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Daily Light Reading Plan – New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs
Courtesy of HEARTLIGHT Internet Magazine www.heartlight.org.
How do I Study the Bible?
The Bible is absolutely necessary for spiritual growth. In determining scriptural conduct for the Church, we use hermeneutics, or scriptural interpretation, as our guide. If something was taught by Christ, practiced in Acts, and taught in the epistles, then it can be properly practiced by the Church. God promises great blessings to those who read and obey His word including: Successful living (Joshua 1:8); healing and deliverance (Psalm 107:20); direction and guidance (Psalm 119:105); victory over sin (Psalm 119:11); abundant peace (Psalm 119:165); overflowing joy (Jeremiah 15:16); abundant life (John 10:10); freedom from bondage (John 8:31, 32); growth in faith (Romans 10:17); and preparation to serve (2 Timothy 3:17). These blessings are given so that we can grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
The Bible is made up of 66 books written over 1,500 years in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek inspired by the Holy Spirit through 35 different authors all from various backgrounds. The Bible is divided into two parts called Testaments or Covenants. The Old Testament (39 books) covers history from the creation of the world to 400 years before the birth of Jesus. The New Testament (27 books) covers history from Christ’s birth through the Apostolic Age (AD 96) and predicts future events into eternity with Christ at His Second Coming.
It was the custom of the Hebrew people to keep written records of God’s words and works (Exodus 40:26). The Old Testament was canonized or “sanctioned by Church authority” completely before the time of Christ.
For 20 years after Christ’s ascension the gospel was preserved by oral testimony. The early church accepted the 39 Old Testament books and later added the apostolic writings. The 27 New Testament books were canonized around AD 400. The foundation of the church rests on the teachings of the prophets, Christ Jesus, and the Apostles (Ephesians 2:19, 20).
John Wycliffe translated the first English Bible in 1384, followed by the works of William Tyndale (1484-1536) and a group of scholars commissioned by King James (1604). The credibility of the Old Testament rests on Jesus’ recognition and endorsement of it as inspired.
Christians regard the Bible as the only inspired, error free, and authoritative revelation from God in written form (2 Peter 1:20, 21).
We need to read, study and apply the Bible properly. There are five basic guidelines you should remember as you study God’s Word:
- Study the original meaning of the individual words of a passage noted in the original language. A Bible dictionary or commentary helps.
- Observe the grammatical structure.
- Consider the wide passage from which the text is drawn.
- Answer important questions about a biblical book such as, “Who wrote it?” and “When was it written?” and “Why was it written?” and “To whom was it written?” and “What was their situation and the timing?”
- Compare other Scriptures that relate to a specific passage being considered. Always, Scripture must interpret Scripture.
In time, you might find it helpful to have:
- A Bible Concordance;
- A Bible Dictionary;
- A Bible Atlas;
- Bible Commentaries.
There are three principles we should always adhere to when studying the Bible:
- Read the word reverently.
- Interpret the Word accurately.
- Obey the Word joyfully.