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Studying the Bible

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  • Studying the Bible

    Looks like a pretty good article on the main page about the importance of Bible study. I've learned a lot in my own experience about the discipline of studying the Bible and thought it might be a good time to share.

    In my course of Bible studies, I have learned several very important factors when studying the Bible.

    To me, there are a lot of similarities in how people study and research the Bible and how we handle statistical research. Using what I know from researching data and information was very helpful in my Bible studies.

    The most important thing is- why are you looking? To borrow an old adage from the world of statistics, people use the Bible as a drunk uses a light post- not for illumination, but support. Meaning, we can use the Bible as the light post, to shed light on the darkness and shady areas around us and give us a more complete view. Or, we can use it as something to try to prop up something that can't stand on it's own. Too often, people (Christian or not) look to the Bible to 'prove their point' or to confirm their own preconceptions (A.K.A. confirmation bias). This is one of the biggest misuses of the Bible, especially by Christians.

    The following are what I believe to be primary reasons we should be studying our Bibles

    To strengthen our own walk with Christ- working out our own salvation with fear and trembling [Phi 2:12]
    To grow our spiritual maturity and knowledge of the Gospel that we may develop from spiritual milk to solid food, growing others in the faith and knowledge of Christ [Heb. 5:12-14]
    To understand the Bible is God-breathed, useful for wisdom, teaching, and instruction in righteousness, so that the people of God are equipped for good work [2 Tim 3:16]
    To effectively be strong in the Lord, To stand against the philosophies, powers, and wickedness of the present times (Eph. 6 9-19 AMP)

    The first thing we should be doing this for is to work out our own salvation. The Amplified Bible explains "with fear and trembling" to mean "self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ". What this means is the main reason we should be studying the Bible is not to prove a doctrine right or wrong, nor to prop up our opinion or preference, but to learn how to live our lives in a way that gives credibility to Christ. That's not to say topical studies and the like are 'bad', but it's the motive that matters.

    Probably one of the best things that I did as a 'bible study' was actually study the origins of the Bible. It's truly a fascinating story, especially the New Testament. For the most part, the OT was fairly stable, albeit the books are ordered a little differently. It seems there is almost a folklore out there that the New Testament kind of fell from the sky or came about in some dramatic way like God writing it on stone like the 10 commandments and giving it to Paul. But generating what we call the NT was a gradual process spanning hundreds of years.

    The other really fascinating thing I learned about is the "time between the testaments", that 400 years or so before Matthew. Understanding that era has really opened up the way I study the Bible. Things make so much more sense from a cultural and political standpoint after understanding what went on those 400 years. A couple key events

    * Greece conquers region- attempts to assimilate Greek and Jewish cultures, commissions the Septuagint
    * Birth of 3 main Jewish subcultures- Sadducees (liberal Jews adapting to Grecian culture), Pharisees, ('to separate'- Hebrews who resisted Greek influence) and Essenes (Not much written about these, but compiled the Dead Sea Scrolls)
    * Maccabean revolt- removed Greek pseudo-priests cleansed temple and rededicated on December 25
    * Rome captures Jerusalem 63 BCE

    This time frame really sets the stage for the Gospels and why people thought what they did.

    So what are some of your "ah-ha" moments from your Bible studies?
    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

  • #2
    I didn't see a bible study article on the main page? Is it the snopes article?