Fundamentals of Bible Study: Introduction
I know I have been away from the blog for some time and this has probably been hindering it’s success and ability to reach people, thus handicapping my ability to help those in need of answers and information I may be capable of providing. I apologize for this and have a new goal to post as many topics as I can within a reasonable time frame.
Nevertheless, let’s get to the topic at hand….Fundamentals of Bible Study, an introduction into how to study the Bible. Throughout my thus far very short lifespan, I have picked up on some key basics that will help anybody study the Bible properly. If you were around in the old days of Resist Studios, you might remember I started a similar topic which was titled, Understanding the Bible, therefore consider this a revision. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then please move along to the next paragraph. 😉
Before we start I need to produce a little back story. Naturally I’m an artist at heart, I draw, write, dream of animations, and for the better part of my working career I have been employed as a Graphic Designer. For the other part of my career I have been in and out of Information Technology, thus my academic journey began in those two fields, but ended at Liberty University with a degree in Religion and Philosophy. I don’t say that with the intention of exacting authority of any kind or to imply I am some how more or less qualified than anyone reading this blog or any person with several letters behind their name in ministry and or teaching. No, I brought it up because it is a fact there are things you learn in an academic setting that the average believer does not learn in their weekly church visits. This is not meant to be an offense to anyone or an “I’m better than you statement” but an observation during my time as a believer.
There are a couple of basics you learn, and these basics are as follows:
- Realizing there is a cultural divide between you and the writers of the Bible.
- Allowing the Bible to speak from the life of an ancient writer, ancient Israelite, ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, ancient prophet versus placing your modern prejudices and understanding on the text.
- Realizing you are not the end all be all of knowledge, especially when it comes to the study of ancient documents. There is a method to this.
- Also if you are a believer, allowing God to be God, again allowing the writers to be the writers of their time versus your time. If you are not a believer, then simply a stronger emphasis on the latter, allow the text to be from the time of the text, understand that the methods used to study ancient texts are no different than the methods used to study the Bible. Do not put inconsistent and impossible expectations on scripture simply because it is something you feel passionate against.
- Do not “cherry pick” verses to justify your own position on a matter in scripture.
- Understand a sentence or verse is part of a paragraph which is part of a book or letter which is, again, from a different culture, time, and in most parts situation.
- Understanding the Bible, although for believers is authoritative, it is still a form of literature and thus has figures of speech, writing styles, etc.
- I hate to sound like a broken record, but again this involves understanding the time frame of the text. Situations, outside sources that may give credibility to a particular event, help understand another better, etc.
These four points are general overall topics we will discuss in this series as we dive into the Fundamentals of Bible Study. This overview should serve to wet your appetite and prepare you for what’s to come.