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Simple Tips for Understanding the Bible

| By Leroy Ramaphoko
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1 Introduction ...........................2 1 Be willing to study ....................4 2 Ask for divine guidance ..............4 3 Compare Scripture with Scripture ...5 4 Dont add or subtract ................6 5 Be willing to lay aside preconceived ideas .....................................7 6 Be willing to obey .....................8 7 Believe the word of God .............9

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We are living in a day and age where theres much access to Gods word. Its always remarkable to know that the Bible is the most selling book in the entire world, and has been for a long time. Today one can have Bible in a cell phone, computer, iPad, etc. Although this is the case, there is so much Bible illiteracy. Gods word is the light [Psalm 119:105] in this darkest world, the truth [John 17:17] in this deceptive world. There are so many reasons why many of us fail to spend enough time in prayer and studying Gods word. One of those reasons might be the fact that we might have never learnt to study Gods word on our own, perhaps we just seem to have hard time understanding it. In this study, we will be looking at some of the ways which will enable us to understand the Bible.

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Be willing to study

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be shamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. If anyone wills to do His [Gods] will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. John 7:17, NKJV. We are to invest enough time searching the Scriptures on our own; this will surely enable you to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. 2 Peter 3:15. It is essential that we are able to defend that which we profess to believe, and remember that we want to be like Jesus, and support all that we say with the Scripture [See Matthew 4:1-11].

Ask for divine guidance

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5.
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We know that the Bible is a spiritual book, so we are to always ask God to give us the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we will correctly understand it. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of man knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God...the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11,10. Read John 14:26. Just as you need to pray before you partake of the food, also remember to pray before you receive the spiritual food. Read Jeremiah 15:16.

Compare Scripture with Scripture

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. Isaiah 28:10. Studying Gods word is more like joining the puzzle pieces together. Just as you cant make a conclusion from one piece about what the entire picture might be, so should you not establish a
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certain belief or doctrine from one verse [See Deuteronomy 19:15]. Put together related verses, as you keep joining these verses accordingly, so would the picture become clearer and clearer: for precept must be upon precept,...line upon a little, and there a little.

Dont add or subtract

Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5,6. We are to never add a meaning to Gods word. For example: In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. Then conclude, Therefore, the Father and the Holy Spirit created Jesus before they created the world. Notice this verse [John 1:1], does not mention anything about creation, and the Holy Spirit, so we are to avoid adding a meaning to the verse to make it say what it does not initially say. Remember that every word of
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God is pure and for this reason, we are to not add to it, neither should we subtract from it.

Be willing to lay aside preconceived ideas

Cease my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. Proverbs 19:27. If we come across something in Scripture that does not harmonize with what we have always believed or been taught, then the counsel that we get from Gods word is to stop listening to or believing that particular thing. Learning is often easier than unlearning, but because the Bible tells us to stop believing that which clashes with Scripture, then we must do so. To be willing to give up an idea which we have long held, even though we now see it is contrary to Scripture can be difficult. The Bible Guide, page 20.

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Be willing to obey

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22. Notice that from this passage, those who dont put what they learn into practice are said to be deceiving themselves. Many have made a fatal mistake of equating knowledge to a strong connection with God. The other extreme recognizes that a knowledgeable person might choose to not walk in accordance to the truth revealed unto him, and therefore this extreme also makes a fatal mistake of thinking that knowledge is not that important. We are to obey the truths that God has revealed unto us, as we do so, more light will be revealed. One author once wrote: Set your heart to obey what you do know of the word of God. His power, His very life, dwells in His word. As you receive the word in faith, it will give you power to obey. As you give heed to the light you have, greater light will come. Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 150.
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Believe the word of God

The Old Testament opens with a story where mankind is tempted by the Enemy of souls [Genesis 3], so does the New Testament [Matthew 4]. In both the stories, the individuals are tempted about the appetite [Genesis 3:2-5; Matthew 4:3]; both use the same weapon [the word of God] to defend themselves [Genesis 3:3; Matthew 4:4,7,10]. One becomes victorious, while the other gets defeated. Why is this the case? Eve was defeated by the Enemy because she knew the word of God, but she didnt believe in it, rather she believed the words of the Enemy [See Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:4]. Had Eve refrained from entering into an argument with the tempter, she would have been safe; but she ventured to parley with him, and fell a victim to his wiles. It is thus that many are still overcome. They doubt and argue concerning the requirements of God, and instead of obeying the divine commands, they accept human theories, which but disguise the devices of Satan. Great
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Controversy, page 531-532. It is important that we put our faith in Gods word; this will enable us to resist the temptations. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11. Read 1 John 2:14.

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