Study the Bible.
How to Study the
Bible when you know that our English Bibles contain errors and
this point in time (2009) there are no books that I know of that will
tell you how to study the Bible in a way that will stop you getting
caught up with the errors and mistranslations.
this is breaking new ground for me.
understand that as more people tackle this problem (separating the
truth from the error) we should be able to grow with the help of their
experience. But we have to start somewhere - and what follows has
worked for me.
Not every word is
people see the Bible as "instructions from God" with a bit of history
mixed in. In actual fact it is a book of history with some instructions
from God mixed in.
understanding that not
every word in our English Bibles is true, goes a
long way to get us started. So many ministers for so long
pounded the lectern while saying something like "we must live by every
word of the
Bible", or "the Bible is the Word of God", that people have just come to accept that it is all truth.
Reversing that acceptance will make us more cautious about
we are reading.
That is a huge breakthrough in itself.
Some of the problems.As
I have read, Christ and the disciples spoke an Eastern version of
Aramaic. Thus the first Gospels, and all of what we call the New
Testament, was written first in Aramaic. For us today, this was first
translated into Greek, and then from Greek into English. You
can't move text through two other languages without losing something of the
there are errors due to copying over the centuries, which means that
there are errors in the source language manuscripts that translators are using today. There are
multiple choices in what you use as the source document (there are around 3000 complete Greek NTs in existence), and since they
are all different in places, they can not all be right. In our English
language Bibles there are mistranslations of the source documents, and inserted deliberate lies.
On top of all that, there are books included in the Bible that
are just recording history as the writer saw it (not all history in the Bible is accurate), or recording the
writer's thoughts (eg Proverbs), or recorded what other people were saying at the
time (eg Luke).
I feel, 2
Tim 3:16 should be translated as saying that only those
Scriptures spoken/breathed by God, are to be used
for doctrine, correction and instruction. To put it another way,
we need to pay careful attention to "Thus saith the LORD ... "
statements, and use common sense when a man is speaking. Also, 2 Tim
3:16 can only be applied to the Old Testament, as not all the books of
the New Testament were written (and therefore the New Testament did not
exist) at the time the Apostle Paul wrote 2 Timothy.
December 2011 Update.[From
here to "End of 2011 update" was added in 2011 in an attempt to explain
how most of the New Testament is indeed Scripture , and is needed for
our correct understanding of what is required of a person who has
accepted Christ's sacrifice - a Christian.]
A primary point to keep in mind is that God never, ever, commanded us to live by the words recorded in our English Bibles of today. Telling
people to do that is an invention of men. They want you to [falsely]
believe that what they are saying is backed up by God.
Don't ever let a man's words become more important (in your mind) than the words of God.
old way to understand the Bible, was to give every verse "equal"
weight, and if you found that two or three verses that "agreed",
then the point of doctrine was more or less set in concrete. This
method requires 2 Tim 3:16 to be translated as "all Scripture is
inspired ... ", so that we could take any verse at "face
that not every verse is "inspired by God" (as given by the alternate translation of 2 Tim 3:16), means we have to
redefine what books/verses can be used to formulate doctrine. If you read the Bible to find
every verse on a given topic - in other words, read the Bible for
themes - then you start to get a "feel" for what is
important (the trunk of the tree) and this helps to see what verses lie outside a theme. The biggest
number of verses that disagree with a theme - that I have
found so far - is around 20, so that kills the idea that if "two
or three" verses agree, then it is OK to make the point
"doctrine". Of course, I am making the assumption that the
150 verses that make up the theme are correct, and the 20 or so that don't, are
When we translate (as I understand it) 2 Tim 3:16, as -
Every word spoken [or inspired] by God [is] useful for
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," - in
other words, the same thought as expressed in:
8:3 NET So he humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding
you with unfamiliar manna. He did this to teach you that humankind
cannot live by bread alone, but also by everything that comes from the LORD's mouth.
Mat 4:4 NET But he answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
a couple of things happen.
up - we break the nexus that every verse has equal weight.
is important - because Satan has inspired men to put error into the
Bible (including a bad translation of 2 Tim 3:16 in at least 20
Knowing that each verse has to be "weighed"
for its merit, stops us giving the lies of Satan the same value as
the words spoken by God - which is happening under the old way of
understanding the Bible (every verse ["all Scripture"] is
personally "inspired" by God) .
- we now can take the words spoken by God as the primary source of
doctrine (training in righteousness) as we are instructed in Deut 8:3, Mat 4:4..
blows my mind, that men can insist that, Aaron making a golden calf,
David committing adultery, Judas betraying Jesus, Peter denying
Jesus, Ananias and Sapphira lying about the price of their land, Luke recording incorrect words of Christ, and
so on, and so on, are verses directly inspired by God for the purpose
of "instruction in righteousness".
may be used as examples of what not to do, but that is different to
giving direct instructions on how to live a righteous life. Remember,
Christ said that we are to live by " every word that comes from the mouth of God",
not history as recorded by men. Sure, we need to use the lessons from
history to increase our understanding, and to make sure we don't
repeat them, but that is a different thing to formulating doctrine.
the two options of translating "God breathed" (G2315) in 2 Tim 3:16
- "all Scripture is inspired by God" or "the words
breathed/spoken by God" - I believe the second is the safest. What could
be more important than obeying God's personal instruction? It
certainly gives us a way to bring to the surface, the lies and
mistranslations inserted by men into our current English Bibles.
also brings Paul into agreement with Moses (Deut 8:3) and Jesus (Mat 4:4), who both said
that "man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that
comes from the mouth of God".
as I said, when we translate 2 Tim 3:16 this way, we lose the ability
to use it to justify including the New Testament as "Scripture"
- or do we? At the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy, all the books that became
part of the New Testament were not even written, so he could not be
referring to the New Testament as we know it today, anyway.
of "doing away with the New Testament" - the correct
translation brings most of it into Scripture. Please let me explain,
and I will try to keep it simple.
words spoken by God (if they have been recorded and copied
accurately) become our primary source of doctrine - our instruction in
tells us to listen (Deut 18:15,18-19) to His Prophets (the list of men and women is
long), and the words He gives them to pass on to us.
was a Prophet (Deut 18:15, Mat 13:57, Acts 3:22), so we should listen
to what He had to say (Mat 17:5) for "instruction in
in turn sent out at least 13 Apostles (Mark 3:14, Acts 9, Gal 1:19 allows for others) as a witness - so we are to listen to
is a point for discussion at another time perhaps, but I don't think
HWA qualified to be called an "apostle" as he used errors
in the KJV to put doctrinal errors into the church.]
order of priority - the words spoken by God first, Prophets next,
then Apostles - will include much of the Old Testament and the New
Testament as "Scripture" for "instruction in
righteousness" - but not all.
we do with the books, or parts of books, not written with God given
authority to be part of our beliefs/doctrine (by people who are not
Prophets or Apostles), is a story for another day. (But they do serve
a purpose - just not a primary source of doctrine). Remember, if you
lived around 200 years ago, the Bible would have contained 80 books.
Both the Bishop's Bible and the KJV, and others, contained, what we
call today the "Apocrypha". If you insisted back then - as
people do today - in translating 2 Tim 3:16 as "all Scripture",
and thus include all 80 books, then you have a big job on your hands
explaining how it was all "inspired" by one mind - God's.
Of course, if you translate 2 Tim 3:16 as "The God spoken [or inspired]
words", then there is no problem working out what is doctrine
and what is not, and much additional information and history is provided by the
Apocrypha (and even by Luke).
mentioned in the Bible - say - over thirty times, give us the trunk
of the tree. I feel God wants us to "get the point" through
repetition. And 30+ verses in agreement makes a lot stronger case
than just "two or three".
doctrines/core beliefs should come from the direct words of God, the
words passed on from God through the Prophets, and then the words
from the Apostles.
the recorded words of a Prophet conflict with the words of God - then
we are to put the conflicts aside for further research (could be an error in
copying or translation) - and the same goes if words from the
Apostles conflict with the Prophets. In the same vein, verses that
lie outside a Bible theme, should also be set aside for further
investigation. Never use the words of a lesser authority to over-rule the words of a higher authority.
not every verse in the Bible carries equal weight - though Satan
wants men to think that, so that his errors are kept in high profile.
is looking for people who will put the Father's will first - and
certainly before the day to day running of a church, or as we used to
call it, "doing the Work". Notice how Christ calls
"Christians" (people doing church work) "lawbreakers",
if they are not also doing the Father's will.
7:21-23 NET. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does
the will of my Father in heaven. (22)
On that day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in
your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful
deeds?' [and here they could quote the numbers for TV/ radio
stations, and monthly magazines] (23)
Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you
think Christ calls them "lawbreakers" because if you take
the lies of Satan, the accidental or deliberate mistakes of men, or
the jumbled memories recorded by Luke, and then give them equal
status as the words spoken by God, we are not putting God first, and
that breaks the First Commandment.
as I understand it, incorporating the errors of the Bible into our
doctrines - and thus propagating Satan's lies - can not be equated
with "doing God's will".
my view, it is important that we sort out - or at least ignore for
now - the errors in our current English Bibles.
End of 2011 update.[The original article continues].
the majority. In the past, if people found just one verse that supported
concept they needed proof for, they felt it was OK. If they
two or three verses that supported their concept, then in their mind it
was "beyond question".
To study the Bible for the
truth that it has, requires us to leave these old methods behind.
take an example I have already mentioned. There are around 150
verses that give or support the concept that there is just one God.
There are around 20 verses that give or support the concept
Jesus was God, and therefore there are two Gods, or Jesus was at least "divine". If you are using
the old method of just one or two verses being enough, then certainly
20 verses puts it beyond doubt. However, the fact is that the
"one God" verses from the majority of Scripture, swamp the 20 "two
Gods" verses from the minority - and hence these verses have to be regarded as
to use themes.If
there is a theme running throughout the Bible, then there is a good
chance that it represents truth. While some original words
been lost or mistakes made in copying, it is highly unlikely that the
same loss/mistake would happen in the same way throughout different
books where this point is made.
Instead of reading
verse in great detail (but there may be a time to do just that too) we have to
start by scanning the Bible for all
(including for and against) it has to say on a topic.
most basic way to pull out themes from the Bible is to read the Bible
from cover to cover and have pieces of paper beside you with the
headings that you want to follow up, and then when you read a Scripture
that falls into one of the categories that you are looking for, you jot
it down. This is how I started to formulate themes.
Under "Themes" in the Miscellaneous Index, I try to explain a
way that these Scriptures can be typed up and sorted.
way to discover themes is to use a computer program such as e-sword
(free from e-sword.net). In reading the Bible (I feel we
be reading something out of both Testaments every day) we may come
across something that we would like to follow up. Put the key
words into the search engine and see what you get. But we
not leave it at that. When we find a verse we should look in
margin ( or books like "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge" ) to find
cross-references to other verses that may also include some additional
information, which in turn may lead to other verses.
not all. All the key words that you are looking for will have
number in Strong. We need to find that number, and then do a search
(using KJV+) for every place where that number is found. This is
necessary because the translators often use different English words for
the same Hebrew or Greek words. If new relevant verses are
then we repeat the process of looking for cross-references.
not all these searches and look-ups are going to be successful, but
they are necessary if we are going to try and find all the Bible has to
say about a topic.
Building a foundation.Once
we have found a theme with over - say 30 - verses, then we can start to
have confidence that this topic is something that God wants us to know
about. The strongest theme I have found so far - the
are to be kept - has over 160 verses.
then become part of our foundation. We build on them as we
in the lesser mentioned themes. For instance, there are over
verses that tell us there is one God, so that can be a part of our
foundation. There are six verses that tell us we are to be
baptized in Christ's name (or with His authority) and only one that
tells us to be baptized in "the father, Son, and Holy Spirit", so that
information (that we are to be baptized in Christ's name) that we can add to our fund of knowledge.
Let us start by looking
themes with over 100 verses, and see how these foundational themes will
give us a different understanding - a new Biblical
understanding - from what is currently taught in the
Christian churches of today.
over 100 verses showing us that there was, and is, and always will be,
just one God, we have a solid foundation stone. The fact that there is
only one God, can have a huge impact on our understanding.
the Christian churches has either one God made up from three
teach that there are two Gods. Some Christian churches do teach that
there is just one God, but then blot their copybook by saying that the
Commandments don't have to be kept.
to know the one true
God, and that He is deeply concerned about our spiritual growth, is a
wonderful truth to know. It removes a lot of the "mystery"
people have put around God. He has a plan (the "miltha' -
Aramaic,"logos" - Greek) to build a spiritual family, and everything He
fits into that plan. He wants people to know Him, and have a
relationship with Him. While time and chance can happen to
anyone, the bulk of humanity today are showing us the result of God's
Laws being broken. To put it another way, we are living in
Are we paying attention to what God is
trying to teach us?
keeping of the Commandments - and what happens when we do, and do
not, keep them - is a very strong theme. Not
children the Ten Commandments - and thus give them a way of
understanding the rewards for good behavior and the punishment for bad
behavior - is, in my view, one of the greatest "crimes against
humanity" in the
world today. Putting the Commandments back at the top of the
agenda, gives us a framework to understand why God uses one nation to
punish another. While men make war, God puts their mistake to
good purpose to punish the Law breakers. The history of the
Biblical nation of Israel shows us that if a nation breaks God's Laws,
then He will break that nation, and He can send the people into captivity
for 70 years, or disperse them throughout other nations for 2520 years.
history and world wars, and periods of peace, begin to make a lot more
sense when we start to
evaluate which nations kept God's principles, and which nations
God will punish.Following
right on after establishing that the Commandments are to be kept, the
third biggest theme found so far, is that God will punish the Law
breakers. He has given us examples of doing this at the
level, family level, tribe, nation or empire level. Every human that
has ever lived, will come under judgment at one time or another.
Christian churches - for the most part - only teach about the
benevolent side of God, and omit to explain to the people that God can
as easily be our enemy - if we break His Laws - as be our friend.
Understanding that punishment hangs over the head of law
helps us to understand the importance and urgency for repentance.
Yes, God is merciful, and if we get our attitude sorted out,
will forgive and forget our sin.
to the foundation.Next
on the list of themes, are a number that fall between 30 and 100
verses. These too - I feel - are still a part of the
we need to build. While not as strong as the major three,
need to have our attention.
The Kingdom of
over 80 verses telling us about the Kingdom of God, we can see that it
has a certain priority with God and His Son. It was one of
first things Jesus spoke about when He started His ministry.
Another way to explain the Kingdom of God, is to say that it
the time when everyone will prove that, living by God's Laws, works.
The people in positions of power and authority will be
hand-picked by Christ from a pool of men and women that have proved
that they can be trusted to uphold God's Law, and thus seek God's will. The knowledge
God will cover the earth like the sea covers the seabed:
NET. "People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and
relatives to know me. For
all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know
me," says the LORD. "For I will forgive their sin and will
no longer call to mind the wrong they have done." See also Heb 8:8-12.
who qualify to be part of the first resurrection from the first 6000 years of God's 7000 year plan - the 144,000 of Rev
14:1-5, - will help God and Christ in running the Kingdom for 1000 years.
During this time everyone will have a very important job to
The world has to prepare homes, food and clothing and so on
the billions of people who will come up in the second resurrection.
Because the people will be obeying God's laws, the world will
blessed with just the right type of weather, and there will be no
disease or infertility. It will be a beautiful abundant
The people resurrected at the end of the millennium will then
able to compare the world they died in - where many of God's laws were
broken - to the Kingdom of God where His laws are being kept.
After some initial instruction, they will have to make a
about which type of world they want to live in. Those who
the Kingdom, will be burnt up and gone forever in the Lake of Fire (Rev
Our Reward.Very much
tied into the Kingdom is
our reward. Believing in our reward is just as important as
believing that God exists - so it is right up there (Heb 11:6).
We have seen that a strong theme is that God will punish -
is the "stick" - but God also has "carrots". The more we are
to master obeying and upholding God's Laws, the higher the position of
responsibility and service we will receive in the kingdom. It is most
definitely not a matter of just accepting Christ and then doing nothing
- as some people will try and tell you. Again, never believe
people tell you about the Bible without checking it out first.
Another part of the reward for those in the first
that they will get to live in the beautiful New Jerusalem (Rev 21:27,
God will restore Israel.While
the 144,000 spirit beings from the first resurrection are helping
Christ set up and run the Kingdom of God, there is a parallel event
taking place in the physical world. The 144,000 physical
in Rev 7 will be used by God as a foundation to restore Israel. There
are over 30 verses that show us that God will pick up where He left off,
and will restore Israel to be the model nation for the rest of the
world to emulate. The only time they came close to doing
this was at the start of Solomon's reign. But with qualified
beings able to give correction when required (Isa 30:20-23),
will be able to do what is needed to set a right example. No
doubt this will give great joy to the father of the people of Israel -
reason for having this truth as a foundation, is that it is a good
reminder that God's plan - grand design - for creating a family of
spirit god beings, is far from complete. Numbers wise it is still in
its very early stages. Sure, God has touched the lives of more than
144,000 people, but on the other hand there are yet billions and
billions of people who know virtually nothing about God and His Laws.
Israel as an example for other nations to follow, is an important first
step in getting the bulk of humanity turned around and submitting to
Keeping God's Holy Days.I
feel we can only truly understand the meaning of God's Holy Days if we
are keeping them, and are keeping them according to God's calendar.
of the seven Holy Day seasons or days, highlights a major aspect of
God's plan - His "Grand Design" as I like to put it. There are a
number of important places in Scripture that can only be correctly
translated by understanding the OT instructions about how to observe
the Holy Days. The translators of our English Bibles of today, as
I understand it, do not keep the Lev23 Holy Days, and this is
reflected in some bad mistranslations in the events surrounding Jesus's
By making the knowledge of God's Holy Days a part
of our foundation, we can better sort out some more verses that are
"history, but not trurh", and in some cases, we can come up with a better translation than the current translators.
"calendar" that we should use to know when to keep the Holy Days is
built into the solar/lunar system. The two equinoxes (and
especially the Spring equinox in the NH) are fundamental to
the calculations, and separating them are the longest and shortest
days. The seasons are the "little hand". The months all start
with a new moon, so the phases of the moon are the "big hand". By
having to keep certain days special by the "clock" God has built into
the solar/lunar system, we are drawn closer to the way God views time.
the points given above forming our foundation, we then can proceed in
our study of the Bible.
a foundation of solid truth will help us to keep close to the trunk of
the tree. So many people get caught up with "twiggy" points that
consume time and energy, but don't go anywhere - 2Ti 2:16 NET.
"But avoid profane chatter,
because those occupied with it will stray further and further into
ungodliness," If the point under discussion is not supported by
our "foundation", then we should be careful not to waste too much time
on it. However, our understanding can be helped by history, so there
are times to work with non "trunk of the tree" stuff - just not "twigs".
Two points first.As we get into our Bible study using this new perspective, there are another two points that we need to keep in mind.
one.Another of the "lies" put out by men about the Bible, is
that God and Satan are "fighting" to get people to their side.
Or, some put it as God is trying as hard as He can to stop
people from sinning.
While Satan is a spirit being
that has rebelled against God, and is an adversary to God and His
people, He is still very much under the control of God. There is no
"war" or fighting going on. God does use Satan's adversary
characteristics to test people, or to take people further into sin if
that is what they want to do, but Satan has no control over people that
God does not give permission for (see Job 1&2).
In Romans 1, God
says three times (v24,26,28) that He (KJV) "gave them up" to sin. The
Greek word G3860 can mean - surrender, yield up, intrust.
There is not the least bit of of a hint that God is trying to
stop someone from sinning. In fact, if you want demons to help you to
sin, they will be provided free of charge.
My current understanding is that God is using Satan and his lies to
test us. When Satan tested Jesus, he wanted Jesus to do things that were
against God's will. If we end up believing the lies that Satan has had
men put into the Bible, then we also end up doing things that are not
God's will. So - it is an either/or situation. If you put the Bible
first, you go against God. If you believe God first, then you must
reject hundreds of verses in the Bible that are in error.]
course, God wants people to obey His Laws, but if you are not going to
do that, then you might as well go in the other direction and have no
excuse when you face the Lake of Fire. The other aspect is, that if you
fully embrace sin, there is just the chance that you will be so hurt by
it that you will want to turn your life around and ask God for help not to sin.
we study the Bible, we should keep in mind the words of Jesus.
7:21-23 NET. "Not
everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of
heaven — only the one who does the will of my
Father in heaven. (22) On that day, many will say
to me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, and in your name
cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?' (23)
Then I will declare to them, 'I
never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!'
will help you do whatever you want. If you want to obey His Law - He
will help you do that. If you want to sin, then He may help
you do that, or certainly will allow you to do it. If you want to
come up with an alternate way of
worshiping God and organizing religion - then He will help you do that
too. In Rev 3:15,16 it is obvious that Christ does not like
"lukewarm" people, so the pressure of tribulation will be applied to
force us into action - good or bad.
The fact that you get help from God to do something you want to do, does not
mean a thing - unless the results are what God is looking for. The test is - are we doing things "according to the will of the Father?".
An extreme example is given in Rev 13:13 NET. "He performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven
in front of people". No man can cause this type of miracle
without God being involved. To put it another way, if the
want to believe in another "god" other than the true God, then there
are times when God will
help them. One of the curses put on Israel when they rebelled
against God was that they "would worship foreign gods".
Understanding this important principle helps us to
make sense of Rev 22:11 NET. "The evildoer must continue to do evil, and the one who is morally filthy must continue to be filthy. The one who is righteous must continue to act righteously,
and the one who is holy must continue to be holy." Note - there
is no middle ground. We end up on one side of the fence or the
other - we are never left sitting on top of the fence.
general, people believe what they want to believe. As Christians,
one fundamental rule of Bible study is that we look for what God is
telling us to believe, and not use "bits" of the Bible to give
"respect" to our own agenda.
you see something that we are told to do in the Bible, we should start
doing it straight away. Of course, study about it and follow it up any
way you can, but your forward progress will be slowed until you live
it. As you obey the truth given to you, more truth will be given.
you rebel, or are too embarrassed to step out, or allow peer pressure to influence you,
then your forward progress will slow to a snail's pace - at least that
has been my experience.
As we study the Bible, we should also keep in mind these words of Jesus.
13:18-23 NET. "So listen to the parable of the sower:
(19) When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and does not
understand it, the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his
heart; this is the seed sown along the path. (20) The seed
sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately
receives it with joy. (21) But he has no root in himself
and does not endure; when trouble or persecution comes because of the
word, immediately he falls away. (22) The seed sown among
thorns is the person who hears the word, but worldly cares and the
seductiveness of wealth choke the word, so it produces nothing.
(23) But as for the seed sown on good soil, this is the person who hears the word and understands. He bears fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown."
The problems are,
"not understanding" - make it a rule that you always continue to check things out.Success comes when,
"trouble or persecution" - do not expect an "easy ride" into the Kingdom.
"Worldly cares and wealth" - try and keep a long term view of things.
"we bear fruit" - put into practice what we are learning.
13:11-13 NET. He replied, "You have been given the opportunity to
know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not.
(12) For whoever has [puts the laws of God to work so they will be in the Kingdom] will be given more,
and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has
will be taken from him. (13) For this reason I speak to
them in parables: ... "
Our own actions and obedience are a big factor in how much we grow through Bible study.
can not be a more basic approach than just reading the Bible on a daily
basis, yet most professing Christians in the world today, don't even
make it to this level.
Use whatever system that
suits you best,
but an idea to get you started, just get two book marks and put one in
the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. Then read
something out of both each day (travel, emergencies and sickness may be a factor in
that - but it should not be much else). Depending on how your
Bible is laid out, it can be a chapter or a page. Since both my current
Bibles that I am reading have notes at the bottom, it makes more sense
to just read a page. When you get to the end, just wrap
and start that Testament again. For variety , you may want to
it over in a different translation.
I feel that this
to Bible reading needs to be continued regardless of what other Bible
study you do. Find a convenient time of the day,
it a habit. It is amazing what jumps out at you on the fifth reading, that you skipped over on the previous four.
What Bible to use?There
are many different
translations in the world. Most have some value (personal
paraphrases the least, as I see it), and they all have good and bad
I don't want to get into the business of promoting a
Bible, but I can make some comments about the ones I use.
New English Translation.
of the latest on the market (2005), and the First Edition has the most
notes of any current Bible. There is also a reader's edition
just a few notes per page. One of the great positives of this
Bible is that people are allowed to quote from it in articles and on
Internet sites, without copyright problems. It certainly is
one I have most quoted. I would like to see this as our
Bible for group discussions.
also call it an "honest" attempt at translating. If the translators are
having a problem understanding the best English equivalent, at least
they tell you in the notes.
is a dynamic equivalence translation - not an attempt at a
word-for-word translation. Not being tied to the original word
structure makes this an easy to read Bible. I feel this is
for getting the story flow, and it goes a long way to making the
meaning clear. Of course, it has places where the translators
(not having the foundation mentioned above) get it wrong. The NLT Full
Verse Cross Reference Bible has been a great help in building themes,
and saves a lot of time turning to the referenced Scriptures.
New King James Version.
most used Bible, but slowly being passed by the NET Bible. It
a rewrite of the KJV, and gets rid of the "thees" and "thous", which
KJV. King James Version.
you needed one of
these so that you could link into Strong's Concordance. Computer
programs have now taken over this role. However, if you don't
have a computer and you do have Strong, then you will find it handy.
New International Version.
of the first Bible translations to break away from just using the
Received Text as the sole source for the New Testament. Easy
read, but hard to memorize. Pushes the Trinity, but this is
to work around.
I also use "The Jerusalem Bible",
"The New Testament by Phillips", the "Companion Bible" - which has
excellent material in the appendix, and a number of others not so often
If I had to pick just two, they would be NET
(with a Reader's Edition for public occasions), and A Life Application
Bible with the NLT edition.
But as I have said
elsewhere - any Bible is better than no Bible.
more advanced approach.At this point, I need to address the
question of computers.
started out without a computer, so I understand what can be done
without one. Today, I have the use of a computer, and appreciate the
time it can save.
you don't have a
computer, then all your study will depend on what books you are able to
gather together. Obviously you will needs some Bibles, and then the
next most important book - I feel - is Strong's "The Exhaustive
Concordance of the Bible". I have found a few errors in the
but I feel that he has done a great service to mankind by putting so
much information into one book. Basically, you use it in two ways.
The first is to find every place in the Bible where a
word is used - basic to identifying themes - and then the second is to
find the possible meanings of the Hebrew or Greek word that has resulted in the English word
used in our Bible.
it takes time to turn the
and forth, and keep track of all your book-marks, it is possible to
learn much about the Bible, and even identify verses that could have
alternate translations. One important point to keep in mind, is that
Strong used the KJV, and if there is an error in that, most likely
there will also be an error in Strong. The classic example is the KJV
translators translating the Hebrew phase "between the evenings" as just
"evening". Strong won't help you get back to the original - you have to
use an Interlinear.
Because Strong has based his
book on the
KJV Bible, it is helpful to have one of these available, as this will
give you the exact word he was working with. For the most
found no problem working with a NKJV Bible - but I did have a KJV for
the times the NKJV word could not be found in Strong. A good
"value for money" KJV Bible is the Companion Bible. You get the KJV
words and a lot of extra information in the margin, plus some very
useful information in the Appendix.
a computer. What
sort of computer you will need will depend on what you want to use it
for. If you want to go "on line" and access the Internet, then you will
need something with some "grunt". However, if you are just going to use
the computer for your study, then it can be old (cheap) and it will
still do a good job. I am using an oldish IBM laptop that fell off a
desk and had the screen broken (who wants a laptop without a screen?).
To replace the screen I am using a plug in stand-alone screen that was thrown
away as not working, but my son was able to repair it. So, moving to a
computer does not have to be expensive, but you do need to learn the
skills required to run it and maintain it.
are many Bible computer programs on the market. I have
tried a few, but the one I like the best is a free one from
e-sword.net. You have to down load the basic suite of programs,
and then you can choose many other books to add to your collection.
Each book file down loaded has to be double clicked on to upload
it. [Not required in the later versions]. Many books and Bibles are free with e-sword, but some you have to pay for.
We thought that NKJV and NLT were good value for the money.
nice feature allows you to "compare" a particular verse across all - or
the ones that you chose - Bible translations. You can also look
at Bible translations "side by side".
Look for what the whole Bible has to say on a topic.In
the more advance approach to Bible study, you are trying to pull out
all the Bible has to say on a subject. Having found a list of verses,
you can look at each one in more detail. For instance, the Strong
number will show you other possible translations of a word. By
searching for the number, you can see all the ways that the translators
have translated it. There are books (like King James Concordance) that you can add to your e-sword
program that will show you this too. You can also look up what various
people have said about the verse.
Sorting out the verses.In
the article about the Nature of God and His Son, I go into detail about
how I classify verses as either "soft" of "firm", so I will not
repeated it here.
In summary, a verse is "soft" - and therefore
not used for doctrine - if it can have different translations (with
different meanings), or it is in conflict with a Bible theme, or
commentators indicate that there are problems with the source documents.
2011, we can add that books/verses that do not contain words from God,
the Prophets, or the Apostles, should also be considered "soft".]
A "firm" verse is one that stands up under investigation.
Recording your results.I
find it useful to write up your Bible study - either as notes or an
article. In putting words on paper you are forced to give form
to your thoughts. Having started to make notes on a Bible topic,
you can always come back to it and update it - but you will not forget
(lose) the work you have already done.
My experience has been that as I
progress in this new Biblical understanding technique, I have to come
back and update or add to previous study notes [as I have done to this article].
Of course, compiling themes is a constant "work in progress" affair.
The best approach to Bible study.
This one is beyond my ability, so I can only pass on the thoughts of others.
did read once where a man said it was easier to teach people to read
Hebrew and Greek, than to make a translation into English.
you are able, I can only conclude that learning the original languages
would be the best approach to Bible study. You still have the
problem of what "text" you use as your source document, but with a good
foundation coming from the themes that you and others have built up, I
would imagine you could sort through the source documents a lot quicker
than those who still see God as a Trinity, and the the Commandments are
One final point.
careful about using one verse to "override" another verse. For
example, I have heard ministers use the verse in 1 King 8:9 that says
that only the stone tablets are in the ark, to indicate that the other
objects have been taken out. Since this verse goes against the
Bible theme of what was placed in the ark, I would call it "soft".
When the ark is opened, I expect to see Aaron's rod and the
manna, as well as the tablets.
Often the "bigger picture" comes out by adding the information of different verses together.
Primary foundation (over 100).There is only one God - God the Father.
The Ten Commandments are to be kept.
God will punish those who break His Laws.
Also part of the foundation (30-100).The Kingdom of God.
God will restore Israel.
We are to keep God's Holy Days.
Once you have these seven points firmly planted in your mind, the rest is just padding out the details.
this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be copied, it is
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