How to Study the Bible_04

Setting any possible emotionalism[1] aside, we must ask ourselves if God is truly real to us. Can we say that God is our friend? James tells us in his inspired letter, “‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,’[2] and he was called a friend of God.” We all have heard the say, “actions speak louder than words.” Abraham’s actions evidenced that he had a deep, heartfelt faith, and truly loved God. He showed in his life that he was not just a friend of God in mere words but also in deed. The more we draw closer to God in both word and deed, the more he will draw closer to us.

how-to-study-your-bible1What are some things that we can do to draw closer to God? The primary ways that we can draw closer to God are through communication with him. In prayer, we communicate with the Father. King David, in prayer, said, “Before him I pour out my complaint; before him I tell about my trouble.”[3] (Ps 142:2) How does God communicate with us? The only people in Bible times to receive direct communication from God (namely, spoken audible direction, visions, dreams, and angelic messengers delivered divine messages), were Patriarchs like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua. There were also the Judges like Gideon, Ehud, and Samson. There were the Kings like David, Solomon, Jehu, and Hezekiah. Then there were the Prophets like Elijah and Elisha, or Isiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Then, there were the Minor Prophets like Jonah, Micah, and Joel. Then there were Priests like Aaron and Ezra. Then, after the Babylonian exile, there were Governors like Zerubbabel. After that, we enter the New Testament era with John the Baptist. Then, there were the Twelve Apostles like John, Peter, James, and Matthew. Then, there were the Traveling Apostles or Evangelists like Paul and Philip. There were also more than one hundred Traveling Companions of the apostle Paul such as Timothy, Titus, Barnabas, and Tychicus.

BIBLICAL CRITICISMPersons such as these might receive a message from God through a dream or night vision, where pictures of God’s message or purpose are placed in the mind of the sleeping person. The Bible says, “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night.” (Dan. 2:19) We are also told, “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head [that is, in his mind] as he lay in his bed.” (Dan 7:1) There were also visions given when a person was awake, which was actually the more common way of communication. We are told, “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel,[4] after the one that appeared to me at the beginning.” (Dan. 8:1) Of Ezekiel, it is said, “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” (Eze 1:1) The apostle John tells us, “And this is how I saw the horses in the vision and those seated on them …” (Rev. 9:17) Then, we have the apostle Peter who fell into a trance, and he saw the heavens open, giving him a pictorial vision of his next assignment. (Ac 10:9-17) There are times when angels served as direct representatives of God and visited persons such as Abraham, Moses, Daniel, the father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, and even Mary. The prophet Zechariah was having a vision of some horsemen and being visited by an angel. Then he said to the angel, ‘What are these, my lord?’ And the angel who was talking to me said, “I will show you what these are.” (Gen. 22:11-12, 15-18; Zech. 1:7, 9) The Bible authors “were inspired by God,” ‘speaking from God as they were moved along by the Holy Spirit.’–2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21.

APOLOGETICSThe Bible is a perfect guidebook that was penned to get God’s people up unto the time of Armageddon. The only other future books to be written are to come during the millennial reign of Christ. Once the Scriptures were closed in the first century with the death of the last apostle, John, there was no need for any more books to be written or any more prophets. They then and we now have the complete revelation of God to get us to the second coming of Christ. The only person(s) we have needed since the closure of Scriptures in 100 C.E.[5] has been interpreters. There are two kinds of interpreters. One is a translator of the Scriptures, like Jerome and his Latin Vulgate, John Wycliffe with the first English Bible (written by hand), William Tyndale with the first English Bible in print, Martin Luther, and the German Bible, to mention just a few. From our modern day era, we have translators on translation committees, who have given us the American Standard Version (ASV), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), as well as the forthcoming Updated American Standard Version (UASV).[6] These ones take the written language of our Old Testament Hebrew-Aramaic manuscripts and our Greek New Testament manuscripts and render them into our modern-day languages. We shall call these specialists Bible Translator Interpreters. Who are the other interpreters?

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURESAll Christians are the other interpreters, ones who convey the meaning of our modern-day translations, namely, what the Bible authors meant by the words that they used. We explain the Bible by giving others the meaning, significance, and understanding of the Word of God. We shall call ourselves, who also are a specialist, Christian Evangelist Interpreters. What is an evangelist exactly? Who are all expected to serve in this role? Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Why are Christians specialists like the Bible Translator Interpreters? It is because of the groundwork that needs to be laid. Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they are able to grasp what they are hearing. The Christian Evangelist Interpreter is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics.

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONSAgain, we quote what the apostle Peter said of the apostle Paul’s writings, “some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:16) The Christian Evangelist Interpreter needs to read, study, and understand the verses of scripture, in order to obey the command of Jesus to teach and make disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) In order to teach another, we must clearly understand the Word of God ourselves first. Otherwise, how do we, 2,000-years removed from Peter, who felt the Scriptures were hard to understand, make it understandable to others? When we fully, completely, and accurately understand the Word of God; then, we can give reasons as to why it says what it says, and what the author meant by what he wrote. Moreover, we are also able to express it in our own words. There are two reasons why need to be absolutely certain that what we are conveying is accurate. First, it reflects poorly on us, our church and our denomination, and more importantly on God. Second, Peter said it himself, “the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Whether we distort the Word of God intentionally (false teachers), or unintentionally because we were too busy in Satan’s world to buy out the time to understand better, it all ends the same way, our destruction.

How to Interpret the Bible-1We need to understand the cultural differences in the Scriptures, the Bible backgrounds, as we are 2,000-years removed from the New Testament era and 2,500-3,500-years removed from the Old Testament era. We need to appreciate original language words that are in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. This does not mean that we need necessarily to learn Biblical Hebrew and Greek. Some tools can aid us in this. We need to take what the author meant out of the text, not read our twenty-first-century mindset into the text. We need to understand the context. Context is the words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a particular word or passage in a speech or piece of writing and help to explain its full meaning. Context is also the circumstances or events that form the environment within which something exists or takes place. We need to be observant as we study, taking not of persons, place, things, and circumstances. Discover who wrote it, what the purpose was, what is being conveyed when it was written, and why it was written. Are we reading historical texts like Kings and Chronicles, or poetical like the Psalms, apocalyptic such as Daniel or Revelations, prophetic like Isaiah or Jeremiah, the laws like Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, or letters like Ephesians, Galatians, Hebrews, or the Gospels? What do we know about the people involved? Can we say that we know anything about Alexander, Demas, Hermogenes, Asyncritus, Hermas, Julia, Philologus, and Phygelus? What are some of the keywords that we can investigate further? What is the main theme of the Bible book we are studying? Interpret literally, unless the author did not mean for it to be taken literally. We need to understand how to apply what the author meant to our lives.

INTERPRETING THE BIBLEWhat if we have not been properly trained in how to study God’s Word properly? You are now holding the best book on that subject. It can be very disheartening to struggle through Bible reading and study when we do not know how to study properly, to interpret the Scriptures correctly. In addition, it is difficult to form a long personal Bible study if we have had no training. We have taken a long way around to answer, how does God talk to us today? Should we expect dreams, visions, a voice from heaven, or a visit from an angel? What about a prophet, should we expect that God would raise up another prophet? No, those days ended over 2,000-years ago. God speaks to us when we regularly read his word, the Bible, and meditate on it.

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[1] Some have a tendency to be easily swayed by their emotions. They have an exaggerated or undue display of strong feelings, which makes their relationship with the Father and the Son based entirely on emotions. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” We have to have knowledge of the Father and the Son to know that they are real, which does not negate that we need to have emotions as well. However, a relationship that is based entirely on emotions cannot withstand difficult times.

[2] Quoted from Gen. 15:6

[3] THE POWERFUL WEAPON OF PRAYER: A Healthy Prayer Life by Edward D. Andrews (ISBN: 978-1-945757-41-9)

[4] Lit I, Daniel

[5] B.C.E. means “before the Common Era,” which is more accurate than B.C. (“before Christ”). C.E. denotes “Common Era,” often called A.D., for anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

[6] http://www.uasvbible.org/

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CHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation DifferencesCHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation Differences

There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word …

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT The Science and Art of Textual CriticismTHE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Science and Art of Textual Criticism

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews …

MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" [Third Edition]MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” [Third Edition]

Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the …

Biblical Studies

HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of GodHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are …

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & ContentTHE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

…the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and how that meaning can then apply to us. Marshall gives you what you need for deeper and richer Bible study. Dr. Lee M. Fields writes, “‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees …

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded] 

The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has …

THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded] 

Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of …

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical HermeneuticsINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to HermeneuticsHOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …

THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern PeopleTHE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzz word. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in RevelationDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy ChurchesA Case-Study in Revelationbegins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …

DYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …

JOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK: Experience the Ministry of Jesus in a Spiritually Captivating WayJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …

ANGELS & DEMONS: The Bible AnswersANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …

Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE SECRET HIDEAWAYTHE SECRET HIDEAWAY ON BRIDGETON HILL

Rachael Garrison knows all the shrewd ways to successfully close multi-million-dollar real estate deals with her father’s famous New York real estate enterprise. But beyond her savvy to rake in huge deals is her premonition that an impending global takeover of the world’s financial wealth is on the horizon by evil leaders of The Great Ten Nations. From New York City to the Irish Hills of Michigan, and into the streets of Detroit her life takes on enormous purpose as

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.