The Bible was not written to us, but for us. Scripture was written to real people in real places.
When it comes to Bible reading and studying it diligently, remember one thing if you'd forget all else — Context is King — do not isolate texts from each other.
I'm not a fan of Bible chapter divisions and verses. There were not there; they are not inspired. Strive to read your Bible in paragraphs, not verses. The only "use" of these chapter divisions and verses is for easy location. Still, I exhort you to read in paragraphs.
All Scripture study must be opened by a key called Prayer: "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." ( Psalm 119:19). To go to God, we must come with God.
They that would faithfully be instructed by Scripture, should have their — hermeneutic — science of interpretion — right!
Essential questions to ask yourself in personal study of Scripture:
(1) What does it say?
(2) Why does it say it here?
(3) What does it mean?
(4) What is its significance?
(5) What is the authorial intent?
(6) Who is the audience?
(7) Why was this book written?
We must strive to understand the doctrine first, application comes last. But alas, we err most terribly when we start with us, "What does this passage say to ME?"
It is crucial to understand the place of significance in biblical passages. Ask yourself these questions:
(1) Are there direct statements of purpose?
(2) Are there any appeals or commands?
(3) Are there any repeated words or concepts?
(4) Are there any difficulties or things I should look up?
(5) Are there any theological concepts?
(6) Is there anything being taught about God? That is, how does this accomplish God's plan for this world? How is God working out his plan in individual lives?
(7) Why did God place this in the Bible?
The Bible is very vocal about man's failure, but more vocal about Christ's power to save any man, "Whosoever cometh...!"
God is an Author. Dear writer, there's your highest motivation to write!
Jesus did not speak English. Of course, He knows English — He is God! Plainly put, Jesus thought in Hebrew, spoke in Aramaic, and the New Testament was written in Greek.
Jesus, English? Not a chance!
It is a great privilege to read the Bible in its original tongue: Hebrew Old Testament (with some Aramaic), and the Greek New Testament. I highly recommend you to them!
God has SPOKEN in His Word. It is us who do not LISTEN to Him.
The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not biographies of Jesus.
The prophets spoke in God's place, "Thus says the LORD." Be wary of speaking like Hananiah when you're not sent like Jeremiah.
To understand the biblical prophets, few questions and nuggets are necessary:
(a) Who is the audience?
(b) What's the time frame?
(c) What is the situation (around their works)?
(d) Who is the author, what is their background, time frame?
(e) Think in terms of oracles or sermons, if you like.
(f) Identify Israel's iniquity and/or God's love and a pronouncement of the resulting curse or blessing.
Old Testament narratives is a description of events, not a prescription of how people should act. Note:
(a) Not all things people do are good.
(b) They are selective and incomplete.
Old Testament narratives purpose is to show God at work in His creation and people, not to teach a moral of its own. Note:
(a) They don't usually teach a doctrine directly.
(b) They often illustrate (explicitly or implicitly) a doctrine taught elsewhere.
God is the HERO in EVERY NARRATIVE, not man!
Jesus, English? Not a chance!
The Bible can simultenously soften a man's heart and harden the sinner.
Every theological book(s) ever written, presently being written, and those that are planned to be written, all try to explain the Bible. Who can know the mind of God? The Bible is the Book of books — a library of books — biblia!
Give me a Bible, that's all I need.
Bible knowledge is commendable, but beware [most] especially of that knowledge which boasts in itself and not the God of the Bible. Head knowledge is the undoing of many "good" men.
Are we walking Scriptures, or just precepts? That's the question!
The Bible agrees totally and fully with itself; man is a contradiction of himself.
"Hit-and-run Bible reading can often become hit and miss."
"There is more to Christian growth than knowing what the Bible says; nobody is ever nourished by memorizing menus."
The Word of God, which is Scripture, is never friendly and playful with sin.
Do not bring the world to the Bible, bring the Bible to the world.
Our prayer is instructed by our knowledge of God, personal knowledge of God. The best prayers are written and inspired by God Himself. Know the Psalms?
Ignorance of the Bible is the rejection of God.
O LORD God, make us men and women of the Word, not technology!
"If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible."
Humility. Humility. Humility.
Be often in meditation of what you read from this well of life. Take every word into careful consideration.
Devil preaching and Christ preaching will never agree. "Test these things and see if they are so."
We'll never know if God whistles if we continue to neglect His "love letters" for us.
Man: "Speak to us, Lord!"
God: "If only they read..."
To be continued…