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HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE AND HAVE IT MAKE SENSE

An Age-Old Conflict

The Bible has for centuries been a source of confusion to men everywhere. Many people have concluded that it cannot be a reliable source of information because so many contradictory theories claim to be based upon its contents. The purpose of this section is to show that the Bible, carefully studied, can be a consistent, reliable source of information.

Men need an Authority

It is in the nature of man to want a good authority for his thought and his behavior. In religious thought, especially, it would seem desirable to have sound evidence as a basis for conclusions. Yet, today man faces a challenge in the field of religious thought: Is there a religious authority? Or is every man to believe what he believes with no more evidence than his own personal preference? Actually, there is an authority. In practice, few men recognize one.

In this section an effort will be made to demonstrate that the Bible can answer reasonably and consistently any question — provided the student learn how to use it. This section will endeavor to show that the Bible is, indeed, the ultimate authority which men have been seeking.

What is the Bible?

If the idea is accepted that a personal God does exist, then the student must next decide if he has access to knowledge relating to God. The Bible claims within its covers to be the sole source of information about God and about what He is doing.

This section, therefore, is based on a very important assumption. It is assumed from the beginning that the Bible is what it claims to be — the Word of God. Even if every student does not also make this assumption, it is suggested that he temporarily accept it as such while examining the Bible. If its contents do not live up to its claim, he is not obligated to accept it as anything more than another book. If its contents do reveal the answers being sought, he has found what few have found: THE TRUTH.

The initial hypothesis that the Bible is the Word of God is made because there is great strength in studying any matter from a positive rather than a negative point of view. Such a position of study allows a person to see intricate beauties which another person might quickly dismiss as contradictions.

It has been for some time the practice of theological seminaries to study the Bible utilizing various kinds of criticism (text, form, etc.). This approach, however, has been negative. It has, in essence, begun the study of Scripture by saying, “What can we find wrong?” The method of study presented in this section will be totally different from that which is commonly being practiced, but it should give a positive confirmation of the validity of this great Book, the Bible.

Five Separate Interlocking Approaches

1. Exhaustive Topical Examination

2. Study of Symbolic Language

3. Study by Time Frame

4. The Importance of Context

5. Study by Type and Antitype

Because man’s mind is not capable of retaining and cross-referencing all of the passages in the Scriptures, study which examines one book of the Bible at a time is somewhat fruitless. How can one be certain that conclusions are correct on any question unless he has examined ALL that the whole Bible says relative to that question? After all, if the Bible is the Word of God, its testimony on a given subject should be consistent and revealing from Genesis through Revelation.

In order to know ALL that the Bible says on a given subject, therefore, it becomes necessary to study a single TOPIC at a time. The study of many topics, one at a time, then, can be carefully molded into a larger, comprehensive picture of what the Bible is about.

The first

Advance to the next chapter here:

21 comments to HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE AND HAVE IT MAKE SENSE

  • Daz

    When Jesus said as recorded in John 2:19,20,21 – 19.Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
    20.They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21.But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
    Is Jesus saying here that he will raise HIMSELF from the dead?

    • Daz

      I am seeing now that the watchtower organization does not give Jesus the praise, honour & importance he so rightly deserves! So much is being revealed to me from the scriptures since studying the indepenently with no influence of any Jw’s views. I feel that they have deprived me of the whole truth, maybe it’s just that they don’t know it themselves & have closed their hearts & minds to it. I am just so overwhemed & it brought me to tears today as I felt so humbled & Privileged by these revelations. I have been praying so hard to find the truth & I believe it is being revealed to me by scripture & with the help of some wonderful christian friends on this site, WOW!!! THANKYOU!!! The scripture below really hit home to me the power & authority Jesus has yet he always gives glory to this father!

      Acts 7:59-60
      59. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

      • Jacqueline

        Oh my dear Daz, and now you EXHALE! Along with this knowledge comes freedom, calmness and peace great soil for the Holy Spirit of God to dig and work in.
        We have all been there, some getting there but to see your joy makes us happy. And now you can help others and increase that joy. You are an asset on this site for you tell it out so some other souls can read and get encouraged that there is light at the end of some of their darkest tunnels.
        Acts 7:59-60 is so appropriate as we can’t be free if we don’t forgive! I got free a month ago when I told the elder (close friend) that signed his name to a letter that the society drew up and he knew it was a lie, that I forgive him. He smiled and said thank you so much, he said he had to come check on me. He was relieved that he may have been resposible for my eternal death. I assured him that Jesus had me and the Bible Student elders grabbed me before I perished. He was all smiles.
        So Acts recording of Stephen’s forgiveness helps us all. I am happier today because you have broke the chains that have held you bound for so long. There is Joy in heaven, you have been called by Christ. Shalom, my brother in Christ.

        • Daz

          May God bless you dear Jacqueline, thankyou so much for your lovely kind heartfelt words. I am so grateful to have You, Peter & also others to help me along the way & your support has been such a rock to me but ultimately I know that Jesus Christ & Jehovah has played a masssive part in setting me free & revealing truths to me. I just feel so humbled & joyful to have had this happen & not just to me but also my lovely wife is discovering truth too! It’s a real Privilege to share what I is being revealed to me. All the many many prayers I prayed begging to show me the way, all those times where I would beat myself up & felt unworthy to to recieve a relationship with God & Jesus, behold, my prayers HAVE been answered! I am amazed by the understanding I seem to have gained reading the scriptures independenty & meditating on them, the relevance & guidence they now give me is just overwhelming! I am so excited & just cannot wait to share what I have learned with others. I understand now why I had to go through what I had gone through & realize why it took the time it did to get me to where I am now! God ALWAYS knows what’s best for us!
          Always keep faith in HIM!

          Warm & loving regards,
          Daz

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Daz,

      In my opinion, John 2:19 “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” is the strongest evidence in the Bible to support the Trinity, even if it says nothing about three persons making up one God.

      I have a couple of possible explanations for this, the second of which I prefer:
      1) The expression “raised it up” may simply means that Jesus removed his body from the tomb If Jesus is referring to resurrecting his own body, note that the word is NOT “resurrect” or “awaken”. To raise a body out of a grave could simply mean to remove it. This is why the soldiers guarded the tomb. They were afraid the disciples would remove the body and claim Jesus was resurrected. This may be the same concept as the burial spot of Moses body was not revealed, in order to prevent preserving and worshiping a dead body.

      2) More likely, the Apostles would later explain that the temple of God is really Jesus’ body members. Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple <3485> in the Lord: Therefore, when Jesus was raised from the dead, the disciples then had faith that he could do the same for them. Since a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8). If Adam was created on the first thousand day, than Jesus was raised on day five and his body members on day 7 (the third thousand year day from Jesus’ resurrection).

      —————————

      Patrick Navas suggested the following to me:

      “I think that rather that Jesus is using this language because he knows that his Father is going to raise him from the dead. Remember that in John 1:18 Jesus said, “I have authority to lay [my life] down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” So the charge/command to take his life “up again” came from his Father who is the real source and power that made Jesus’ resurrection possible.

      “I think we might compare the situation to the following. Suppose I were to threaten to sue someone and said, “If you do such and such, I’m going to take everything you own.” And, if this were to actually take place, I wouldn’t literally be the one who would take that person’s money or belongings. The police would be the ones to carry this out, but I could still say, in a manner of speaking, that “I” took the persons belongings, even though the police actually carried out the action directly. So I think that Jesus meant something like this. I think it was a kind of figurative statement on Jesus’ part. That’s how I understand the statement anyway. I hope that makes sense.”

      ———————————

      Quoting from the Doctrine of Christ book here: http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

      However, in John 2:19, Jesus said, in response to the Jews’ request
      for a sign from him: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise
      it up.” John quotes Jesus and then gives the proper understanding of
      Jesus’ words. He says, “But he spake of the temple of his body” (John
      2:21). Here the aged John is suggesting what Paul confirms: “For as the
      body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one
      body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are
      we all baptized into one body. . . . Now ye are the body of Christ, and
      members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:12, 13, 27). Further insight is provid-
      ed in 2 Cor. 4:14, which reads: “Knowing that he which raised up the
      Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by [with, through] Jesus, and shall pre-
      sent us with you.” In John 6:44 we read a similar thought: “No man can
      come to me, except the Father . . . draw him: and I will raise him up at
      the last day.” This shows that God’s power would not be exercised inde-
      pendently but through Jesus in the resurrection of the Body of Christ.

      Hence it is Jesus who will take an active role in raising his Church
      from the dead. John shows in 14:2, 3 when that will be. He says: “And
      if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
      unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” So it is at Jesus’
      second advent that his faithful followers will be rewarded. Other Bible
      texts detail the timing of the Church’s resurrection yet further. Peter
      declares that “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years” (2 Pet.
      3:8). If we divide the time from man’s creation into one-thousand year
      days, Jesus was crucified and resurrected on the fifth (thousand year)
      day. If he returns in three days to raise his body members, counting
      inclusive ely from the fifth day, we arrive at the seventh (thousand year)
      day, which is the grand Millennial Day of blessing.

      Now let us examine John 2:19—“In three days I will raise it up”—
      from another standpoint. The disciples had come to regard Jesus’ death
      and resurrection as a precursor of their own resurrection. They
      remembered his promise: “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John
      14:19). Hence we read: “When therefore he was risen from the dead,
      his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they
      believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:22).
      We must remember that before Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples did not enter-
      tain a heavenly hope. The last thing they asked our risen Lord before he
      ascended was: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to
      Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Subsequently, they came to realize they were to be a
      part of the body of Christ and that God would “raise up us also by Jesus”
      (2 Cor. 4:14). That is what they remembered Jesus’ words to mean.

      • Daz

        Hi Peter, thankyou kindly for your reasoning on this subject, I found it very interesting & yes it did make alot sense. I do appreciate it when you & others take the time to reply to my posts.
        I was wondering when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last breath, could it not be that once his spirit left his fleshly body obviously it returned to his father in heaven, could Jesus have maybe materialized once he was in heaven as a spirit entity & then raised his own fleshly body?

        • Peter K. (admin)

          Daz – Someone removed Jesus’ fleshly body from the tomb. Was it Jehovah Himself? An Angel? Jesus in his glorified divine spirit body? I don’t know? I don’t see a problem with it being Jesus who removed His corpse.

          Just an added thought. Jesus said, “My flesh I give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) Since he gave his perfect human flesh as a Ransom price, it is not something he can take back. He is now forever a divine spirit being. I do not think though that that would prohibit him from materializing and temporarily appearing in a human form if he choose to do that (just like his post resurrection appearances for 40 days.)

  • Daz

    Hi everyone, I have a question, in the NWT bible it says at John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God”.Yet in KJ bible & many other it says;
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. I am aware that the NWT added the letter ‘a’ infront of God to for the concept to show Jesus was separate from Jehovah God but Jesus was addressed as a God as seen in John 20:28 In answer Thomas said to him, “My lord, my God”.
    What I would like to know is the true meaning of John 1:1, I understand that in the beginning there was the word (the word is Jesus) & the word (Jesus)was with God but it’s the last part I am trying to get staright “and word was God”. I would appreciate very much your opinions & insight.

    Warm & lving regards,
    Daz

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Daz – In Acts 12:22 (Herod’s voice is a god’s voice) and Acts 28:6 (Paul is called a god), the translators supplied the article “a” to the word theos in both instances. Here the article “a” is inserted with god (Theos). However in John 1:1, Trinitarians just happen to think this would be contrary to John’s thought. That is a very subjective conclusion.

      John 1:1, 2 reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [ton, the] God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with [ton, the] God.” A word-for-word Greek rendering of John 1:1, 2 is: “In [a] beginning [arche] was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and [a] God was the Word. This was in [a] beginning with the God.” Trinitarians tried to level the field by leaving out the article (ton) “the.” In the King James, as in many other translations, all references to God are equal to the English reader. You do not get the contrast between the emphasized God spoken of twice and the unemphasized God referring to the Logos.

      Yet consider how later in this chapter (John 1:18), in the same context, a clear distinction is drawn between these Gods apart from mere grammatical emphasis: “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten god, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (New American Standard Bible, Marshall Interlinear, etc.) Clearly, there is a “begotten God” and a begetter “God.” Hence, John 1:1 must be understood in a manner that harmonizes with this verse.

      Here are some additional helpful links:

      On John 1:1 the Logos – http://www.heraldmag.org/2008/08jf_6.htm

      About the word god / Theos – http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2013/03/12/does-the-greek-word-theos-and-the-hebrew-word-elohim-prove-the-trinity/

  • Domenic Pappalardo

    Many who read the Bible come away believing it is a jumble of confusion. There is a conflict between what we believe is fact, and what the Bible says is truth. Do things which we believe proves the Bible can not be trusted? This leads many to turn their back on God. Can what the Bible says be proven? Test it on this scripture: Joshau 10: 12-13. Did God Stop the Sun from moving, or the Earth?
    The scripture says God stopped the Sun. That brings up a dispute. One thing we know for sure…God does not lie. Does the universe move around the Earth, or does the Earth move around the Sun? Follow along with this, and you will come to believe it is not only religions that brain wash us, it started when we were very young, and asked, “Why is the sky blue?”
    What you are about to read has a link what athirst scientist have proven. These scientist are not Bible thumpers…they are men who do not believe in God, or his written word. If it can be proven the Earth does not move, then we have to ask, “What else do I believe is not true?”
    If science prove the Earth moves around the Sun…well, in that case, we may as well start looking for the fountain of youth, and throw our Bible in the trash can.

    This will test your faith in the Bible;

    Did The Sun Stand Still and The Moon Stay or Did The Earth Stop Spinning and Moving? Joshua 10:13

    I read this just to see what it said. LOL, it’s funny. The teaching that the Earth moves around the sun is accepted as TRUTH. This goes against Bible scripture. Did you know there is no proof the Earth moves? Also, did you know science has done test, and their facts prove the Earth DOES NOT MOVE…that everything moves around the Earth.
    Here is where this can be found.

    Charles Crosby – EzineArticles.com Expert Author
    ezinearticles.com/?expert=Charles_Crosby Cached
    Author Alerts: Get notified by email when new articles are written by Charles Crosby!

    You will see a list of articles. Scroll down to the last article. Right below that you will see.

    “View all of Charles Crosby’s published articles” : This is where you want to enter. On page one you will find;

    Did The Sun Stand Still and The Moon Stay or Did The Earth Stop Spinning and Moving? Joshua 10:13

    It is my hope you come to the same conclusion I have…”The Bible Is the only truth I know.”

  • Mrs.Researcher

    Mike, I like your comments, i hope that one day i feel the christian vibe like you do. The only religious upbringing I have was as a JW and that is pretty dry. Just guilt and try to work to get better off with God. I read in Randy Watters’ post on freeminds.org,” Christianity is God working through man, not man working for God.” Very enlightening. No man can save himself through his works, only Christ is our saviour.

    Please stay around to help dried-up sheep like myself.
    Working towards Christian Love,

    Mrs Researcher

    • Mike

      Hi Mrs. Researcher,
      Glad I can be of some help. Sometimes I feel I’m not going about this the right way when it comes to witnessing to a JW. Since I became born again in Christ, I feel people who call themselves Christians and deny Christ his rightful place are insulting him and those of us who actually know the truth. And I’m not saying that with arrogance. I’m saying that with confidence.The bible was written for dummies, in my opinion. Why would God entrust his words to one human organization? I don’t think he would. It’s for all of us and so is his Holy Spirit. I know He has worked through me. It’s hard to explain, but once you have lived it, you know. You feel it and then you look around and see it. May God bless you and show you the way.

  • Mike

    If the Society was really ” in the truth” then they wouldn’t be so scared of the sheep testing them, would they? The fact is, they aren’t in the truth. Truth doesn’t change to fit their doctrines. Examine different Bibles and you will begin to notice the changes the society makes. What a coincidence that those particular changes just happen to support their doctrines. Their motto: write doctrines then change God’s word to reflect it, instead of read God’s word and then write our doctrines. Why else would they write their own bible version. Why was the word grace taken out of their version? Charic is the Greek word for grace. There are no single words that reflect the words undeserved kindness. Undeserved does keep in line with the brainwashing techniques of convincing the sheep they have to work for their salvation.

    • Jacqueline

      I agree, if most persons are telling the truth they are not paranoid. It is about losing money however. Prestige and a way of life. Control probably feels good to some. How they can let children die however from lack of transfusions is the one that gets me. And also how they can convince people to break up their families.

      • Mike

        Hi Jacqueline,
        I wasn’t in the JW’s. I have friends that are and they invited me to a bible study. Before I studied with them all I did was rely on the weekly scriptures picked out by the Catholic Church. When I started studying with my JW friends and started to hear what they had to say, I started to read the bible more just because a lot of what they were teaching was not only the opposite of what I was taught, but also because of the unwillingness to use your own intellect. I’m trying to slowly teach them about Christ, but it is like pulling teeth to get them to even consider something else. It’s becoming very clear that they believe questioning the self proclaimed faithful and discreet slave is the same as questioning God himself.

        • Jacqueline

          Hi Mike, I have posted to the right under ask Jacqueline some interesting info about whether one is actually questioning God. I wish you well in your trying to reason with a witness. The mind is totally closed if they are defending the GB. That seems to be something Holy Spirit has to deal with. You can hardly reason with a witness if they are not concious of their spiritual need. We are trained to overcome objections and resist any outside thoughts. Most will comply, but there is a growing number of friends that are beginning to see the deception of keeping you from studying the bible. But Jesus has all of it in his hand.

          • Mike

            Maybe the best way to get through is just by our actions. I once read a quote that goes something like this. Preach the gospels every chance you get and if necessary use words. My friend who’s family has been JW’s for 50+ years is referred to as inactive. His family looks at him as the black sheep since he’s the only one not to be baptized. It’s frustrating only because they mentally shut down when you question anything. Ironically, he asks me all the time how I can be so happy when things around me are falling apart. That’s where I try to explain to him that once you receive Christ, all your so called tribulations are manageable. I love the poem footprints in the sand. That poem tells of my life story. I grew up Catholic and since I really started to study the bible, I have concluded quite a few things that aren’t in the bible that were taught to us. No human organization is without faults, but the true Christian I believe is the one that accepts Jesus as their savior. I will continue to “make disciples of all nations” and in time save a few JW’s, Mormans and all non-believers.

            • Jacqueline

              Mike, You seem to have the right spirit of what a Christian should be. You just have a desire to help where you can. I like the “use words if necessary”. Help if you can, but always keep Jesus in the forefront.
              I find more people are willing to talk about God when they don’t feel they are being judged. I have had to retrain my thinking and it feels good to listen to other people now. I am learning so much. Hope you enjoy the site, the brothers work hard trying to renew it from time to time. Take care my Brother in Christ.

            • Domenic Pappalardo

              Mike,
              read John 6:44. We can’t make Christians of people. This scripture shows we can’t make Christians of our self. God picks who he wants. if he did not pick us, we would never want it. True, the Watch Tower is a false religion…all religions are false. Look at the members of the Watch Tower…the leaders are wrong, but the sheep are still believers. If God wants them, he will make a way out for them. God will not lose one person he wants.
              Those sheep still believe in God, and our Lord Jesus. Some day the leaders will try to lead them to the anti-Christ. Those with the right heart will not follow them at that point.

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