Tips on How to Study the Bible:

I have been asked by a relatively "new" brother in the faith, for a little help in getting started with useful Bible study. This is a problem that most of us have experienced at one time or another and to one degree or another. Here are a few suggestions along that line that have helped me.
If we had the original scriptures, and if we understood the Hebrew language, and if we understood the times and circumstances under which the books of the Bible were written, then the scriptures would be much easier for us to understand. But, since we don't have these things, and since some errors were made during translation, some outside helps, some study aids are needed to get a good understanding of the Bible. I recommend that you get the following books for your personal study library. This would be a bare minimum. You probably have some of them, already.
First would be the King James Version of the Bible. This should be your basic study Bible. Then, get at least one other translation, such as the Good News Bible, the New English Bible, the New King James, Moffat, Goodspeed, New International Version, or something similar.
Then, you need a good concordance. This is an absolute must. I use Strong's New Exhaustive Concordance, plus a computer version called Quick Verse ©. Both versions have every word in the Bible listed in alphabetical order, and each word is numbered and keyed to a Hebrew and Greek dictionary, which shows what that word was translated from and what it means. Also, the computer program has two or more versions of the Bible that can be accessed easily.
Then, you should have at least one good Bible commentary or dictionary. A Bible encyclopedia can also help.
Now, you are ready to study. Here are a few pointers I find helpful. Set aside a certain time to study and get in the habit of studying during that time every day. Approach your study in a prayerful attitude; make it a practice to pray for understanding before beginning. Ask Yahweh to open your mind to his truth, and to lead you to understand what you read.
Then, study either a book of the Bible, or a chapter or section of a book; or, select a subject, and look up all the scriptures you can find on that particular subject. You can use your concordance for doing that. For example, look up the word "music" and you will find that it appears 15 times in scripture, with each occurrence listed by book, chapter and verse.
Or take "immortality," a subject that is often misunderstood by Bible students. Looking up this word, we find that it appears five times in five verses:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
1 Cor 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Cor 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Tim 6:16 (Yahshua the Messiah) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting.
2 Tim 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
These five Scriptures show us that 1) Immortality is something we seek for - we do not already have it; 2) It is something that we must put on; 3) when we do put it on, we will have conquered death; 4) At this time, Yahshua the Messiah is the only One Who has lived in the flesh Who has acquired immortality; and 5) Yahshua brought life and immortality to light through His Gospel. It apparently was unknown prior to His coming.
Then you need to check related words, such as "immortal," "eternal," etc. In doing so, we find that "immortal" appears only once, in 1 Tim. 1:17, and that "eternal" with "life" following appears 26 times, and that eternal life can be had by keeping the commandments, by repenting of our sins and accepting our Savior's sacrifice to pay for those sins, by being baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. He has promised us eternal life; no murderer has eternal life, etc.
If you come across a scripture that you don't understand, and you will, check another translation to see how it is rendered there. Then see what your Bible commentary or dictionary says about it. If a particular passage seems hard to grasp, check all the other scriptures relating to that same subject. Reading only one or two verses of a chapter will often leave you with a very limited understanding. Read the verses before and after the one in question. This will often clear up the mystery, and the hard one will become understandable when you do that. But don't try to interpret scripture on your own. We are told in 2 Peter 1:20, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. We are to let the Bible interpret itself.
For deeper study, it is often necessary to consult reference books that are usually available only in public libraries, or, more often, libraries of religious or private colleges and universities. Most of these sources are glad to help you find reference material.
Lastly, Scripture reveals that we cannot truly understand the Bible and its message unless the Holy Spirit is leading us (1 Cor. 2:7-15, esp. v. 11-12):
1 Cor 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of Yahweh knoweth no man, but the Spirit of Yahweh.
1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of Yah: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
It further reveals that we can acquire this Spirit in only one way, and that is found in Acts 2:38 and Acts 5:32:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom Yahweh hath given to them that obey him.
If you have not repented of breaking Yahweh's Law (1 John 3:4), and accepted Yahshua the Messiah as Sovereign in your life (Romans 10:9), I urge you to do so today, then follow through with baptism and the laying on of hands for the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
Then, and only then, will you truly begin to understand the deeper things in the Scriptures, including Yahweh's plan for your life - His true plan of salvation. May Yahweh bless your quest for true knowledge.
For more information on Bible study, or about baptism, write, call, or email us, and we will be glad to help. <>

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