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Scripture Reading:  Psalms 119:1-8


How to Study the Bible (2)



1.  How to study the Bible is critical.

    a.  1 Tim. 2:3-4 – Knowledge of the truth necessary to be saved!

    b.  Jno. 14:21-24 – We must understand the words of Jesus in order to have His commandments & keep them – In order to love Him!

2.  Part 1:  Dedicate, decide, define, discover. 

3.  Continued from Part 1...



    -Illus.  2 Tim. 2:14-16 – We must distinguish between “words to no profit” & the “word of truth.”

  1.  Know the Biblical dispensations of time.

    a.  Divisions of time in the Bible & how God dispensed His will & blessings in each – Heb. 1:1-2.

    b.  Without this discernment, much misunderstanding occurs!  (cf. Instrumental music in worship; 10 commandments; Sabbath, etc.)

    c.  Dispensations:  Patriarchal (Father rule) – Creation to Sinai; Mosaic (Jewish, law of Moses) – Mt. Sinai to cross (Rom. 2:12-15; Rom. 7:4, 6); Christian (gospel age) – Cross to the end of time (Matt. 28:18-20).  NT is our standard of authority, not OT (Heb. 1:2; Col. 3:17).

    d.  Illus. – Acts 15:5:  Error because they failed to grasp the change of law – 2 Cor. 3:14 (Heb. 7:12).

  2.  Decide if the language is literal or figurative.

    a.  Principle:  Take statements as literal unless the context forces a figurative interpretation.

“All words are to be understood in their literal sense, unless the evident meaning of the context forbids. –Figures are the exception, literal language the rule; hence we are not to regard anything as figurative until we feel compelled to do so by the evident import of the passage.”  (D.R. Dungan, Hermeneutics, 184)

    b.  Illus.  Jonah 1:17 – Historical fact of great fish swallowing Jonah; Jesus confirmed this to be literal fish (Matt. 12:40).

    c.  Illus.  Gen. 3:1 – Serpent tempted Eve; Satan spoke through a literal serpent, 2 Cor. 11:3.

    d.  Illus.  Gen. 1:5 – Is “day” figurative of an age, or 24 hours?  Conclude it is a literal day because of how it is used in Exo. 20:11.

    e.  Illus.  Book of Revelation – 1:1-3.

  3.  Let plain passages help explain harder ones 2 Pet. 3:16.

     -Illus.  1 Cor. 15:29 – Baptism “for the dead” – allow Mk. 16:15-16 help us understand that baptism is for the living, who believe after hearing gospel.  Can’t believe for someone else; can’t be baptized for others.

  4.  The harmony of God’s word must be respected.

    a.  Don’t interpret a passage so as to conflict w/ another, Matt. 4:5-7.

    b.  An interpretation of Jno. 3:16 that ignores Jas. 2:24 is wrong!

    c.  Accomplish this by considering all God has said on the subject – Psa. 119:160.



  1.  Do not come to the Bible with an agenda (a predisposed opinion).

    a.  Bible “study” becomes searching for “proof-texts” to support what you have already decided!)

    b.  Illus. Faith only (Jas. 2:24); Sabbath-keeping (Col. 2:14-17)…

  2.  Respect the binding authority of the Scriptures.

    a.  Illus.  Lk. 10:25-29 – He understood the law but wanted to justify himself.

    b.  Scriptures are the commands of the Lord, finally & completely – 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

  3.  Respect the silence of the Scriptures Heb. 7:11-14.

  4.  Respect the boundary of the Scriptures 1 Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Jno. 9.



    -Does this teaching apply to me?  If so, how? – Jas. 1:22-25

  1.  To be saved – Lk. 6:46; Matt. 7:21.

  2.  To be blessed & approved by God – Jno. 13:17; Rev. 22:14; 2 Tim. 2:15.

  3.  To give answers for your hope – 1 Pet. 3:15.

  4.  To teach others the gospel – 2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:16.



1.  How to study the Bible?

   -Dedicate, decide, define, discover, discern, defer & do-

2.  What a shame if our study of the Bible should be in vain because we do not properly understand what we are reading! – Matt. 13:13-15

3.  But what a blessing when we understand & obey the words of God! – Matt. 13:16-17