The Bible holds within it the words of God. It points to the way of salvation in a world where the moral fabric is being devoured as if by a cancer, a world of crime, sin and all kinds of heartlessness. Bearing these things in mind it would be remiss of us not to know how to understand the Book that shows us how to live in this world and how to prepare for the next. Here are the first three of five methods that when taken together will help us to much better understand the Word of God.
(1) Pray for God’s Holy Spirit and His guidance.
The Ethiopian eunuch in the book of Acts was fortunate enough to have the Holy-Spirit-led Philip explain the passage he was reading to him correctly but so often people mislead others with respect to what the Bible says. It is always best to pray and ask God for guidance for ourselves.
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Isa. 35:8 “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.“
Isa. 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
(2) Be willing to submit to the will of God.
Put aside all pre-conceived notions and prejudices and humbly wait for God to teach you. So often we read the Bible in light of our own views and biases. How we interpret the Bible is often affected by our own experiences, feelings and thoughts. Many read to be able to argue rather than to help and to learn. Others read just to be able to say that they have read. John 7:17 says:
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”
(3) Use a Concordance
Unfortunately many people do not even know that there is such a thing as a Bible Concordance. I am tempted to say that to not use a Bible Concordance is to not know your Bible. The Bible has many parallels. There is hardly a doctrine in one part of the Bible that cannot be found in another part of the Bible. Sometimes we may feel that we understand what the Bible is saying but that other text clears up our misunderstanding. The key is to read all the texts that there are on a particular topic and decide what the Bible is saying based on the weight of the evidence. Sometimes there are twenty texts pointing in one direction and there seems to be another pointing in another direction. Go with the majority of texts until it becomes clear. That other text may be an exception to the rule. Without a Bible Concordance you might only know the text that shows the exception to the rule and you will no doubt make the exception the rule which is wrong. The Bible tells us to search the scriptures to find truth here and there in the Bible.
Isa 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isa 28:13 “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little ….”
You might say “Where can I get a Bible Concordance?” Well, there are three answers to that:
(a) There is a Bible Concordance at the back of your Bible. However, while that one will certainly help, it is an incomplete one. Many references are missing.
(b) You can buy a Bible Concordance in any good Christian Bookstore. The best ones are “Strong’s” and “Cruden’s” Concordances.
(c) Good News. The best things in life are free. You can download a good Bible Concordance right now. Just type in a theme and all the texts with that word will appear on your screen. Use a synonym of your theme word and all the texts with that word or phrase will come up. In so doing you will cover all the texts on that topic. It can be found in such freely downloadable software as “The Online Bible” at onlinebible.net. There are others like Theophilos and E-Sword.If you are not technically savvy enough you can use one online at biblegateway.com. Believe me, if you have never used a Bible Concordance before it will open up a whole new world in Bible Study for you. You would be on your way to understanding the Bible like you have never done before
For Part Two in this series see the following link: