The truth of what the Bible says about Bible study doesn't have to be hard to discover. Yet, many believe it's too difficult. Unfortunately, a litany of other books and a chorus of false teachers is fuel for their apprehension. Church leaders boast about their extensive libraries and their theological degrees. The implication is that Bible study is only for the "professionals".
Scripture's answer to "What does Bible study require?"
Understanding the Bible requires nothing more than the Bible itself1,3,6,9 and reading it11 with a diligent, open, seeking heart2,6,8,10. With our prayer to God for understanding4,7, He has promised that we will find (or, know) Him8,9,10. It is, in fact, the only way we can know His will for us1,7,9 and importantly, does not require any special talents or education12. God intended that the gospel message was simple14.
Of course, the word may travel by way of a teacher13 or preacher6 (false teachers beware!!13). There are some portions or topics that are more difficult5 than others, but Scripture’s promise3,10 is that we can grow in the truth9 with careful, diligent reading2,6,11.
Question 1 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
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#2: Is God still speaking today?
Some believe God still speaks through prophets or dreams or visions. If He is still speaking, then studying the Bible would be compromised since anyone could essentially “overwrite” any Bible learning with “new knowledge.”
As of the first century, God’s word had been proclaimed throughout the whole world4,6,8,12,13. If the word was sufficiently complete in the first century to save individuals1,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, how is it any less complete now and why would it be necessary for God to reveal more? The foundation7,9,12,13 would not still be being laid some 2,000 years later.
Question 2 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
Scripture's answer to "How should we interpret it?"
God said that scripture interprets scripture1,2,3,5,6,11,12,15. Furthermore, it is the only practice for interpretation we see in the Bible3,4,7,8,9,10,13,14,16. We never see someone consulting alternative sources or human wisdom3, but are commanded not to go beyond what is written15. The entirety of Scripture forms a complete picture2,8,9,10,12,13. The very idea that God is the sole author1,6 forces the conclusion that Scripture cannot contradict itself5 and must also fully interpret itself since God cannot lie. Of course, we still must draw conclusions and/or teach/explain as needed7,9,14. Jesus required the lawyer to form a conclusion after reading it10 (and only it15). Scripture is the sole source for morality and obedience…it was this way for those under the Law4,7,8,10,16 (“Scripture” for that time) as well as for those (like Timothy1 and us) under the Gospel3,9,11,13,14,15.
Question 3 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
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#4: What about prophecy?
Some of the most difficult parts of the Bible to understand are the books of prophecy. Some of them, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, contain very straightforward accounts of history. But they are more characteristically highly symbolic in nature.
We can only interpret prophecy to the extent that God, through another inspired writer2,4,6, or “what is written”8, has revealed what it means1. For example, we have cases where we would never even think to make application on our own, and yet the inspired writer does5. In fact, interpreting Bible prophecy and how we handle it in general is the ultimate example of how Scripture interprets Scripture, or literally, God interprets God1.
Question 4 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
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#5: Are some parts more important than others?
Many today believe that the New Testament is the most important thing to study. Others might emphasize Jesus’ words over Paul’s or one of the other apostles.
Scripture's answer to "Are some parts more important than others?"
There is no precedent in Scripture for “Scripture Weighting.” Quite the contrary. All Scripture is divine and perfect1,7; they are His words5. God is the sole author1,5. Further, it is only when taken in its entirety that we get a complete picture2,7. It is consistently put forward as equal weight since “all” is always the standard for understanding — Old4,6 and New1,3. Never has God said, “Read it all, but you really only need to focus here.”
May we never scripture weight – whether by authorship, testament, or presupposition. Instead, seek to gather all that Scripture has to say on the matter and only then make careful conclusions.
Question 5 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
Scripture's answer to "What should we expect from studying it?"
The effect of God’s word is to sanctify believers (make holy)1,5,8, bringing them into a peace with God17 and ulimately saving them4,10,11,14. It never fails3,4 to produce its effect, which can also be destructive2,9. Between those that accept it and those that don’t it will cause division7,8,11 and animosity12,13,16. The effect of God’s word can lead to persecution for those that believe and teach it14,15, and for those that refuse it will certainly lead to spiritual death6,8,9,11.
Question 6 of 6 to discovering what the Bible says about Bible study
After going through these core questions on what the Bible says about Bible study, where does that put us? We think there are some fundamental conclusions:
God has given us the Bible as the only source to know His will for us.
It is all we need and it is something that we can read and understand.
We must consider all of it equally and allow it alone to explain or interpret itself.
We really appreciate your attention and interest in delving into this important topic. What do you think? We would love to hear your feedback.
Connect with us if you would like to discuss any of the content on this site or would like to contribute. Periodically, we also host a virtual Bible answer discussion aimed at refining and improving questions already published.