Berean Break
January 8, 2017 broadcast
The Seeker of Truth will want to know...
How to Study the Bible – part 1 of 2
by George Sinkie

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     Good morning and welcome to the Berean Break.  My name is George A. Sinkie and I am so glad that you have joined us this morning.  On this program we use the Bible as the standard of truth, so I encourage you to get out your Bible and follow along.  I apologize that sometimes I may go a little fast but we only have 15 minutes on each of these programs and there is a lot to cover on some of the topics we look at.  As we begin, let’s go to God in prayer:

Great God in heaven.  Thank You for this day in our lives.  We thank You for the harvest.  We thank You for the moisture that is in the snow, and also pray for safety as we are traveling and working out in the weather.  As we look at our lesson today may we use it to grow and mature in our knowledge of You and Your will.  We especially thank You for Jesus and it is in His name we pray,  AMEN!!

     Occasionally, I am asked questions concerning the religious group to which I belong.  The simplest, and most straightforward answer would be simple to say I am a member of the simple New Testament church, which is true.  But that may not help the people to understand the truth and know the Lord’s will.  So we are going to look at lessons over this year that should help the seeker of truth understand God’s will.  If you ever have questions please send them to me and they will be examined and answered as best as the Scriptures can answer them.
     We are going to start out with a couple of lessons on The Seeker of Truth Will Want To Know:  How to Study the Bible.  This program gets its name from the Bereans spoken of in the book of Acts.  Notice how the Bible describes the Bereans in Acts 17:11, “
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

     Friends, Bible study is important for a number of reasons.  First, it is not possible for a person to have faith apart from the word of God.  Paul wrote in Romans 10:17, “
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
     We need to study the word of God to hear what the Lord’s will is and so we can have the faith that we need to have to be saved.
     Second, Bible study is important because God’s word is able to save us.  James wrote in James 1:21, “
Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
     Jesus taught that man is able to be set free from his sins by the truth, not by error.  John records this in John 8:31-32 where Jesus says, ‘
… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
     John also records where Jesus tells us what the truth is in John 17:17, where He prays to the Father and says, “
Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.
     Third, Bible study is important because the Bible, not the creeds of men, serves as our authority in matters of religion.  Notice Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

     Sometimes a person may say that he doesn’t read the Bible because the Bible cannot be understood.  This is a lie spread by Satan and taught by some man-made religions to keep their followers in bondage.  It has also been said, “The Bible is crystal clear.  It’s just so deep you can’t see the bottom.”  The point is simply this:  We may never fully understand all the Bible teaches.  God made it this way so we would not get bored with studying it, but we can learn all that we need to know to be saved and how to worship and serve God acceptably.  But in order to do this, a person must enter into his study of the Bible with the right attitude and with a few basic rules in mind.

     First, we ought to develop a love for the truth.  It should be our desire to know what God’s will is for our lives.  Paul speaks of those who are lost because they did not love the truth.  Read with me 2 Thessalonians 2:10, “
and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
     Friends, no matter what others may believe or say, we ought to love the truth enough to want to know the truth.

     Second, we ought to study the Bible with an open mind.  Notice from our earlier reading from Acts 17:11 the Bereans received the word with eagerness.  Too often people study the Bible, not to learn what it teaches concerning a given subject, but rather to prove what they already believe concerning a given subject.

     Third, don’t merely read the Bible mindlessly… study it.  Surely, Paul’s admonition to Timothy ought to apply to us as well.  In 2 Timothy 2:15, the King James Version says to “
study” while the New American Standard Bible words it this way, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
     A good dictionary will be helpful in your studies.  But remember, modern dictionaries don’t provide the meaning of a word as it was used in the First century, they provide the modern, accepted usage of a word.  For this reason, I suggest you obtain a good Bible dictionary for your studies [
EGW editor:  Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words is an excellent choice].  When you come to a word in the Bible that you don’t understand, take the time to stop and find out what the word means.
     A Bible encyclopedia can also be helpful in your studies.  You might also want to obtain a concordance, which lists every reference where a particular word is used, as well as a set of Bible maps.
     A good quality Bible is essential to a study of the Bible.  Make sure it has a good quality paper as well as print that can be easily read.  Make sure it is a reliable translation of the Bible.  I would suggest the New American Standard, the King James Version, the American Standard Version, or the New King James Version.

     Fourth, when studying a particular subject, resist the temptation to reach a conclusion concerning that subject until you have studied all the Bible teaches about that subject.  Imagine a number of people each witnessing the same car accident.  One person tells you the driver who was at fault was driving a red car.  Another person tells you the car had four doors.  Still another person tells you the driver ran a stop sign.  Friends, there’s no conflict with what each person saw.  But when you put all of their information together, you know the wreck was caused when a person driving a red, four-door car ran a stop sign.
     Likewise, when we study the Bible, we ought to gather all the information the Bible provides about a particular subject.  For example, consider the words of John 3:16, “
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
     People often read this one verse and reach the erroneous conclusion that all a person has to do to be saved from his sins is believe.  But when we read Luke 13:3, where Jesus says, “
I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” we learn we must also repent of our sins.
     When we read Matthew 10:32-33 we learn that we must confess Jesus, because Jesus says, “
Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
     And when we read Mark 16:15-16 we learn we need to be immersed, which is to be baptized, in order to be saved.  Here Jesus says, in Mark 16:15-16, ‘
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
     So from John we learn we need we need to believe, from Luke we learn we need to repent, from Matthew we learn we need to confess, and from Mark we learn we need to be immersed.  None of these alone will save us, but nor can we leave any of them undone and be saved.

     Another good example of this, was in our local paper some time ago.  There was a “letter to the editor” and in this letter the man taught a doctrine that the only grounds that allowed for remarriage was the death of a person’s spouse.
     It is true that death of a spouse frees a person to marry again.  This is shown in Romans 7:2, where Paul writes, “
For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
     And Paul also addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 7:39, “
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
     Now if these were the only verses in God’s word that dealt with remarriage then the man would be right to teach his doctrine.
     But as we are seeing in this point of Good Bible study methods, we must look at all passages that deal with the topic we are studying.  Consider the new information that we can learn when we read, Matthew 5:31-32, where Jesus says, “
And it was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
     Jesus is also speaking in Matthew 19:9, “
And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.
     It is Jesus that gives this exception condition to remarriage being adultery.  Not you, not I, not even the man that wrote to the paper has the right to add or take away exceptions to the Lord’s will.  What he fails to do is to study all of the passages for what they teach on the subject.

     Earlier in our study today we looked at several things that were essential to our salvation.  We saw that we need to hear the word and develop faith based on that word.  Then based on that faith we need to repent of our sins.  As we study the word, we will see things in our lives that are not in harmony with the teaching of God.  We need to turn away from these things… that is, we need to repent of these things.  Then people have to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.  It is in baptism, but not baptism alone that we can be saved.

     Our time is up for this morning, but I hope that you can join us next Sunday for more tips on how to study the Bible.

     This Berean Break is brought to you, in love, by the pre-denominational and non-denominational church of Christ that meets at 1600 East First Avenue in Mitchell SD.  You are welcome to meet with us at 10:00 Sunday mornings for our assembly followed by a time of Bible Study, also on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 for an additional time to study God’s Word.  If you have a comment or a sincere Bible question, please phone us at 605-770-5555.  We want to remind you of the non-denominational TV program, “KNOW YOUR BIBLE” on KDLT-TV at 9:00 on Sunday mornings.  This is George A. Sinkie for the Lord’s church, here in Mitchell, good-bye for now.  Remember that we care about you and may God bless you as you do His will.

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      © George Sinkie; used by permission. rev.170119
      Permission guidelines for your use of this article.
      Unless otherwise noted, “Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.” or from the “New American Standard Bible. 1986 (electronic edition.) La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.”
      This article’s presentation in Exploring God's Word ©2017 David G. Churchill.
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