WHERE TO START YOUR BIBLE STUDY
We know it can be daunting and it’s easy to be put off, but like most daunting tasks it is best to start small, see how you get on and it will get easier and easier as you proceed. We suggest the following steps.
· Step One - Choosing your Bible
There is no, one perfect translation of The Bible into English. Our language, time and culture are so far removed from the original that it is difficult to put ourselves in the position of the authors and understand their message in the way they wrote it. For example, we know so much more about the universe and creation that simple truths like “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing”, (Job 26:7) mean something very different to us than it did to the people of the time.
We therefore suggest a combination of two translations, one word-for-word and one thought-for-thought. Don’t choose them quickly, borrow copies and use them before deciding and buying your own. Use the two translations together taking advantages of the merits of both and comparing them frequently.
· Step Two - Look at Fulfilled Prophecy
There are some amazing Bible prophecies where people who could not have possibly realised the significance of what they were writing predicted world events many years before they happened.
Our stand focuses on The Jews but there are many others.
· Step Three - Read The Bible with other people
As well as reading The Bible by yourself read it with others and discuss what it means using their chosen translations and some reference books. The objective is to think about what the author meant at the time and understand its relevance for us today – in effect the same process as the liberal translators use!
· Step Four - Read and accept it all making connections through all 66 books
Try not to just read the New Testament, or just any group of books. Accept it all as Gods Word and try to understand it. There are many things in the New Testament that have their foundation in the Old Testament, and many Old Testament passages that Jesus learnt and affected his way of life. Then there are the Old Testament passages he quoted and used in his preaching. Try to find these and look them up as you study.
· Step Five - Slowly build up your knowledge and let your confidence and amazement at Gods love and wisdom grow.
Don’t worry about what you don’t know, or how long it takes; one of the pleasures of scripture is that that there is always something more to discover. If you ask the oldest person in the room I am sure he will confirm this.
· Step Six - Let your confidence in the future grow
Bible students find that as they learn what The Bible has said about the past has proved to be right, so they can have confidence that what The Bible also says about the future will also be correct. So learn about unfulfilled prophecy and look forward to the prospect of what God says will actually happen and then stop worrying about how we think we need to solve all the world’s problems by ourselves. The world’s problems and the future are in Gods hands.
· Step Seven - Build a relationship with God
These seven steps are not sequential, we hope you will find that you will be able to build a relationship with God through your reading, such that you can feel his control of all creation and have the humility to accept his control over your life. Not having to worry about many worldly things removes a huge pressure. Think about what God has done for us and how we can respond to that love by what we do with our lives.
To read about how God inspired those who wrote down His Word and inspires those who turn to it, click on the following link:
5.1 God's Inspired Word
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