When it comes to the Holy Bible, and a basic bible study method, many people rely on others to interpret scripture for them because they think it is a challenge studying and understanding the Bible. The problem with this is that they run the risk of getting an interpretation that serves the interest of a particular theologian, religious body, or group.
Some theologians explain the text in a way that says what they want it to say, as opposed to what God the author intends. In some cases this is not due to outright maliciousness but because of those theologians’ ignorance. The direct result is that many people end up with a human opinion quite different from God’s intent.
What we now have as the Holy Bible, was originally written in three (3) languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and has been translated to Latin, English and other languages. Some of these translations are not completely accurate and many modern “versions” are based on these inaccurate translations.
In my studies I have found that the most accurate translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek scriptures is the King James Bible, 1611, from which our King James Version derives. The differences between these two are a matter of the form of English. For example, see the image below from the King James Bible, 1611, and take note of the words: forme (form), voyd (void), darkeneffe (darkness) and deepe (deep).
Still, despite the modern variations of those words in the King James Version, many people say they have challenges understanding it. They say it is because of these words ye, thee, thou, wherefore, wist, wont, and such. I disagree with this reasoning and posit the following challenges that are the real reason why many people cannot understand the Holy Bible.
The first challenge
Many people approach the Bible from a point of un-regenerated intellect. People who study the Bible with intellect alone cannot fathom the spiritually discerned knowledge it contains because they cannot be spiritually minded while they are disconnected from God.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)
One consequence of being disconnected from God is that the Bible will seem like foolishness. There is a difference between understanding the Bible from the natural unconverted mind and understanding it from the born-again, spiritually discerning, mind. The natural mind is also very carnal and opposed to God.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7 (KJV)
Many people operate with a natural, unconverted, carnal mind, which is enmity against God. They will have to satisfy God’s criterion before beginning to be able to fully grasp or spiritually discern the Holy Bible. God’s only criterion is: be born-again!
The second challenge
Even born-again people operate with a carnal mind when they are not obedient to God’s Word. Many say, “I love you Lord!” but their actions demonstrate that their minds are carnal. Jesus said:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:15,16,17 (KJV)
If we love God we will be obedient to Him. When we walk in obedience God sends the Spirit of truth who will dwell with us and in us. It is HE who will teach us, that is, He will enable us to spiritually discern the things in the Holy Bible. He will give us the “God intent” of scripture, despite words like thee, thou, wist, and wherefore!
The third challenge
There is a failure to study and a failure to study by following some simple, uncomplicated, logical guidelines. The scripture says:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
We are commanded to study the Holy Bible in such a way that God approves, we are not ashamed, and the Word of Truth is divided rightly. Here are some basic rules you can follow for Bible study once you overcome the three (3) challenges listed above.
1. Am I acquainted with the chapter(s)? (Read it thoroughly and jot down the things that stand out to you, such as author, date written, to whom it is addressed, general/specific message, general/specific focus, etc.)
2. What is the general historical significance? (Identify the history of the passage where possible.)
3. What is the cultural background? (Identify culturally distinct things in the passage where possible.)
4. What are some key words in the text? (Identify and jot down key words that you can find in a Hebrew or Greek lexicon or concordance and look them up.)
5. What are the limits of the passage? (Identify any limitations in the passage, such as, is this a parable or a true story, an actual event happening in that time or a prophecy; if its a prophecy was it fulfilled or is it unfulfilled, etc.)
Call these a basic Bible study method to use when studying.