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Understanding the Word of God

(Excerpt from "Spiritual Growth, To Read the Bible or Not")

Let me share some tips on how to go about understanding the word of God.

1.  Study

2 TIMOTHY 2:
     15.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be a shamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH

     Remember that the word of God is not given to private interpretation. God wrote it. He knows what it means. We must be able to rightly divide the word of Truth. The Holy Ghost moved men to write the word of God. We must now let the Holy Ghost move us to understand the word of God.

     Through the study of God's word is where we gain an understanding. During the process of reading, you were laying a foundation even though you did not understand much of what you were reading. This is where you become the cook in the kitchen. You are going to analyze the meal and find out how to prepare that meal that you've been eating and enjoying.

    A.   Tools of Study

     In order to get the most out of your study time, there are some tools that you will need to acquire (My recommendations are in parenthesis:)

     1. A good study bible (Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, KJV.)

     2. A exhaustive concordance (Abingdons Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible / NOTE: This concordance book shows every word in the bible and its scriptural location. For example: You can look up the word love, and it will show you everywhere it occurs in the bible.)

     3. A bible dictionary.

     4. A notebook (one dedicated for study notes.)

     If you want to use another translation, I recommend a parallel bible that contains the KJV. A parallel bible shows other translations side by side. They normally show either 2, 4 or 8 translations at once. The 4 translation bible seems to be fairly popular.

     Some people enjoy COMMENTARIES. For those of you who haven't heard of them, THEY ARE BASICALLY ONE MAN'S INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. If I were to purchase a set, I would buy the Matthew Henry Commentary Set.

     B.  Tips for Studying

     There are many ways to study the bible. I'm going to give you a few to help get you started.

          (1)  Chapter Study

     In this method, you read and examine one chapter at a time. You try to locate the divisions in the chapter, discover the theme for each division, and analyze the overall perspective of the entire chapter. Then you try to apply the truths that you have learned to your life.

          (2)  Book Study

     In this method, you work on examining a whole book at one time (Example: EPHESIANS.) Many bible studies are built around this method. It encompasses the chapter method above, but broadens its scope to the analysis of an entire book. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible gives you additional insight by providing an analytical look at each book in its reference section. This analysis shows the major and minor themes of each book and gives you insight about the author and the times in which the book was written.

         (3)  Word Study

     This is the study method that I use most often. This study of the knowledge of God is an example of a word (TOPICAL) study. This is were your concordance will be most useful. You can pick a word, like grace, and use the exhaustive concordance to find every scripture that it appears in throughout the bible. Now you can read each scripture relating to that one subject.

      This is the way that I gained a lot of insight into the scriptures. I have found that every biblical idea originates in GENESIS, ends in REVELATIONS, and is chained throughout the bible. In order to fully understand each idea, you must follow it from conception to completeness. This method will be great for answering questions that are formed during your reading time.

         (4)  Study Notes

Use your notebook to take notes on all your research. There is no use in building a bridge twice. It is a waste of time. By keeping good notes in your bible and notebook, you will be able to look back at your valuable research if you ever get confused.

2.  Pray to God for Understanding

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.
     6.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
     7.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
ST LUKE 11:
     9.  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

     God wants us to know and understand his word. Each time, before you read the word, you should pray and ask God to give you wisdom so that you will understand his word. Then, be patient and wait for it to appear in your life. Do not doubt God. He will perform it. Just continue to be faithful in reading his word and continually pray to God for wisdom.

3.  Meditate on God's Word

PSALMS 1:
     1.  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of the sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
     2.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and IN HIS LAW DOTH HE MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT.
     3.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall proper.
JOSHUA 1:
     8.  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

     God makes it clear that he wants us to meditate on his word day and night. If we follow his guidance, Joshua points out that we will have good success. IF YOUR LIFE SEEMS TO BE IN TURMOIL, A LARGE PART OF THE PROBLEM COULD BE THAT YOU ARE NOT LIVING AS GOD'S WORD DICTATES. Notice in PSALMS that it says that everything that we do shall prosper. Remember also that, "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord (ROMANS 8:28)." In meditating on God's word, you will also gain understanding. The Holy Spirit will speak to you in those quiet times.

     My method for meditating is this:

     1.  I memorize the scripture that God has placed on my heart. The easiest way to memorize it is to say the scripture out loud many times until it sticks in the memory. Or else I will simply read over the passage of scriptures concerning the idea that God has given me.

     2.  Next, I reflect over the scripture word by word and then section by section.

     The idea is to keep God's word continually before you. As you reflect, the Holy Spirit will give you the inspiration and insight that God has for you.

4.  Listen to the Holy Spirit

JOB 32:
     6.  And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
     7.  I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
     8.  BUT THERE IS A SPIRIT IN MAN: AND THE INSPIRATION OF THE ALMIGHTY GIVETH THEM UNDERSTANDING.
     9.  Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgement.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:
     23.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole SPIRIT and SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     You are a triune being: spirit, soul and body. God communicates with you through your spirit.

ROMANS 8:
16. The SPIRIT itself BEARETH WITNESS with OUR SPIRIT that we are the children of God:

     This is also the way that we know that we are a Christian. God's Spirit communicates with our spirit.

ST JOHN 14:
     26.  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.
1  JOHN 2:
     26.  These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
     27.  But THE ANOINTING which ye have received of him ABIDETH IN YOU, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same ANOINTING TEACHETH YOU OF ALL THINGS, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

     It is evident that the body to which this letter was addressed was having problems with false teachers. They were seducing the Christians and causing them to err concerning the word of God. We find this problem prevalent in many churches today. You must rely on the Holy Spirit to keep you on track with God's word. If you truly love the Lord, the Holy Ghost will not let you be misled for long. This is why it is critical that you read the word of God for yourself.

     As you start being obedient to God's command to read and study his word, the Holy Spirit will guide your understanding.

Author Rev. Kelvin Franklin   Email: teacher@bibleplace.com
Title of Book Spiritual Growth: To Read the Bible or Not?
Copyright 1991 KC Enterprises.  All right reserved.

 

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