How to Study the Bible

By John Thiel

Establish your purpose.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39. {HP 138.1}

It is not enough to study the Bible as other books are studied. In order for it to be understood savingly, the Holy Spirit must move on the heart of the searcher. The same Spirit that inspired the Word must inspire the reader of the Word. Then will be heard the voice of heaven. . . . {HP 138.2}

The mere reading of the Word will not accomplish the result designed of heaven; it must be studied and cherished in the heart. The knowledge of God is not gained without mental effort. We should diligently study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His Word. We should take one verse and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell on the thought till it becomes our own, and we know “what saith the Lord.” {HP 138.3}

There is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty or to comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in mind. {HP 138.4}

Times that will try men’s souls are just before us, and those who are weak in the faith will not stand the test of those days of peril. The great truths of revelation are to be carefully studied, for we shall all want an intelligent knowledge of the word of God. By Bible study and daily communion with Jesus we shall gain clear, well-defined views of individual responsibility and strength to stand in the day of trial and temptation. He whose life is united to Christ by hidden links will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. {HP 138.5}

We study the Bible for salvation – eternal life.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

For knowledge and practical reasons.

John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

How intently/diligently? How deep is to be our heart motive?

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

God will step in and help.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God

How do we go about seeking him besides calling on him? How does he show himself?

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

None Shall Want Her Mate

Isaiah 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

This is saying that the verse you are reading doesn’t need another verse to clarify it. The Bible also says read elsewhere sometimes but only after you have ascertained the thought without the mate. You will see as you are reading the text many that people read the Bible under a preconceived mentality and opinion and it is saying don’t do that. Just read it as it reads and try to grasp what its saying. Don’t look for a mate. Don’t come to it with a mentality with adding to or taking away from it. Many read the Bible that way. For instance the Bible says that Jesus in Romans 8 came in the likness of sinful flesh and some say that doesn’t mean exactly. He has added to it when he says that. They have put meaning in the word likeness taking it out of its correct setting and putting the word likeness in the sense of not exactly the same but the fair minded reader says if he came in the likness of sinful flesh that must mean like which is the same. As people do that, scramble for another text that says it more distinctly. Hebrews 2 says ‘the same’. The point is likeness whilst it has two different meanings yet its there. The text has its own meaning in it. As I read a text I must ascertain what that text says and don’t add or take away from it. None of Gods words will fail. Take each point of Bible declaration as you read it.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

That hinges with the verse that he who does his will knows of the doctrine. We shall not take away from a verse. For Example;

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

It doesn’t need a mate, it is to be taken as it reads. Some will say that means I can go to war and bear arms as it’s not murder. They have added and taken away from it. God’s law presents sin as sin arrived and people have broken the law and as that law has been broken, death takes place. Read the text on its own and you will understand this is God’s perfect will that life is not to be destroyed. That is the law and we know we’ve broken the law and other things come into effect but that is categoric, thou shalt not kill and that statement must be left at it is. That is the principle. If we start saying a particular Bible text means something it doesn’t, what will we be doing?

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Every statement must stand unaltered strictly. When you put the chain of connections in then you will come to a correct conclusion on the general message you are looking for. By this approach you follow the next guideline. Take each statement and leave it unaltered and the knowledge of God will become clear. When you read something you don’t need its mate, you read what is written there but if you want to understand knowledge and doctrine now the instruction comes in of looking for mates.

Here a Little and There a Little

Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

This poses a problem – how to know you are doing it right. To read a text solely on its own will give you a thought God has but that thought on its own is not a general teaching, it is just a though. But when you connect line upon line, precept upon precept, or thought upon thought you will get a chain of thoughts that come to a conclusion. If you take Gods statements as they read without enlarging them on their own leaving them where they are and then read something on the same subject, you will see a beautiful linkage. This is what we are even doing in this study. We are getting thoughts together on each statement. That is where the principle lies now. If I want to know the doctrine so I might know to do the will of God to get to know God, then I must read the Bible like this and divide it correctly.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Study to be approved of God and to do that you must rightly divide the word of truth so yes, if you want to know knowledge and understanding and teach it correctly, it is going to be precept upon precept. If it is a precept and you don’t change it then you can correctly engage it with another precept you’ve not changed. If Romans 8:3 says Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh I connect it with Hebrews 2 that he was the same.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

When you listen carefully to Bible studies and what people try to teach you will pick up immediately if you follow this method if they have hybridised the Bible text instead of leaving it as it is. This is valuable to pick up error.

Dividing the Word of Truth

Dividing the word means reading here a little and there a little. If you are a student in university and you want to develop a subject and you go to the library, what do you do? Do you only pull out one book? You pull out much resource material. The Bible is a library. Where God speaks on one subject in the Bible, he will speak on another part from a diff approach to the other. That is why it says he will speak with a stammering lip to the people. He will say it one place and then another again. We must acknowledge that we are to be a workman that studies in an approved manner by God and rightly divides the word of truth. A good example of wrong dividing is when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to you and say one day with God is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day and apply that to creation.

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

That is dividing the truth on the subject of a day but what is a correct combination? How do you know? Because the context puts the word day in its right meaning in Peter whereas the day in Genesis puts a different meaning of the word day. The day mentioned in Peter is talking about Gods patience in not willing that any should perish. Don’t be distressed if it’s taking a long time as day is as a thousand years for God. The use of the word day is different in Peter as it was used in Genesis. That is an illustration of wrongly dividing the word. If you are going to read each thought correctly under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit then Gods thought is imprinted on your mid and when you go to the next text to understand what God is teaching is, you combine all his thoughts as approved by him. Until finally his whole teaching comes into focus. The pioneers established their doctrines on this method of Bible study. For you and me to pick up on what the doctrines were in the times of the pioneers, Sr White gives us important counsel. What are we to do so we can come into totally harmony with pioneers in their method of Bible study? People will say you are trying to prove the Bible according to what the pioneers taught but we are not to study to prove a preconceived teaching, we must study for ourselves to get it right.

The very same Satan is at work to undermine the faith of the people of God at this time. There are persons ready to catch up every new idea. The prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation are misinterpreted. . . . These messages, received and acted upon, are doing their work to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. If we search the Scriptures to confirm the truth God has given His servants for the world, we shall be found proclaiming the first, second, and third angels’ messages. {CTr 342.4}

It is true that there are prophecies yet to be fulfilled. But very erroneous work has been done again and again, and will continue to be done by those who seek to find new light in the prophecies, and who begin by turning away from the light that God has already given. The messages of Revelation 14 are those by which the world is to be tested; they are the everlasting gospel and are to be sounded everywhere.—Manuscript 32, 1896 (Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, pp. 12-15). {CTr 342.5}

We are told we are to study the Bible for ourselves. Remember how carefully the pioneers developed their Bible study in the method shown here. The true method of Bible study is to treat it like we have studied as then you will find you come into perfect harmony with the pioneers as I’m taking the word of God and the truth that God had lead them to discover, I’m taking the same steps and am coming to the same conclusion. The most important part of that article was when they came to their disappointment of 1844 and studied out in the manner I have shown and they made an experience with Jesus. Their idea of their nature with Christ was perfect. They studied it for that purpose. If I’m going to study the Bible correctly, I’m also going to have to depend on those whom God has sent. Some say I don’t need anyone how to study the Bible with or what the doctrine is as I can study it myself. They are denying a plain statement of the Bible.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God sends someone to teach me. Is it important to have a preacher? It is written. I do need a preacher that gives me the guide as to finding the Lord that I’m crying to. God sends somebody. How does he send? The one who is a workman approved of God. As we are bombarded by all the different of preachers today, such a confusion of different preachers, we have to find out which among them as to which is the one God has sent so I can get my bearings. Everyone can read the Ten Commandments as we don’t need a teacher for that. Everyone reads them and even unbelievers will say we can’t keep it. The most uneducated person can read the Ten Commandments and say yes that is straight and simple. If you are looking for the correct preachers read Isaiah

Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.

God has given us a simple test and the most uneducated person can find their way through it. Those who are Christ’s disciples can have the law of God sealed among them. If some come to teach that don’t speak according to the law and the testimony there is no light in them. The Bible is resplendent in guiding us in that way. We are to be a Bible student or workman approved of God. In our bewilderment of desire and not finding, here is the promise;

Isaiah 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 21And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

The Lord says if you are in adversity and don’t know which way to turn, rely on me I will teach you. I will show you my teachers. I have relied entirely on the teachers that the Lord pointed out to me, the pioneers of Adventism. The truths the Lord put through them as I was thrown into chaos with teachers here in Australia such as Desmond Ford, Fred Wright and Brinsmead caused me to ask, Lord how do I find my way? I was pointed to the pioneers of Adventism.

Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Your Teachers

Isaiah says you will recognise your teachers and those who are not correct we cannot follow their teachings. The result of this process will be;

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Jesus says search the scriptures as in them is eternal life and when you study you discovered I’m a son of God as I believe and trust it. Now are we a Son of God and I’m allied by thy name, praise the Lord.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Amen.

Posted on March 14, 2011, in Sermons by John Thiel, Short Studies. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: