Learning to Study the Bible Using the Introduction and Summary
Posted by adventbiblestudy on April 8, 2013
A lot of people say they want to learn how to study the Bible, but few take time to learn. I asked myself why, looked a few books, and searched the Internet. We have a problem Huston…..
I’ve been studying the Bible for over 30 years. No, I never took a college course or any other formal course for that matter. I went to a Bible study and someone showed me how to use a Concordance to do simple word studies. It amazed me. I grew as a young Christian, thinking for many years, everyone studied the Bible. It turned out I was wrong. Dead wrong! Most people like to sit and listen to other people who they think are studying the Bible. Turns out, most of them never studied the Bible either. They got their information from someone else. Where did they get it from? It seems the whole world is chasing ghosts when it comes to understanding the Bible. Why? One thing I found out is, people forgot how to explain how to study the Bible.
Another reason is, if you are lucky enough to find someone who wants to explain how to study, they have a tendency to use words none of us common folk can understand. I can see why so many people give up. Since one of the main lessons Jesus taught His disciples is to understand scripture, what we refer to as Bible study, shouldn’t all of Jesus’ disciples have this skill to one degree or another?
So I decided to write a short series explaining different methods you can use to study your Bible. I can guarantee, a few basic skills, a little bit of your time, and the power of the Holy Spirit can be combined to show you details few people are able to see. You will be wondering why no one is teaching these simple concepts and truths you will begin to clearly see.
One of the easiest study methods to learn is the concept of Bible chapters. Each book in the Bible is divided into chapters for a reason. Each chapter in the Bible is more like paragraphs in a letter rather than chapters in a book. Or think of chapters like a short letter. If you sat down to write a letter, what is the first thing you would write? An introduction to the subject of the letter. Then you would write the letter, providing all the details the reader needs to understand, ending with a short summary. Chapters in the Bible are arranged the exact same way. Following are a few simple examples.
Colossians 3:14-15 NLTse (14) Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (15) And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
What does it mean to be clothed in love? This can be misunderstood when this verse is used on its own. There are two types of love in this world. One is from Heaven, the other from this world. The love from Heaven is eternal while love from this world will one day be less than smoke. We find these important details in the first few verses of the chapter called the introduction.
Colossians 3:1-3 NLTse Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. (2) Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (3) For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
We find additional details about the same theme revealed in the last verses of the chapter, known as the summation.
Colossians 3:24-25 NLTse (24) Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. (25) But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.
People have their own concepts of love and harmony. What kind of message would people spread if they taught popular worldly concepts about love? Think of it, we see examples throughout the Bible. What about harmony? Most think harmony is developing a common system of beliefs they refer to as doctrines. Where do these doctrines come from? Did Jesus or the disciples leave a list? No! Doctrines come from men. How do you know which doctrines are correct and which are wrong? Its a mystery why churches challenge churches of different denominations claiming they have higher knowledge, when most have forgotten the basics of Bible study and are unable to teach others how to study the Bible. Maybe there is a reason they do not want you to study the Bible on your own.
Bible study is simple. You learn a little here and a little there. New insight becomes deeper and deeper. There is no better teacher in this world than the Holy Spirit. Let me repeat that. There is no better teacher in this world than the Holy Spirit. Withholding this information is nothing short of denying the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. The process of studying the Bible is an individual experience and effort. We see details revealed in the next example.
1 Timothy 4:8-11 NLTse “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (9) This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. (10) This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. (11) Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.
Looking at the introduction and summary also ensure the interpretation will remain within the proper context. What type of training is Paul talking about? Looking back to the introduction will explain the proper context.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 NLTse Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. (2) These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
The key words in the introduction are: “the Holy Spirit tells us clearly.” The introduction shows there is a battle raging for your soul. On one side we find the Holy Spirit. On the other side we find deceptive spirits, also referred to as people, hypocrites and liars. The conclusion of the chapter emphasizes the same lesson while adding more details.
1 Timothy 4:15-16 NLTse (15) Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. (16) Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
We need to practice Bible study like training. We also need to teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. When we look at the introduction we understand everything we learn needs to come directly from the Holy Spirit. The summation tells us we need to give our complete attention to these matters. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
In His infinite wisdom God wrote His Bible to be understood by all people. Its not difficult at all. It only takes a little bit of time to learn and master a few simple Bible study concepts. Then its a matter of practicing these concepts. Paul compared it to exercise. The more you exercise, the more you grow. Paul pointed out how much more important it is to develop your spiritual life. Paul didn’t fool around. His message was blunt, “Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
Whenever you read a text which seems difficult to understand, don’t run to someone to explain it, or try referring to another translation. Take a moment to pray, read the first few verses in the chapter, then the last few. The introduction and summation will establish the chapter’s theme and explain the text.
When people use proof texts, you can easily check to see if they are using it within its proper context by reading the introduction and summary of the chapter. Once you begin using this simple method of Bible study, you will be amazed at how often people quote scripture out of context. It only takes a few minutes, but will provide you with an eternity of knowledge.
This entry was posted on April 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm and is filed under Bible Study Aids, Bible Study Methods Explained. Tagged: basic skills, Bible study is simple, Chapters in the Bible, concept of Bible chapters, directly from the Holy Spirit, easiest study methods to learn, eternity of knowledge, explain how to study the Bible, God wrote His Bible to be understood by all people, Holy Spirit tells us clearly, how to use a Concordance, Jesus taught His disciples, Learning to Study the Bible Using the Introduction and Summary, no better teacher in this world than the Holy Spirit, peace that comes from Christ, perfect harmony, practice Bible study, proper context, searched the Internet, short series explaining different methods, simple concepts, simple method of Bible study, simple word studies, studying the Bible, understanding the Bible, want to learn how to study the Bible. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.