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Q. How Do I Study the Bible?

A. by Dr. Roy Blizzard


from Yavo Digest Vol. 1, No. 1, 1986

I have five steps for studying the Bible that I use in my own study, and
would like to share these five steps with you:

1. You must first learn to study the Bible lexically. What do I mean,
"lexically?" You need to have a working knowledge of a good original
language and look up the meaning of the word in the language in which
it was written.
Heretofore, these lexical aids have been available only for those who had
a working knowledge of Hebrew and Greek; but now these lexical aids
have been numerically indexed to Strong's Concordance and can be
utilized by everyone, even without a working knowledge of Hebrew and
Greek. Again, these lexical aids are available through Yavo.
2. Second, one must study the Bible contextually; that is, "What is the
context in which this passage is found?" To answer that question, one
must read the passage in its context--with the Scriptures preceding it and
following it. Don't just look at the isolated passage, but see it in its entire
context.
3. One must study the Bible scripturally. By that I mean that you must
see this passage in its context as it relates to all other Scripture in the
biblical text. In other words, this passage cannot be taken out of its
context and then interpreted in such a way that it disagrees with other
Scripture--either preceding or following.
4. This leads me to the fourth step: one must then study the Bible
historically. In other words, we cannot take any passage or event in the
biblical text and withdraw it from the historical context in which it is set,
and then try to make it apply in our own historical situation--perhaps
2000 years or more removed from the passage or the event. For example,
in one passage in the New Testament, Paul allows women the unfettered
right to pray or prophesy publicly, and then in another, he says, "Let the
women be silent in the churches." How do we reconcile these two
passages? Are they contradictory, or is the answer to be found in the
historical context that gave birth to the statement? The answer is, of
course, in the historical and cultural context.
It's not my purpose in this response to deal with the subject of the role of
women in the Church; I just use this as an example of the importance of
seeing each passage in its historical and cultural context.
5. Finally, one must study the Bible prayerfully. The Bible says, "You
have no need that any man should teach you,… the Holy Spirit will
guide you into all truth." However, the Holy Spirit is not going to teach
you anything unless you are studying. But if you're studying, following
the guidelines set forth above, and prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to
direct you in your study, chances are that you will either find the answer
for yourself or the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone who will give
you the right answer.