Studying the Bible
Studying the Bible is not what most men do. But what they don’t realize is what a treasure they have at their fingertips. I’ve heard it said that “everything that’s needed in the Bible is in the Bible”. I’ve also heard it said that the best commentary of the Bible is the Bible.
So how can we trust the Bible when we’re told there are contradictions, needless violence, words falsely attributed to Jesus, and other books that were written that are not in the Bible? Trust the men who have done research into ancient manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and who have found no variations that affect the doctrine being preached today. Also trust what the Bible claims for itself.
(2 Peter 1:20-21 WEB) 20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke [as they were] moved by the Holy Spirit.
THe Bible is complete and given to us by God the Spirit. Not only does it give us the truths God wants us to know; it is also an essential tool for learning how to become a Godly man.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 WEB) 16All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
Where to Start
There are many ways to start. The simplest way is to start at the beginning and read it from cover to cover. My wife has done this more than thirty times. She also likes Study Bibles in different versions with commentary at the sides of each page.
There are 66 books of the Bible with 40 different authors all inspired by the same Holy Spirit. For a novice I would recommend the following order:
When I study the Bible
I use the same method for each verse of the Bible. First read the scriptures before and after the verse, sufficient to fully understand the verse. And second to reference other scriptures in the Bible that speak to the same topic. I use a Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. It has commentary on each Book of the Bible, a Topical Cross-Reference, and a Concordance and Maps. I recommend these tools for anyone.
There are also Bibles based on topics of interest. I have the Archeological Bible and the American Patriot Bible. I have troubles using them, however, because I read too much of the subject commentary. My Thompson Bible also has many notes I’ve written in it. So I also have an NASB Bible with nothing in it but the scriptures. I use this to read God’s word afresh.
The last tool I use, especially for writing my blog posts is the Blue Letter Bible interactively at https://www.blueletterbible.org/ It is loaded with every tool that any Bible would have.
My greatest joy is sitting in my living room (no TV) in my easy chair next to my wife’s easy chair and sharing scripture and commentary with each other. Common faith I believe is the easiest way to maintain a happy marriage and a sure faith.
I use WEB as the most recent version still in the public domain. I’ve also used the NASB (New American Standard Bible), NKJV (New King James Bible), NIV (New International Version – older versions more accurate), and NLT (New Living Translation – not to be confused with the New Living Bible paraphrase). I believe the NASB is the most accurate. But that is a matter of debate.
The Webster Bible (WEB) was translated by Noah Webster in 1833 in order to bring the language of the bible up to date. This version of the Bible is in the public domain.
Enjoy – wayocross