Today, in the face of rampant religious confusion, the diligent study of the Scriptures—Old and New Testament—is more important than ever. After all, the Holy Bible is not a collection of mythological fables conceived by human minds. Rather, as Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed”—and thus reflects the very mind of God. It is His personal revelation concerning His awesome, eternal plan for mankind. And having one’s mind in the Word of God is one of the key defenses Christians have in this sin-plagued world. Yet, many Christians do not realize that their study of the Scriptures is hampered by failing to follow basic “rules” of Bible study.
In order to understand doctrine, we must study the Bible “line upon line and precept upon precept.” The prophet Isaiah writes: “Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts [that is, fully grounded in the basics of the Word of God]. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10). That is exactly how we need to study any scriptural question—look at all relevant passages on any given subject. The New Testament confirms this approach to understanding the Bible and establishing sound doctrine. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy: “Diligently study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman [in the Word of God] who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing [precept upon precept, and line upon line] the Word of the truth” (II Tim. 2:15).
The Word of God is called the Word of truth—and it is the Spirit of truth that teaches us all things. Jesus said, “But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you” (John 14:26). This is a promise Jesus gave!
The Bible makes it clear that the Word of truth works together with the Spirit of truth to give understanding to those who love God and seek His will. It is self-evident that it is not possible for the carnal mind—which is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9)—to come to the knowledge of the truth of God. In fact, the carnal, unconverted mind is naturally hostile toward God and is not willing to be subject to God’s laws (Rom. 8:7). Regardless of how brilliant or how great one’s intellect may be, God’s Word is not understood by human wisdom or reasoning. It is only through the Spirit of God that the Word of God can be understood.
Fourteen Rules for Bible Study
1) Begin with Scriptures that are easy to understand.
2) Let the Bible interpret and prove the Bible. Don’t look for what you want to prove -
3) Understand the context—the verses before and after, and the chapters before and after.
4) As much as possible, try to understand the original Hebrew or Greek. But never try to
5) Ask: What does the Scripture clearly say?
6) Ask: What does the Scripture not say?
7) Ask: Who was the book written to?
8) Ask: Who wrote it?
9) Ask: Who said it?
10) Understand the historical time frame in which the book was written.
11) Base your study on the scriptural knowledge you already have. What do you know
12) Do not allow personal assumptions or preconceived ideas to influence your under-
13) Do not form conclusions based on partial facts, insufficient information, or the
14) Opinions—regardless of how strongly you feel about them—don’t necessarily count.
A final note: Having a quality Bible translation is also important—because many so-called “translations” are unfaithful to the original inspired texts. The Holy Bible In Its Original Order—A Faithful Version is a new, easy-to-read English translation that is faithful to the inspired Hebrew and Greek texts—and one which follows the original manuscript order of the books of the Old and New Testaments. For more information on The Holy Bible In Its Original Order, please visit restoringtheoriginalbible.com.