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Learn to read the Bible effectively

Section 1


Introduction

We know that your time is valuable. So, we promise to make your time with us productive and enjoyable.

Our goal is to teach you to read the Bible more effectively. Everybody is certainly capable of reading and understanding this great book, but if you are like most people, you might occasionally become confused, bored, overwhelmed or frustrated.

We assume that you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that you believe you can benefit in some way from understanding its message. We share that belief with you.

But we also assume that since you are attending, you desire to further your understanding of the Bible whilst at the same time avoiding the many roadblocks which hinder progress.

We think we can provide you with the right keys and tips to do just this.


Why did we write this course?

We’re hoping God is pleased that we are attempting to build respect and familiarity with His Word.

We’re hoping that we are fulfilling our responsibility to share what we have learned with others. We are concerned for your salvation as well, but rest assured, we do not believe it is our place or role to attempt to convert you to our way of thinking in this seminar.

We are committed to helping you discover the Bible message for yourself. If we come to agreement on matters, all the better. If not, your conscience and ours must be satisfied independently. For this reason, we will avoid any debate of doctrine during class time, and stick to our promise of helping you read the Bible more effectively!


Bible echoes

Any important points or tips we cover in the sessions will generally be denoted like the tip below on looking for echoes.

An Early (but crucial!) Tip:

Look for Bible Echoes!

Ask: What does this remind of?

Consider this example of when the Pharisees and Herodians attempted to catch Jesus in his words, so they could arrest him. They asked,

Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Mark 12:13-17)

Jesus recognized their treachery and asked for a penny. He asked, “Whose is this image and superscription?” They reply, “Caesar”, to which Christ responds, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.

Fair enough. The clear answer is to pay your taxes because they belong to man’s system of things. But what are the things we ought to render to God?

Consider words much earlier on in the Bible – Genesis 1:27…

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;”

Whose image and superscription are we? Jesus’ full message is not merely to pay your taxes, but also that we belong to God and must render to Him His due by reflecting His image and character correctly (This is known as “manifestation”).

This is not a mysterious connection. It is merely an association gained by careful reading.


Background to the Bible

‘Holy Bible’ literally means “Separate Book”

• It is made up of 66 Books;

• Old Testament – 39 books

• New Testament – 27 books

• There more than 40 writers – Men who were kings and peasants, doctors and fishermen, princes and herdsmen, poets and laborers, rich and poor, educated and illiterate…

• Written over a period of 1600 years…

• It has 2930 characters in 1,551 places…

• Every imaginable literary form (poetry, prose, etc.)…

Even with so many different writers, subjects, etc., all parts of the Bible agree with one another. Though the writers were divided by class, period, country, and disposition, there is wonderful harmony in all they wrote.

There is no contradiction, no disagreement. Where did such wonderful unity come from? From God! They all wrote by divine inspiration.

In short, they were God’s agents, proclaiming His message to humanity.


Inspiration

God is the Author
2 Tim. 3:15-17
All scripture is Inspired – “God Breathed”
Scripture is sufficient in itself

Men recorded God’s words not their own.
1 Peter 1:10-12
2 Peter 1:19-21

God’s Word never fails, nor should it be added to.
Is. 40:6-8
Prov. 30:5-6

The Bible is the Source of Truth.
Ps. 19:7-9 – perfect, sure, right, pure, true, righteous

Examples:
David – 2 Samuel 23:1-2
Jeremiah- Jer. 30:1-2

How often you read in the Bible:
“Thus saith the LORD . . . ”
“The word of the LORD came unto me saying . . . ”


Importance of Study

• Makes us wise unto salvation.
2 Tim. 3:15-17
• Gives us Hope.
Romans 15:4
• Power of God unto Salvation.
Romans 1:16-17
• Neglect brings death.
Prov. 13:13
• Prepares us to give an answer and contend for the faith.
1 Pet. 3:15
Jude 3-4
• Provides direction for daily living.
Psalm 119:105
Joshua 1:8


The Bible Interprets Itself

When all else fails…
How many times have you heard of a person who spent a frustrating evening assembling his child’s bike only to find out after the fact that he has assembled the handlebars backwards! Of course, we all know the modern proverb “when all else fails, read the instructions.”
This is just as true when reading the Bible.
We need to learn from our life’s experiences and recognize that the key to an easier (not easy) understanding of the Bible is found within its own pages. Our tendency is to not look far enough for answers within the book when we encounter something we do not understand.
A basic principle to reading the Bible more effectively lies in this simple fact:
Your questions about what the Bible teaches are answered in the Bible.
Read the instructions first,’ is the obvious solution to preventing frustration with most of life’s projects, but isn’t it strange how often with human nature, the obvious solution is often our last resort?