How to Study the Word of God
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Studying the word of God is one of the most rewarding things that a saved person can do. It is by studying God’s word that we learn about and communicate directly with him. God took the time to give us his word and he expects us to study the word of God diligently. Many think that studying the word of God is only for the preacher or bible teacher but every saved person should spend time in God’s word daily not just at church on Sunday.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 we see that we are to study the word of God. Our study is to have a purpose and that purpose is to show ourselves approved unto God. Therefore we see that to be approved of God one of the things that we are going to have to do is to study his word. In this verse we also see that we are to study so that we are not shammed, and the way we are to study is by rightly dividing the word of God. (For lesson on Rightly Dividing the Word of God see studies on Rightly Dividing the Word of God). There are many different teachings concerning the word of God today. The problem is that someone is either not being diligent in their study or they are not rightly dividing the word of God. These two things are why there are so many false doctrines concerning the word of God. Many simply take someone else’s word for it and never study it out for themselves or some simply refuse to accept the divisions that God has placed in his word and therefore have the teachings of the Bible applying in a time period that they do not belong or to people to whom they do not apply.
There are two key things that we must do when we study the word of God. The first things is we must Read, and Meditate on the word of God (1 Timothy 4:11-16). You will never learn the word of God or what it means unless you spend time familiarizing yourself with it. Every day you should take time to simply read the word of God you should have a set time that you just read and familiarize yourself with God’s word. After you have read God’s word you will be able to meditate or think about and ponder what does this verse mean or does this verse go with another verse that I read yesterday or even last week. When this takes place you will begin to really learn the word of God.
Next you have to believe the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Note that in this verse it says the word of God worketh effectively in those that believe. If you do not believe that the word of God is the word of God and has no errors in it, then you are going to have a hard time understanding it, let alone letting it work within you to become what God would have you to be. This is why so many scholars have messed up by trying to correct the word of God.
With these two things being said there are still some guidelines that we must use when studying God’s word. We will list these below.
Guidelines for studying the word of God :
1) Remember that God through the Holy Spirit authored his word
(1 Timothy 3:16 ; 2 Peter 1:21)
- God wrote the Bible and not man. This is important because the author is the only one that can correctly interpret his work.
- The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of the Bible and he does this by comparing spiritual things with spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:13).
- This means you will have to put scripture with scripture to find out what a verse means. Remember the word of God will never contradict itself, man may contradict it but the word of God will not contradict itself.
2) Never add to, subtract from, or take away from the word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2 ;
Proverbs 30:5-6 ; Revelation 22:18-19)
In the above verse we have three plain warning against messy with God’s word. Note that there is one towards the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end.
- If you look closely at what Eve tells Satan in a King James Bible you will see that before she sinned she did all three. She left out the word freely, she added neither shall ye touch it, and then changed surely die to lest ye die (Genesis 2:17 with Genesis 3:2-3).
- Note also that in Genesis 3:1 Satan was the first person to question the word of God “yea hath God said”. Beware of any man, woman, preacher, or teacher that starts changing or questioning the word of God.
3) Use the Bible to define the Bible not scholarship.
What we mean here is never go to man or worldly stuff when the word of God has defined itself.
- For example was it a whale or a fish that swallowed Jonah. In the book of Jonah the word is a great fish or a fish (Jonah 1:17 and 2:10). But if you go to Matthew 12:40 you will see that Jesus plainly says that it was a whale.
- Another example would be what does the word “quickened” found in Ephesians 2:1 mean. If you look in Numbers 16:30-33 you will see the definition. Note in verse 30 they went down quick into the pit, in verse 33 they went down alive into the pit. So in Ephesians it means to be made alive, it is talking about being spiritually born again.
4) Never take a verse out of its context.
This is extremely important because the context many times define what the verse means or is talking about.
- Think about it if you happen to walk by and hear someone say something and all you do is take that one line that you heard you could make all kind of assumptions about what they were talking about. But the truth is without hearing the entire conversation you really do not understand the statement they said.
- The word of God is the same way and many teach false doctrines by taking a verse of scripture out of its context.
- A good example of this is found in 1 Timothy 3:15-16. Many scholars will say that only the original copies of the Bible are inspired. The scriptures in 1 Timothy 3:16 would include the scriptures that Timothy learned when he was little in 1 Timothy 3:15 and Timothy did not have any originals from the Old Testament times. Therefore if you keep verse 16 in its context you will see that more than just the originals were inspired.
- This is a good place to mention that you must always ask you is speaking and to whom are they speaking. Not everything in the word of God is written to a church age saint for doctrine.
5) Never interpret a complete statement in light of an incomplete statement.
- For instance in Mark 10:11 Jesus says that if a man puts away his wife and marries another then he commits adultery. Therefore if we only look at this scripture then it would seem there are no grounds for remarriage after divorce. But In Matthew 19:9 Jesus says that if a man puts away his wife and marries another except in the case of fornication then he commits adultery. (There is also the case of desertion found in 1 Corinthians 7)
- In this we see that we must look at Mark 10:11 in light of Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7).
6) Always take the word of God to be literal unless the context shows you that it cannot be taken literal.
- For instance in Matthew 3:11 the Baptism of Fire is literal not figurative because the context from verse 12 shows you that the baptism of fire is connected with unquenchable fire which is hell.
- In John 6:53-58,63 we see that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is not literal but figurative. Note that Jesus says in verse 57 that he lives by the Father, he is not eating the flesh of God and drinking the blood of God. Note also in verse 63 that Jesus says the flesh profiteth nothing the words that he spoke are spirit and they are life. The context plainly shows us here whether it is literal or figurative.
7) Always remember that the verse in the word of God have 3 applications.
- These applications are historical. Which what is happening and to whom it is happening in the passage. Doctrinal, which is who does it apply to doctrinaly. And spiritual which is the spiritual application we can get from it if it does not apply to us doctrinaly.
If we will diligently study the word and keep these guidelines God will manifest himself to us in a way that we did not realize is possible. So study to show thyself approved!!!
How to Study the Word of God : Handout
(2 Timothy 2:15)
1) What are the two key things that we must do in order to study the word of God? Give references.
2) Show two verses for God being the Author of the word of God and tell who the interpreter of the word of God is.
3) Where are the three distinct warning found in the word of God for not messing with his word?
4) What do we use to define the word of God? Give an example.
5) Why is the context important? Give an example.
6) What is the rule for taking the word of God literal or figuratively?
7) What are the 3 applications for each verse in the word of God?