Understanding The Bible
One of the biggest problems in Christianity and religion today is the misunderstanding of bible scripture. When the bible is not interpreted correctly, it leads to false teachings and traditions of men. It also leads people astray and into confusion. Our God is not the God of confusion, but the God of truth and understanding. The bible should be taught chapter by chapter in order to understand the whole plan of God from the beginning. If you do not understand what happened in the beginning, you will not understand the rest of the bible. That is why we must study the whole Word of God with discernment and understanding in it's entirety. With that being said, lets take a look at what the scriptures say about understanding the bible as well as why people misunderstand the bible.
What is the Word and where did it originate? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2). Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God.
What is the bible actually about? It is a combination of 66 books (39 in the old testament and 27 in the new testament), that tell the story about one man's family genealogy from the beginning till the end of this world age and beyond. The story about the Savior that would come through Adam and Eve generation after generation. It is the story about Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
What is scripture and what it is given for? Scripture is the written Word of God in the bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16). All scripture is inspired by God. (Don't fall for those ignorant copouts who say that God didn't write the bible, man did). The Prophets and disciples of God wrote the scripture as they were inspired by the "Holy Spirit of God." (2 Samuel 23:2, Romans 15:4, 2 Peter 1:19-21). All scripture comes form God!
Why study the
Word? The Word is a discerner of thoughts. For the
Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews
4:12). The Word of God is alive and powerful. It cuts between "soul" (your
individual self), and "spirit" (the intellect of the soul which is your mind).
It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. This is one reason many do not
like to study or hear the Word of God. It convicts many if they are doing wrong
in God's eyes. They would rather listen to man, who always seems to smooth
things over to make them feel more safe and righteous. Example: Many churches
are afraid to teach the book of Revelations in fear that they will lose to many
members. "Lets see what God says." Blessed
is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation
1:3). Those who read, understand, and teach the book of Revelation will be
blessed by the Heavenly Father.
What about prophecy in the Word? Prophecy is the revelation of God. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21). The Word is history and prophecy given to man by the "Holy Spirit," which gives us a better understanding of how things happened in the past, and will happen in the present as well as the future. Prophecy has proven itself to happen exactly how it was written for thousands of years. Prophecy will continue to transpire as it is written till the end times and beyond.
Why is the bible misunderstood by so many people, as well as teachers of the Word? It amazes me when I hear people say; "I read the whole bible" and that is about the extent of their spiritually. They actually believe that is all there is to it and think they have all the answers about God. I don't think so! I have been reading and studying the bible for over 40 years now and I still do not believe that I have even scratched the surface. Every time I open the book I learn something new. Every study in the scriptures reveals something that I may have not fully understood before. The Word of God is never ending and full of new truths and revelations. Now everyone may not have the same appetite to study the Word as some, but we are to do the best we can with what the good Lord has given us. Now with that being said, lets take a look at what the scriptures say about why so many people misunderstand and misinterpret the bible.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39-40). They search the scriptures because they believe they will give them eternal life. "The scriptures point to Christ." However, they won't come to Christ so that He can give them this eternal life.
Have ye not read? This question was asked by our Lord on six different
occasions. (Matthew 12:3, 12:5, 19:4, 21:16, 21:42, 22:31-32). This is why many
do not understand the truth of the bible. They do not read, study, or believe
the scriptures written by the prophets and disciples who were inspired of God.
"They would rather listen to man and the ways of the world." (Never listen to
this man or any other man without checking them out in Gods Word first).
How can we better understand the truth of the bible? Now that we have covered why most people do not understand the bible, lets see what the scriptures say about understanding the bible. We will start in the old testament from the book of Isaiah.
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. (Isaiah 46:9-10). God is say here: "How many times have I told you what is going to happen in the future." Who else can tell you these things? All I say will come to pass, because I do what I want. "Remember the former things of old." (He has told us all things through the prophets).
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are from God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1). In other words, don't believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: It's all over the air waves today, they tell you, "I received a special message from God today." Test it first to see if it really is. Check it out with the Word first. You will come across many false priests, pastors and teachers in today's world.
To sum up this study (especially for those who teach the Word), we will end in the book of 2 Timothy where it states. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Preach the Word urgently, boldly, and truthfully at all times. Never be afraid to tell it like it is, but do it with love and understanding. Don't always use scripture to break someone down. (The Word will do the convicting when needed). Let the scriptures be used to build people up so that they will see the "truth and light" in the Word. The love, wisdom, and understanding that Jesus brought to the people when He walked among us. For He is the "Living Word" and true "light of the world."
Tools to help you study, interpret, enjoy, and teach the bible:
Below are seven
study tool suggestions that I use, that will help you with your bible studies.
1.) The original King James bible by Thomas Nelson Inc. that dates back to at least 1972.
2.) The King James Companion bible (Authorized version of 1611) which contains the Structures and Critical, Explanatory, and Suggestive Notes and with 198 Appendixes. (Kregel Publications). The side note scriptures are not all accurate and a little hard to understand, but the 198 appendixes are helpful in some studies.
3.) The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the bible by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D. (©1986 by Abingdon Press). "This is a must for the serious bible student." (Excellent translation concordance dictionary).
4.) e-Sword bible study software (King Kames bible version with Strong's Concordance).
5.) The Tyndale Living Bible (1971 edition) by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois. (This is a Paraphrased bible for easy reading, not for full translation).
6.) Smith's bible dictionary by William Smith, L.L.D. (Hendrickson Publishers).
7.) Older version of a Twentieth Century Webster's Dictionary.
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