Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Growing in GOD'S WORD (Part 2)

Understand How We Got the Bible 
The Bible is inspired of God. Second Timothy 3:16 says: “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

The Bible was written over a period of some 1600 years by over 35 different writers. These writers were directed by God to write things which they themselves sometimes did not fully understand. Their different writing styles are evident, and yet they wrote down God’s thoughts, not their own. In a marvelous way, He inspired and moved them by His Holy Spirit to reveal His Word to mankind. As the apostle Peter puts it, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). 

The Old Testament of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. Since very few people read these languages today, God has moved faithful men down through the centuries to translate the Bible into their native languages. Today, there are versions and translations of the Bible in nearly every language. In some languages, such as English, there are many different versions. Although there are a few spurious translations, most of the translations and versions differ only in minor details, not important points.2 This demonstrates God’s great purpose that all men should have access to His life-giving Word in a language they can understand. 

Recognize the Purpose of the Bible 
Recognize that the main purpose of all Scripture is to reveal the ways of God. With this in mind, keep the unity of the whole Bible before you even as you study its individual books. Recognize the place and necessity for every part of the Bible. 

As you study the Bible, take note of ordinary rules of grammar, sentence structure, and literary form. The Bible uses many different literary forms and devices: narrative, history, poetry, allegory, symbolism, proverbs, prophecies and doctrinal discourses, to name just a few. For example, the book of Proverbs uses a very different literary form than the letters of Paul. 

The chapter and verse divisions, common in most Bibles, are not part of the inspired text.3 They were inserted later by editors to break up the text into simpler divisions. They are usually helpful in studying the Bible, but not always. 

The Bible has been given in the context of actual historical people, places, and events. Therefore, some knowledge of history is valuable in studying the Bible. Whenever the Bible touches on information contained in reliable sources of information, it is always confirmed to be true and accurate. 

Since the Bible reveals spiritual truth, otherwise unknown, it may appear unfathomable or even confusing to the human mind. That is why you must first be “born again” to understand the Bible. It is only then that the Holy Spirit indwells you, giving you both the desire to know and the ability to understand the Bible. As soon as you have been born again, you will want to begin studying it in careful dependence upon the teaching of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 2:20,27). 

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