As a follow-up post to my previous post where I gave a basic Bible Study glossary, I’m tossing up my general helps/guidelines for basic Bible study that I use with the College and Career bible study that I lead. Seeing that most good hermeneutics books are, well, several hundred page works, please understand that this is a bare essentials guide. I call it The Cleanly Dozen because these aren’t hard rules, but more helpful guidelines to help people clean up their bible study and arrive at a greater measure of clarity when they attempt to study the scriptures for themselves. Maybe this will be informative to those who have contacted me with questions about this stuff, and may help you in your own efforts at unpacking the scriptures.
1. The ultimate goal of Bible study is knowing God & being like Christ; both are summed up in one word – “obedience”. The proximate goal of Bible study isn’t to find an obscure fact or answer a question that’s always bothered you; at best, those things are side-benefits. The proximate goal of Bible study is to allow the scriptures to inform you where you need to change (thinking, action, etc.) and formulate a plan of action to obey. All people respond to scripture in one of two ways: change or sin.
2. The meaning of the scripture is unveiled by the Spirit of God in harmony with the words he used in the writing of the scripture.
a. You cannot understand the Bible with just prayer or study alone; you need both.
b. The idea of any passage having a meaning in contradiction to, or utterly removed from, the grammatical and contextual meaning of its actual words is a hallmark of false religion. Continue reading