Understand The Framework
We aren’t simply meant to read the Bible. We are to understand and learn from it. If we cannot do these two things, then it will be very hard to grow as a follower of Christ.
(AKJ) 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The Bible can appear intimidating. Where to start? Old Testament, New Testament, prophecies, disciples, prophets, laws, stories, kings, battles, the list goes on. It’s easier understanding the basics, the main purpose of the Bible itself, before moving on to how to study.
So let’s start at the beginning.
The Old Testament
The Old Testament is basically a historical timeline. God created the world and man fell into sin. The world becomes utterly dark through the fallen sons of God, and the complete selfishness and violence of man. God regrets mankind enough to bring a flood, but saves a man named Noah and his family.
Life begins again. Abram begins to form a strong relationship with God and through this God creates a major promise, covenant, for Abraham and his people. Notice the name change?
What proceeds thereafter are prophets intervening between God and man. Though laws are created after the freedom of Pharaoh (Exodus), many fall astray when it comes to God. Many choose idols or combined beliefs in God and other religions.
Wants Of The World
By the time we reach the book of 1 Samuel, the people demand they want a king. They want to be like every other nation. Though they already have Someone reigning over them, that is not enough for them. They are warned having a king isn’t the right choice.
But they don’t care. Saul is appointed king and he later fails as king. David then is chosen, and most are more familiar with David’s background. Kings continue to rise and fall, and most fail to accept God, which leads the people to also turn away.
God grows angry at His people. This is in part to both people not believing and the people not building a temple for God. While God blessed them, they showed no form of respect or care.
The Coming Messiah
So there are various periods of His people becoming enslaved because they failed to follow Him and keep the word of their forefathers. Within these times, prophets are raised up to instruct and rebuke the congregation. Though many preach to deaf ears.
During this time as well prophecies began to depict a man who would become a sacrificial Lamb. These all were precursor to Jesus. When we reach the end of the Old Testament there is a period of centuries with no prophet, and God remains silent.
Till Jesus is born.
The New Testament
The New Testament, unlike the Old, isn’t filled with darkness, Laws, or centuries of a timeline. No, in fact most of the New Testament books actually are letters to different churches.
The New Testament begins with the four gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They all go over Jesus growing up and fulfilling the Law. (Christ Became Tainted For Us)
Instead of needing a prophet to go between God and man, Jesus gives up His life so that we can receive salvation. Eternal life through Jesus, which is fulfilled through the resurrection.
Jesus is the ultimate form of grace that God gave us through His mercy. Due to this immense form of grace, Christ allows all people, not just the Jews, to receive God.
(NIV) John 4:16, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Gift Of The Holy Spirit
Jesus allows us to have a full on relationship, and that includes partaking of the Holy Spirit. This is when the book of Acts is introduced. The disciples say goodbye to Jesus when He ascends to Heaven. This is after He instructs them to go to the ends of the world preaching the gospel.
(NIV) Matthew 28: 18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Afterward they are told to wait. During Pentecost the disciples each receive the Holy Spirit. Up until this point, no man had the opportunity to have the Holy Spirit in their heart.
Our bodies are temples to God, so we were naturally created to have the Holy Spirit in us, but sin took residence. So it is only after we confess our sins, and believe Jesus died for us that we are able to receive the Holy Spirit into our heart and take residence once more.
(NLT) Luke 9:23, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.”
Evangelism And The Truth
Acts proceeds to explain the disciples’ evangelism and introduction of a man once named Saul, but once being forgiven by God is named Paul. Aside from Paul there are other disciples whose work is shown in the bible. Peter, John, James, and more. They followed the message of Jesus with their heart. Traveling far and reaching out to anyone willing to listen.
The rest of books go over many misconceptions believers had during that time in various areas. People struggled understanding what great length Christ went to. All of these topics are still topics people today struggle with understanding. The books of the New Testament follow through with letters to churches up until we reach Revelations.
Focusing Too Much On Symbolism
Revelations has been depicted as one of the most confusing books of the Bible with its biblical symbolism. Many are fascinated. Many try to decipher. But few truly learn.
Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament there are a little over 17 out of the 66 books of the Bible that describe end of times. It is crucial we do not get caught up in pure symbolism of end of time scriptures. But the Bible does explain itself. So many passages that discuss end of time scriptures are repeated or explained further in other books and corresponding chapters.
With symbolic scriptures and confusing text it is important to let the Bible explain itself. Mankind often tries to connect scripture to history for explanations. But I repeat, let the Bible explain itself. There are pieces of scripture we will not have our eyes opened to till God deems it so. Even then, those who are not right with Christ will not understand, though many will believe they will. Therefore know the scriptures and write them on your heart.
Summary Of The Bible
In order to begin to study the Bible, it is helpful understanding the background and the way the Bible is set up, which is the purpose of part one of Bible Study.
Man sinned. God set up Laws for people to follow. People failed and turned away. God had grace and sent Jesus.
Jesus died for everyone to have a relationship with Him. Only through Christ can we go to God. We have been given the message to preach the truth, the gospel. Through the truth we are to be new creations and continue to grow in Christ. All of us are branches to the True vine, and we are each called according to God.
We can learn and hear God speak through the Bible. We do this through being consistent readers and study the Bible. This is how we mature. We must be willing. God is.
Are we ready?
~T. R. Noble
(all images used from Pixabay)