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Does the Bible Interpret Itself? | How to Study the Bible

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Studying the Bible can seem like an overwhelming task if you haven’t spent much time in studying. However, today we’re going to look at how to study the Bible and answer the question does the Bible interpret itself? I think you’ll find this really interesting!

Does the Bible Interpret Itself? Learn how to understand the Bible @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Is it possible for us to understand the Bible and interpret it’s teachings? I believe it is. In fact, I believe that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth if we diligently and faithfully search the Scriptures.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11. NIV

Does the Bible Interpret Itself?

It can be dangerous to blindly follow the interpretation of Scripture by men if we have not studied the Word for ourselves to check that what they teach is true. Like the Bereans, we need to search the Scriptures for ourselves with a heart open and yielding to the Spirit.

Because spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:13-14.

The Bible tells us that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Timothy 3:16. And the Scriptures were written by holy men who were moved by the Holy Spirit.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21.

God has given us the Scriptures not to confuse us or leave us wondering. Some parts of God’s Word are easier to understand than others, however this does not mean we cannot understand! Remember, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. We have to “seek first the kingdom of God.” Matthew 6:33.

The Scriptures are a gift of God, written for our learning. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

The Bible truths are as applicable today as they were two thousand years ago. “… the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

The Bible guides us so that we can walk in the light instead of stumbling in the darkness of sin and death. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

It’s true that some parts of the Bible – some doctrines are easier to understand than others.

Hebrews 5:12 says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

In other words, when we are new Christians, we are like babies. We eat up the easy stuff – the milk. But as we mature and grow in our faith, we need to delve deeper into Scripture, searching for the “meat” of God’s Word.

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15, 16

Some parts of Scripture may be more difficult to understand, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. God wants us to read His Word. He wants to give us understanding. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” Matthew 24:15. {emphasis mine}

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3

When we study God’s Word and ask for His Spirit, He will teach us! “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

related: Bible Study Methods for the Proverbs 31 Woman

We need to bathe our study in prayer. If we search God’s word with a heart fully submitted to Him, He will bring us understanding. “Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:3-5 NIV.

How to Study the Bible

It’s fine to read from God’s Word daily passages. His Word is powerful and speaks to us anytime we read from it. But to gain a deep understanding of doctrine and to have a comprehensive knowledge of any Bible truth, we need to compare Scripture against Scripture with careful research and prayerful reflection. Which leads me back to my original question.

Does the Bible interpret itself? Yes.

How does the Bible interpret itself?

“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” Isaiah 28:10

How do we study the Bible and interpret its meaning?

First we begin by reading a passage in context. This means that we look at not only the verse in question but the preceding paragraph and the paragraph that follows.

Reading the Bible straight through is wonderful. Reading a passage here or there is fine too. But to really understand doctrine, we need to study the Bible topically.

Isaiah 28: 9, 10 says, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…”

It’s important that we do not simply take a single verse and assume we understand what it means even if the verse on it’s own seems to clearly present a doctrine. That’s how men become deceived. Even Satan uses Scripture to his advantage.

Satan tempted Jesus and twisted words of Scripture: “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Luke 4:9-11.

We need to look at all the verses in the Bible about a topic/ subject and compare them to draw sound conclusions. Precept upon precept, line up line. This is so important!

Do you know why you believe what you believe?

Do you know what you believe? Do you know WHY you believe what you believe? Could you present a Bible study off the top of your head if someone asked you to show them what you believe and why you believe it?

Don’t follow along blindly. Pick up the Word of God and study it for yourself. Do you know why you believe what you believe? Could you explain your beliefs if someone asked? Let me know in the comments below!

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8 Comments

  1. Hey, I'm glad I found you today. I share your thoughts completely - researching the context of the current chapter, book and the entire Bible for the topic is what can give us the real picture. I might need your help for something important, closely related to the subject.
    1. Hi John, thanks for sharing your thoughts! So many Christians blindly follow without searching the Scriptures for themselves. We need to be diligent! What might you need help with? Questions are welcomed!
  2. You have a beautiful way of presenting things. I feel built up and not overwhelmed. Sometimes reading blogs on spiritual topics can leave me feeling discouraged or just tired with an overwhelming number of quotes that seem just too much to process or verify. You hit the sweet spot! Thank you!
  3. When interpreting a passage in the Bible, you might need to look into these things: context (the underlying circumstances of the story), culture (the cultural context of the author), cross-references (what the passages or scriptures say about the same things, and conclusion (your preliminary understanding and statement on the meaning of a passage). Considering these clues can help you determine and pinpoint the main message of a Biblical passage.
  4. I found it interesting when you talked about how you must study the bible to understand it better. Recently, I started to become interested in reading more about religion. I want to know more about the bible and how to properly focus when reading it, so I'll be sure to read your advice. Thanks for the information on bible interpretation and its importance.

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