DISCIPLESHIP SERIES- BIBLICAL STUDY: Methods and Application

5:46 PM

  

The Key That Unlocks Understanding of Scriptures

My husband and I have been traveling across the country in a big move so I am just now getting some time and wifi to make another lesson God placed on my heart and mind while we were in the middle of traveling.

If you're new to Bible study as a Christian, you've been a Christian a very long time and been wanting to go deeper in your Biblical study, or if you're an unbeliever trying to understand Scripture this is for you.

The wonderful thing about God's Word is it can reach people in all stages because it's not just a book written by men. It is the only book on this earth that exists with active spiritual connection. To fully understand it though, one must have the Holy Spirit. 

Two categories of people can read its words and one can see it as divine and the other as a mystery that is hard to make sense of.

The one that sees it as divine will be the one prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit as a key unlocking the doors of understanding. The one who reads it with the mindset of the natural man or woman will find it lacking in vitality and comprehension. 

How do we know this? God's Word speaks of this in its own pages:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

We can go more into the Holy Spirit and the Trinity's attributes and roles later on, but the focus of this today is that simply reading God's Word will not yield as much benefit as committing ourselves and our lives to the study of it.

Methods and Application of Bible Study

Over the years I have attended several Bible studies some by books written by teachers and spiritual leaders and others through specific methods such as inductive study.

In Bible study there are several terms you may or may not have heard before but I want to keep this as foundational and simplistic as possible right now.

Two categories of study can fall under "Book Studies" and "Topical Studies".

Book Studies:

Book studies can include the studying of a book, chapters in the Bible, verse by verse, and a verse itself.  

Topical Studies:

These can include word studies, geographical (a particular place), biological (of a particular person), and certain subjects or topics.

Hermeneutics:

Such a big word, but crucial to Biblical study. 
Hermeneutics, "the study of interpretation of Biblical and literary texts" (you can fact check this on google ;) ) , is one of the most important methods to understanding how to "correctly handle the Word of Truth" (2 Tim 2:15). 

The laws of hermeneutics are:

  • Literal interpretation. The understanding of Scripture as literal unless otherwise stated such as in parables, figures of speech, or symbolism. This helps us to stay faithful to the meaning of the passages. Bible scholars and pastors use this to stay true to intended meanings. Sadly, not every pastor or teacher follows the law of hermeneutics which can cause divisions in the church or denominations. It can also form entire belief systems out of context and misinterpreted.
  • Interpreting passages historically, contextually, and grammatically. Historically can include background, culture, and the situation surrounding the passages. Contextually, we look at the verses before and after, the Bible's passages as a whole on that subject, the chapter itself, and anything else that aligns with the subject of that passage. Grammatically we look at the original language used. The Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). Understanding the grammatical rules of these languages can help clear up understanding of confusing passages or ones that are challenging to understand at first reading.
  •  Scripture interprets Scripture. Cross referencing scriptures with other scriptures can help us gain a broader view of what is happening, what a passage means, and it prevents the isolating of one scripture which an entire belief system can be formed around. 

Two other big words "exegesis" and "eisegesis" are possibly new words for you.

These words demonstrate opposite ways in how we approach the Scriptures.
Exegesis means "to lead out of". In practice, one would read Scriptures searching for their intended meaning based on the laws of hermeneutics and what they can conclude from following the text. 

The opposite is eisegesis which means "to lead into". One would insert their own ideas, emotions, feelings, and experiences into the text drawing conclusions of what they want the text to mean. 

APPLICATION:

When reading Scripture you want to ask:
  1. What is the Bible saying?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. How is this passage applicable to my life and how can I apply it to my society?

Often a mistake made in Biblical study when not done in the way intended with proper hermeneutics and exegesis, is to try and fit the Bible to a culture or society of today or even in the past. Unless it aligns and checks out with the law of hermeneutics and exegesis, the interpretation results can be skewed. 

As you can see, God's Word not handled well can lead to interpretations that lead to several denominations of division. The Bible's interpretations vary across denominations and many may be settled and comfortable with that, however as Christians or ones seeking truth in faith, we must be open to allowing the Holy Spirit to speak truth in our lives even when we don't like the answer or it doesn't make sense to us.

If the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is saying that something is one way while there seems to be conflict with our culture or society, we have to keep our foundations in check that God comes first before society and culture. Often the priority of society/culture and God's Word is flipped upside down to favor society and our emotions towards it. This can lead to lukewarm Christianity, beliefs, and a weak foundation of God's Word in our lives. 

In my next lesson, I will share with you some Biblical Tools out there that you can use and a brief run through on how to use one of my favorite tools for Biblical study. 

I hope this helped you learn something new or refreshed you on something you might already have known. 

If you're struggling with the concept of the authority of God's Word in one's life, check out my post:


God bless!



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Rebekah J Samuel

AUtistic. 🧠 Artist. 👩🏻‍🎨 Author. ✍🏼 Life-Coach. 👊🏼 Techy. 🤓

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