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1. Introduction

A. Two Essential Truths

When it comes to Studying the Bible, there are two essential truths to understand:

The first truth we learn is weighed more heavily than all other teachings:
What we already believe is weighted more heavily than all other teachings.

Therefore, the danger is:

  • That if we have been taught incorrectly or
  • some incorrect teachings we hold dearly to,

it can then be not easy to accept new truths.

So, for example, the teaching that women must not lead men will result in a struggle to allow women to teach unless it is to other women. This study will examine the first example of women’s leadership.

Another incorrect education that some believe is that there will only be a remnant through the great tribulation. The second example is covered by the series on eschatology summarised in Victorious Eschatology.

B. Allowing God to Wash Us

It can be scary to momentarily put aside the teachings we have received and allow God to wash us with the word of God. Rethinking everything I have previously taught is precisely what I have done, and I invite you to do the same as we study the scriptures using the guidelines listed below. We will find our effectiveness in the power of God grow as we do this, then follow through with learning the teachings on this website with the same mindset.

2. Studying the Bible as the Inspired Word of God

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16
A. An Extension of His Will

The Greek word for inspiration in this scripture is theopneustos. God-breathed is the literal translation.
The Greek translation for the root word pneo is – wind, breath, a spirit, the Spirit.
So we conclude that, in a symbolic sense, the word Paul uses is a model of the Bible itself: an extension of God’s will formed out of His Spirit in written form.

The English Translation of the Bible says this-

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16
B. God’s Word is Breath to Us

Therefore, it brings us life and also makes us more like Christ. As we read the scriptures, we breathe in the word of God.

The Passion translation of the Bible says this-

Every scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It empowers us by its instruction and correction, giving us the strength to take the right direction and lead us deeper into the path of godliness.

2 Timothy 3:16 The Passion Translation

The Word of God enters us in the same way that the Spirit breathed life into Adam and Eve.

C. ALL scripture

• We need to consider both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
• Be very careful not to take one scripture without taking the whole scripture. An example of this is about men not having long hair because that is what the Bible says:

Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?

1 Corinthians 11:14

But making this an absolute is problematic because we see that God told Samson and those who took the Nazarite vow never to cut their hair!

For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

Judges 13:5

3. Study the Bible, Focusing on the Original Intention of God.

God’s original intention needs to be the pivotal point by which we read all scriptures.

A. Focus on The Vision of God

If we focus on God’s vision and see that everything He does is to fulfil that vision, then we major in what He majors in.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:4-5

God’s original intention and focus were to have sons and daughters, not just to “save sinners”.

B. What Fruit we Produce Depends on What we Focus on

For example, if our focus is a distant God angry at sinners, our fruit in those we lead will be fearful of the distant God. But, if our focus is on making sons and daughters of God rather than “saving sinners”, then our equipping of the saints will train them to rule and reign as confident sons and daughters.

They will then develop into holy and blameless sons and daughters through the love of the Father, the sanctifying of the Word (Jesus), and the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, what we focus on is what we become. If we focus on overcoming sin, we will often sin more because we become self-righteous, but we will overcome evil if we commit it to the Lord and walk in the Spirit.

4. Studying the Bible Through the Lens of the Goodness of God

The character of God toward His children needs to be the pivotal point for reading the scriptures. This website has a series on the Nature of God.

A. God is Always Good To His Children

Focusing on the goodness of God is far more effective than focusing on an angry God with “Jesus, as the asbestos suit for humanity against the fire of an angry God.”

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 11:13

B. God is Always Looking

He looks towards humanity as their creator, for Him to become their Father.

If we preach according to God’s original intention to have sons and daughters rather than “Jesus came to save sinners,” we will be much more effective in our evangelism.

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:4-5

5. Studying the Bible Through the New Covenant

We must study all scripture in the context of the active covenant. In other words, if we are looking at the Old Testament, then we must look at it under the relevant covenant. If it is prophetic, we need to look at the covenant it supports. For example, if we look at the Mosaic law’s curses, we cannot apply them today. We cannot put witches to death under the New Covenant.

A. The Mosaic Covenant was Nailed to the cross.

We need to read the Old Testament in the context of New Testament revelation.

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:14

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:13

Therefore, instead of focusing on the blessings and curses of the Old Covenant found in Deuteronomy 27 and 28, we need to realize these are no longer active because we now live according to the blessings found in the beatitudes that have replaced them.

The curses are no longer active because Jesus became the curse for us.

B. The New Covenant is Now the Active Covenant

Therefore, all studies must be through this lens:

  • Jew and Gentile are now one.
  • Our minds and hearts will know the correct thing to do and think.
  • Believers will know the Lord individually.
  • He will teach believers personally.
  • We are made righteous through belief in Jesus.
  • Sins are no more.
  • Believers are now the people of God (sons and daughters).
  • We rule and reign as kings.

This way, when we declare the word of God over sickness, it must bring life if that word is based around the New Covenant. If the words are of the New Covenant, then they will agree with the words of Jesus. This is one reason we use “in the name of Jesus”.

6. Studying the Bible, We Do Not Make Absolutes Relative.

An example of an Absolute:

It would be that homosexual marriage is not marriage in the sight of God.

An example of making them relative would be saying marriage between people of the same sex is acceptable because the ban on homosexual marriages doesn’t apply now, only back in the time of the first disciples.

This teaching is incorrect because all unrepentant sexual immorality will result in eternal separation from God.

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8

We know that homosexuality is not acceptable because:

  • There is no scripture that contradicts this.
  • It goes against the concept of matrimony between man and wife – being the first covenant God made.

Genesis 2:24
Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and join his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

7. Studying the Bible, We Do Not Make Relative Cultural Truths an Absolute.

Making a relative scriptural reference into an absolute biblical principle is a sure way to introduce legalism.

A. An example of Relative Scriptural Reference:

An example of wrong teaching—making a cultural truth an absolute—is that women cannot teach men. In his epistle to Timothy, Paul makes a cultural statement relevant to the churches at the time of writing.

And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

1 Timothy 2:12

The reason why Paul taught this was because of the culture of the Ephesian church.

If it was an absolute, then we have the following problems:

  • Mary had Authority over Jesus.

Firstly, Mary taught the Son of God—Jesus! She even did this when Jesus started His ministry, and she was correct in her foresight!

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

John 2:4-5
  • The Bible is Full of Women Teaching Men.

There are over 800 verses in the Bible where teaching is by a woman. Are we going to say that men cannot teach those 800 verses to men?

  • Women Apostle.

Another example is Junia, a woman apostle mentioned in the Bible.

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Romans 16:7

She was such an excellent apostle that she was considered outstanding amongst the apostles.

8. Study the Bible Remembering Context

Although we must keep making scripture relevant to us today, we risk forgetting who it was written to by doing this.

A. Jewish Religion

The early church was predominantly a Jewish audience for which the apostles wrote the letters (now called epistles). Their lens was Judaism in Roman culture. Although the Romans had defeated the Greeks, Greek culture heavily influenced the Romans.

B. Who was it Written to

Although entirely relevant today, the epistles were written to the church under persecution. It is straightforward for us to develop a negative attitude until we realize that they had a much harder time than we do now.

C. When it was Written

The apostles penned the New Testament during the most significant time of suffering for the Jewish people. Things were about to worsen for both Jewish and Gentile believers about to go through the promised Great Tribulation. Therefore, we need to read about suffering in the context of the coming Great Tribulation. To be faithful to God and His Word, we must not catastrophize the situations (for example, the Russia-Ukraine war) because Jesus was clear that the Great Tribulation was the day of vengeance that would finish in 70 or 130 CE, depending on how you interpret the word generation.

9. We Need to Receive the Word of Life When Studying the Bible

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—

1 John 1:1
  • Hear – receive teaching from others.
  • Seen – daily reading. It is wise to read through the Bible once every year.
  • Looked upon – study the Word of God diligently
  • Hands have handled – meditate upon.

10. Meditation on the Word of God

To meditate on the word of God means “to chew the cud”, like a cow chews on grass, swallows it to digest it for a while, then regurgitates it up to chew some more. The cow then swallows it again until it is properly ready to receive all the nutrition. We need to do the same with the word of God.

A. Pulling Down Strongholds

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:5

I hear the non-biblical phrase, “God is in control”, used in many Christian circles. Because this statement is not valid, as we grow in maturity, it becomes an opposing stronghold:

B. Power of the Tongue

Language develops or diminishes our faith. When we verbally declare a statement, we hear it with our ears, and beliefs grow in our minds. If it is negative, Jesus calls it a defilement:

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

Matthew 15:11

C. Neural Pathways Produce Strongholds

These thoughts in our brains are medically called neural pathways. If we allow them to, these neural pathways become stronger until they become a highway in our minds that everything else gets filtered through. After a while, a “city” develops on that highway, blocking anything disagreeing with the firmly held belief. Such a city is similar to a neuron body, as seen below, where 4000 nerve fibres (pathways) connect with this one neuron body:

4000 fibres join this one-neuron body

God calls this city of thought a stronghold (A firmly held faith statement, true or untrue, is probably made of millions of such neuron bodies because the human brain has 88 billion neurons). A stronghold can either be a good stronghold that builds faith or a mistruth that the enemy uses to rob us of confidence and authority.

D. New Neural Pathways

God has provided meditation that builds new neural pathways based on truth and faith, which come from God’s word and Spirit.

 We see God explaining this to Joshua:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8

Studying the Bible through reading, pondering, and reflecting will make you successful in God’s work.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten D.Miss. 2024

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