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December 06, 2021

Ep.1207: Are There Secrets to Studying the Bible?

Applying important keys that open up true Bible study learning

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What timeframes is the Bible divided by and how important is it to know when a scripture applies?

Is the Bible literal or symbolic, and how do we know?

Why is topical Bible study so important for understanding?

Theme Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:15

The Bible is a complicated book. It is a book of many books written in several languages over more than 1,500 years by the hand of about 40 individuals. It contains history and prophecy, as well as spiritual, moral and legal guidance. Its content is relayed in the form of historical records, letters and proclamations. It contains symbolic and metaphorical language. Some teachings are in story form, some are illustrated by example, and others are expressed by way of rigid law. The Bible contains catchy phrases, exaggeration, long genealogies and profound truth. Intertwined in all of this is the word of God and the message of His divine plan of all ages for all of humanity. So, where does one start – how does one start to find a way to understand what it is saying?

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It’s tempting to figure that we can understand the Bible by simply reading through it. While we always advocate reading the Bible, reading it as you would a typical book will not bring deep comprehension. On the contrary, such an approach is likely to bring confusion. The Scriptures are far more than a simple story filled with plot twists. They are a collection of historical, prophetic and instructional records meant for different people at different times.

What's the context?

There are several Bible study methods that help dissolve some of the mysteries of its meaning. For our purposes here we will focus on just one: Context. Context has several levels, especially when we are attempting to understand a book as complex as God’s Word. First there is the context of time and place. When was the text in question written, to whom was it written and why? Knowing the people, the times and circumstances of a passage makes it come alive. The several simple context questions we can ask are a beginning step to our understanding.

Context in relation to the other verses

Knowing about the people and the times of Scripture opens the door for larger contextual questions. These can be more intricate but also serve a broader purpose. What about examining a Bible verse and placing it in the context of other verses that address the same specific subject? When we ask this kind of context question, we open the doors of understanding on a whole new level. Now we have a second verse and its context to help us understand our initial verse. Pursuing this method of understanding brings us into the realm of topical Bible study. This is where it gets exciting!

Check out our December 6, 2021 podcast, “Are There Secrets to Studying the Bible?” for more. We lay out several practical ways to unlock the inspirational teachings of the Bible. Did you know that all Scriptures should not be applied to all times in history? Have you ever wondered what should be taken literally and what is symbolic in the Bible? And how to figure out what the symbolic words in the Bible mean? Join us as we answer these questions and more. Learn about the Bible as you never have before!


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