:7 the Scriptures state “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” Difficult questions are out there. Why does God allow those terrible things to happen? Innocent children become victims of war or crime or hunger. Good people fall victim to disease. The list could go on.

God does not cause these things - but many would ask why does He even allow them if He could stop them? The truth is, while we may be able to find some answers in Scripture, we do no fully understand. We walk by faith and not by sight. At least we have the ability to look at our fallen world and recognize that not all is as it ought to be… we comprehend right and wrong even in the darkest of places.

Faith accepts that God is loving and good even when our present distress would tend to hide those qualities. Faith endures and does not charge God foolishly (see Job 1:22) nor does it curse God and die (see Job 2:9,10). Faith accepts that there is much in the infinite picture that we do not yet see. It looks beyond the present cares of this world and time to a life beyond where God promises that He will “wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” (Rev. 21:4). Faith waits patiently for the Lord, putting Him first always, despite the present distress, and trusts in Him to bring us safely to that day when faith will become sight.

By Jon W. Quinn

The Final Page
From Expository Files 22.7;  July 2015