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How do You Study the Bible?
Good News Magazine
April 1961
Volume: Vol X, No. 4
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How do You Study the Bible?
Jack R Elliott   
Church of God

Died: July 24, 2011
Member Since: 1949

Dean of Students early 1950s. Introduce speech clubs into Ambassador College first called Ambassador Club.

When someone quotes a Scripture to prove a point, do you CHECK UP? Most don't! Your very salvation COULD be at stake. Here's how to be SURE!

   YOU have probably heard people say, "You can prove ANYTHING by the Bible." Perhaps, before your conversion, you have heard one denominational minister say one thing and quote scriptures to prove it, then another refute it saying just the opposite yes and quote Scriptures to "prove" it. People WHO FAIL TO CHECK UP naturally assume that the Bible will prove anything! They do not know that ministers who teach a counterfeit way of salvation consistently MISQUOTE scriptures to justify the DOCTRINE OF THEIR CHURCH.

Why Most Do Not Check Up

   It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to CHECK UP and SEE who is SPEAKING THE TRUTH. Then why don't most people check up?
   The simple answer is in most cases THEY DON'T KNOW HOW! As a result, they just choose whom they PREFER TO FOLLOW and TRUSTINGLY BELIEVE whatever they are TOLD! They ASSUME their teacher is a "specialist" at his trade that HE surely must KNOW! Their woeful lack of knowledge about their Bible leaves them extremely vulnerable to any false doctrine which might come along.
   Have YOU followed the example of the Bereans? (Acts 17:11.) They RECEIVED WILLINGLY the words of God from Paul and Silas, who at that time were looked on as radicals, teaching strange doctrine, but then they searched the Scriptures daily WHETHER THOSE THINGS WERE SO.
   Yes, THEY EVEN CHECKED UP ON THE APOSTLE PAUL to see if he used the Word of God FAITHFULLY and accurately. They checked the Scripture to SEE if what Paul said was in the Bible. They did not go to other brethren and ask THEM. THEY CHECKED THE SCRIPTURES for themselves.
   The Bereans believed the TRUTH OF GOD, not because they asked men, but BECAUSE THEY WENT TO THE BIBLE. Obviously their intent was to find the real WORDS OF GOD, valuing that rather than what other brethren who didn't fully understand the Bible thought.
   It doesn't take a mental giant to study the Bible, just someone who is willing to be honest with himself and with God's Word.

How To Check Up

   If you are listening to a sermon, learn to TAKE NOTES on that sermon. Not elaborate, burdensome notes, just jot down the main subject on which he is speaking, WHAT HE HAS SAID ABOUT IT and what he says you should do. Too many of you brethren merely quote a scripture, jotting down only the name of the book, chapter and verse. For example, if a minister is quoting Matthew chapter 5, verse 5, write down MATT. 5:5 AND ALONGSIDE IT jot down what he says this verse proves. Later, when you have the time, open your Bible and study it carefully. See that you not only learn it to satisfy your own mind, but that you learn it so thoroughly that you may be able to teach it to others later.
   Always read a few verses before and after it until you're sure you understand the general subject with which the Bible is dealing. Then fix this valuable principle firmly in your mind.
   Here's the big point! Where did the minister turn in the Bible to see how GOD INTERPRETED IT? Remember that no prophecy or any other subject of the Scripture is of any private interpretation (II Pet. 1:20). For example, verse 17 in the fifth chapter of Matthew, the word "fulfill" is often misinterpreted to mean "do away by completing."
   Those who claim God's law is done away often quote this verse. They say God's law was not destroyed but Christ fulfilled it so that we don't have to. Such an error is easily discovered by following the admonition of reading the scriptures before and after that verse. In this case, the two verses immediately following clarify exactly what was meant in verse 17. Verse 18 shows that not one bit not one iota shall pass from the law by any means and verse 19 shows that no one should break even the least commandant and should not teach other men to do so. This clearly teaches that Christ did not come to do away with the law, but to keep it, setting us an example to do likewise (I Pet. 2:21); that the law shall stand fast until all the plan of God is fulfilled; that we shouldn't break it and we shouldn't teach others to break it! To put this clever twist on the word "fulfill" in verse 17 and the phrase "till all be fulfilled" in verse 18 makes the passage contradict itself and other Scriptures. God's ministers do not tell you WHAT THEY WANT to believe, but WHAT GOD HAS SAID!
   Check to see if your understanding is consistent with all other scriptures dealing with the same subject.
   If you question a translation, this difficulty can often be cleared up by referring to two or more different translations. The King James Version is generally more accurate but often hard to understand. When one of its questionable translations is checked along with one of the more modern translations, such as Moffatt or Revised Standard, the meaning often becomes clear: If you still have a question, ask your local pastor, or, if you are not in a local church, write headquarters and we will explain it.

Become Familiar With the Bible

   Some people have difficulty in checking up because they are so UNFAMILIAR WITH THEIR BIBLE that they cannot find a scripture readily. Sad to say, this often comes from pure neglect of Bible study. If you do not know how to use your Bible, the following should prove valuable to you:
   First, of course, you should have a Bible of your own. Try to provide for yourself a practical and convenient sized King James Version to use in most of your studying. This Bible should have large enough print to enable you to read it comfortably, but should not be so large that it is cumbersome to carry around or to hold while studying. GET THE BEST BIBLE YOU CAN AFFORD. It is important that it last a long time without wearing out or losing its pages! The longer you keep such a Bible, the more valuable it becomes to you. To wear it out and have to discard it, after you have marked it and become accustomed to it, is almost a tragedy.
   It should have center references and as wide margins as possible for making notes. It does not need to have a concordance in the back because such concordances are too inadequate to be of much value. You will want to provide yourself with a much larger concordance when you can afford it.
   Once you have a good Bible, START AT ONCE learning HOW TO USE it! Don't JUST start with Genesis and try to read straight through. You may become discouraged before you discover its REAL VALUE in guiding YOUR life.
   Your Bible is chock-full of VITAL information, but the significant parts of any one subject are revealed "here a little, there a little" (Isa. 28:9-11). Standing alone, one scripture on a subject may not mean much to you. But, put all the scriptures together on any one subject and it becomes DYNAMICALLY VITAL to you.
   Putting these scriptures together will require conscious study and research on your part. The best HELP you can get on this is to enroll in the "Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course," if you haven't already done so. It introduces vital subjects and helps you to find Bible information on them.

Studying Bible Profitable in Many Ways

   There are many reasons for learning to use your Bible, other than just checking up. You need to become INTIMATE WITH GOD through your Bible. You need to read the very Words of God often, not just have someone else tell them to you. For this reason you will want to continue turning to each reference long after you have finally PROVED who teaches the true Words of God. This enables you to grasp the true meaning more fully and more clearly. It keeps you versatile with the words of God. It helps you to understand that scripture better when you read it again later. It also keeps you aware of your DEPENDENCE ON GOD HIMSELF. You may even be used later to help others understand the same scriptures.
   Becoming acquainted with the Word of God, to understand its meaning and the significance of its teaching, is a wonderful experience. If you have not yet done so, then you can look forward to one of the most intriguing, the most profitable, the most soundly reassuring experiences of your life. Nevertheless, it requires some effort on your part and YOU ALONE stand in the way of your success or failure.
   If you approach God's Word with a GENUINE THIRST for the AUTHENTIC, AUTHORITATIVE TRUTH, you can rest assured that God WILL open your eyes and cause you to understand! Before your own eyes will unfold, clearly and plainly, His wonderful plan of salvation. It includes YOU, if you are among the obedient. Why ROB yourself of it?

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Good News MagazineApril 1961Vol X, No. 4
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