The following material is not intended to be an exhaustive study of our subject. It is, however, the writer’s purpose to emphasize some of the structure of the Scriptures to encourage its faithful and fruitful study. Our goal should be, not only to intensify our study of the Bible, but that this faithful study will produce intelligent understanding of its truth as well as application to our lives.
The Inspired Word of God
The Apostle Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
When the Holy Spirit used the word “all” (Gk, pas), He intended to convey the idea of every, meaning that every part of Scripture is inspired of God. Every part is equally inspired; there are no degrees of inspiration. Men very often renounce inspiration of Scripture, especially verbal inspiration, for, if they accepted the Word as verbally inspired, these teachers would have to admit to a moral obligation to obey it.
By scripture (Gk. graphe), is meant a writing. It is used obviously of the Old Testament, but since the Holy Spirit is the author of 2 Tim. 3:16-17, and since, as God, He could embrace the whole of the sacred canon of Scripture, it embraces the whole of sacred writing — the Bible. We thus believe that the Scriptures were God-breathed, breathed out by God. Prof. Gaussen in his book Theopneustia, defines biblical inspiration thus: ” . . . that inexplicable power which the divine Spirit put forth of old on the authors of Holy Scriptures, in order to [guide them] even in the employment of the words they used, and to preserve them alike from all error and from all omission.”
Inspiration extends to the words of Scripture, which means that inspiration is verbal. It is full (plenary) and verbal, and thus we indicate that the Word of God is inspired in the sense that its every part, its every word, is inspired of God in the original documents or manuscripts of the writers. No matter what portion of the Word we undertake to study, we approach it in the assurance that the record before us is in fact the Word of the living God.
Basic Approaches to Bible Study
1. Depend upon the Holy Spirit to be your teacher (see John 14:17, 26; 16:13). He is the Author of Scripture; you can rely upon His help in your study.
2. One must be in fellowship with the Lord if he is to gain what God would teach. Heart-searching must accompany one’s study of the Word (note 2 Tim. 3:16-17; see also 1 Cor. 2:13-15).
3. Approach the Word in the spirit of obedience (see John 15:7; James 1:22-25; 1 John 2:3-5). If progress is to be made in the study of the Scriptures, and if that progress is to translate itself into progress in life, the believer must determine to obey all that is revealed by way of Christian responsibility.
4. The student of the Word must give himself to prayer (see Ps. 119:18; Eph. 1:15ff). One will very often struggle in his study unless he gives himself to repeated prayer, expressing his dependence upon the Holy Spirit as Teacher.
5. Organize your Bible study life. Hit-or-miss study does not yield the utmost from the Word. Study by books; follow a subject throughout the Word; seek the help of others who are known to be progressive, successful students of the Bible.
6. Give serious attention to your own Christian experience if you have no desire for Bible study. The loss of “first love” as a Christian (Rev. 2:1-4) can seriously affect one’s study life.
7. Remember that Bible study is an act of obedience to the Lord. No command could be clearer: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).