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HOW DO YOU READ THE BIBLE?

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Active

Hello friends,

I just want to first say that I've been blessed since I've joined this community. I thank God for this cyber body of Christ, if I can put it that way, that is bearing much fruit. I can attest myself to feeling the filling of the Holy Spirit frequently from my visits here.

So this question is a big one. It is more about trying to get us to think, not necessarily to make a statement or a declaration.

So I notice, and I bet you have too, that there can be a topic or doctrinal issue and you may see two, or even three different points of view(or more), while each perspective is holding to scripture as their evidence.

For example

Once saved forever saved vs the ability to lose your salvation, or
Eternal hell fire vs an annihilation of the wicked
7 literal days of creation vs thousands or years(a day in the LORD is like a thousand years), etc

So obviously the question is a matter of scriptural interpretation.
So how do you use the scriptures when it comes to putting various different scriptures across different books in the Bible to support a doctrine(teaching)?

What role does Church history play?
What role does the attributes of God play?
What role does the Holy Spirit play? (Does a quenched Spirit(sin) lead to false Bible interpretation?)

Do you see the WORD of God similar to light and the verses of the Bible as rays of light?
Is it such that if you only have a few verses on a topic you only have a little bit of light illuminating the dark area that you want to view, and thus does more Bible verses on a topic necessarily mean more light on understanding?

So for example, if I believe A and you believe B (the opposite of A), and I have one Bible verse to support A but you have 20 to support B does that mean that you are correct, or is it possible that all 20 of your verses could be linked together falsely based on a skewed interpretation of scripture? Remember the Devil tempted Jesus with scriptural support and Jesus didn't use more scriptures to counter the Devil's scriptures, instead he interpreted it properly by putting it in the right context.


Do all scriptures have to support each other when trying to illuminate a topic, or is it ok to leave some in the corner that we don't understand or feel is needed to make our case?

Just curious, let me know your thoughts. I know the Body of Christ will never agree 100% on everything, because we are in the flesh and the key is to continue in love, but I'm just curious as to learning guidelines used by fellow saints and sinners as to how to properly interpret the scripture.
Stay blessed.
 
Loyal
I agree, topical study isn't always the best way.
But I do tend to think if you can find 20 scriptures about a given topic, 2 or 3 point one way,
and the other 17 or 18 point another way... I tend to go with the majority.

Another type of study is what I call "themed" study. It isn't so much about verses, as it is about
stories or themes in the Bible. Rather than pick out a single verse... what's the purpose of this
entire story? What is the purpose of the parable? Why is this story even in the Bible?

Another thing I like to do is use multiple versions. Very rarely do I study a passage in a single Bible
version. I always like to see at least 3 or 4 interpretations.

Finally, if I'm having difficulty with a particular passage... pray. Praying isn't just for problems
and to confess sins. Praying for wisdom is a good thing. ( James 1:5; )
 
Active
Thats a good one, "themed study."

How often, (Millions and more) has a single Bible verse been taken out of context?
Especially when someone leaves out the very next verse or the previous verse which would
give more wisdom.

What do you make of John 16:13?
KJV
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.
NIV
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
 
Active

RJ

I knew nothing until I began reading scripture, so for me, first and foremost read scripture and let God give you truth as he sees fit.
You have to have a good sense of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation and ask God to to help you, though we live under the New Testament and subject to the New and final covenant, it all is very important to put the pieces together.
Other than research and comparing commentaries, when I am working a scripture or set of scriptures, I have a simple rule of thumb. It usually seems pretty much evident what God is saying but, when I struggle, I look at only what is the good and positive aspect of the scripture/s and if it turns out to be wrong, at-least there is no harm that can come from it. I just go with it like that , until a better and equally positive answer comes along.
 
Active
I knew nothing until I began reading scripture, so for me, first and foremost read scripture and let God give you truth as he sees fit.
You have to have a good sense of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation and ask God to to help you, though we live under the New Testament and subject to the New and final covenant, it all is very important to put the pieces together.
Other than research and comparing commentaries, when I am working a scripture or set of scriptures, I have a simple rule of thumb. It usually seems pretty much evident what God is saying but, when I struggle, I look at only what is the good and positive aspect of the scripture/s and if it turns out to be wrong, at-least there is no harm that can come from it. I just go with it like that , until a better and equally positive answer comes along.
Tell me more about what you mean by, "I look at only what is the good and positive aspect of the scripture/s ". Could you give an example please?
 
Loyal
Here is the conext...

John 16:5; “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
John 16:6; But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
John 16:7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
John 16:8; And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
John 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
John 16:10; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
John 16:11; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
John 16:12; “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
John 16:13; But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
John 16:14; He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
John 16:15; All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

The first thing I notice here is the compassion of Jesus...
He knows the reason none of the disciples are asking Him "Where are you going"? Is because
they are sorrowful that He is leaving them.

So Jesus says... It's to your advantage that I go away. If I don't go away the "Helper" will not
come to you. OK... so who is this "Helper?"

(switch to topical mode here for a second)
The Helper is mentioned five times in the New testament. (the word "helper" is in the new testament more
than 5 times, but it isn't talking about the same "Helper" all 5 times).

I think that's an important distinction, because some "scholars" say that everytime a specific
word is used, it's always used in the same context... (Wrong!!)

For example Acts 13:5; says John was the "helper" of the Jews. This obviously isn't talking
about the same Helper Jesus is talking about.

So Jesus must go away in order for this Helper to come. In John 7:39; it says that the Holy
Spirit was not yet given to the generally population of Christians on the earth "because Jesus
was not yet gloried". So Jesus has to go get glorified so the Helper can come.

In John 14:26; it says this Helper (who the Father will send to you) will teach you all things,
...and... He will bring to remembrance all that I said to you.

So if the Holy Spirit (Helper) is in you, He will remind you of the things Jesus said.
(this does require some study on your part in order to know what Jesus said).

In John 15:26; we see that the "Helper" is the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father.

Which brings us back around to the original verse you asked about... John 16:13;
Just like John 15:26; this Helper is also the Spirit of truth.
He comes to "convict" the world about three things. It's important to note that conviction
is not the same things as condemnation. One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit (Helper) here,
is to convict us when we are doing something wrong. If you feel no guilt about sins you
have recently committed or, think you will commit in the future... you may want to check your
spirit. But feeling a little guilty or remorseful is not the same thing as being judged and condemned.

In verse 12 Jesus says I have a lot more things to say to you. But you wouldn't be able to bear
them right now. Possibly because they already feel bad because they know He is leaving,
and possibly because they don't yet have the Holy Spirit within them to help them understand.

which leads into verse 13... "He will not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, that's what He will
say"... and He will reveal to you (disclose to you) what is to come from this knowledge.

Whatever He hears... hears from who? Well Jesus just got through saying He had more to say to us.
The Holy Spirit never just makes up something at random. He only tells us what Jesus/Father tell Him
to tell us.

===============================================================================================

This can get real sticky in a hurry. I think this is where hard feelings come in.
If we believe the Holy Spirit (Helper) is the one revealing something to us, well first
it needs to agree with scripture. Second the Spirit should be tested. ... and finally,
we need to apply it to our lives.

Now if you feel like you are being told one thing, and I feel like I am being told another
thing by the Helper... there is a problem. God is not the author of confusion. (yet there
are verses that seem to say, I know there will be some disagreement about some things).
Obviously either one of us.. or both of us... is not being led by the Spirit (Helper).

So then, who is leading you? (or me as the case may be)
I've had universalists, antimonians, Mormon's and Jehovah's witnesses all tell me that the
Holy Spirit was bearing witness to what they were saying. And that the Holy Spirit is bearing
witness in testimony with their spirit.

To be honest... I'm fairly sure the Holy Spirit was witnessing what they were saying.
But does that mean it's from the Holy Spirit?

================================================================================================

Much like the OSAS discussion going on here. It seems the majority are in agreement, but we have
a few that disagree. Now being in the majority doesn't make you right. Being in agreement with
the Spirit of truth is what makes you right. So who is in agreement with the Spirit of truth?

That's the real debate... even more than OSAS itself.
 
Active
Thanks for sharing. I share the same interpretation of John Chapter 16.

Yes, you bring up a very very very important point about testifying that the Spirit is leading us,
or someone might say, "I heard from God."

I do believe that God communicates to His Children in many way, audibly, dreams, etc. I also
can say that in the past and currently I feel God is constantly communicating with me.

But it is so important to test the Spirit. Especially in these last(perhaps) days, as it seems
that there is a outpouring of demonic activity in our world. But even so, God is pouring our His
Spirit even greater I believe into all who believe and are ready to walk in the Father's WILL for them.
 
Active
After about 40 years of very serious study of God's Word, I have found that it is vital to have an equal understanding of the Old as well as the New Testament. I've seen people who stay away from the Old Testament, except maybe the Psalms, and they struggle with proper interpretation of the New. I have discovered that a knowledge of customs, language, and "farmer talk" also helps. We tend to interpret from a lens of today, and in Bible times, things were quite primitive, I have to understand the culture and how they did things in different time frames.

A good command of the Hebrew and Greek languages puts a person ahead of one who does not understand the languages of each culture.

My continual prayer, since I've been a teacher of the Scriptures right out of Bible College is to teach Truth. My continual prayer to God is to give me wisdom and knowledge in the Scriptures so that I can teach others. Each day (I'm Retired) I still spend about 3 - 4 hours studying the Scriptures, word for word, line upon line etc. etc. Book by Book.

My thirst for Truth and Righteousness has never faded.
 
Active
Keep drinking from the fountains of living water and keep partaking in the bread of Life.

I've tasted, and it is good.

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." - Psalm 34:8
 
Loyal
I knew nothing until I began reading scripture, so for me, first and foremost read scripture and let God give you truth as he sees fit.
You have to have a good sense of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation and ask God to to help you, though we live under the New Testament and subject to the New and final covenant, it all is very important to put the pieces together.
I like the way you said this @RJ . It is the way I have learned to go in the scriptures. What I try not to do any more is use this question as my basis:

@Jesus_is_LORD :
So how do you use the scriptures when it comes to putting various different scriptures across different books in the Bible to support a doctrine(teaching)?
That is I don't start from a doctrine and look for support for it in scripture. I try to do as @RJ has explained it in the above excerpt of his post. I read the scriptures and let God build something from them in me. This is what I consider 'eating his flesh' so that when I also 'drink his blood' then God will bring to Life within me what He will in His time.
 
Active
I like the way you said this @RJ . It is the way I have learned to go in the scriptures. What I try not to do any more is use this question as my basis:

@Jesus_is_LORD :

That is I don't start from a doctrine and look for support for it in scripture. I try to do as @RJ has explained it in the above excerpt of his post. I read the scriptures and let God build something from them in me. This is what I consider 'eating his flesh' so that when I also 'drink his blood' then God will bring to Life within me what He will in His time.
Amen. Thanks for sharing the wisdom. I am taking it in.
 
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