Studying the Bible

An introduction

The Bible is described as a profound and dynamic text, characterized by its captivating narratives, miraculous events, deep encounters, and prophetic declarations. It transcends being merely a book; it is considered divinely inspired and life-affirming, described as “God-breathed” in Timothy 3:16. Authored over a period of 1,500 years by around forty individuals from diverse backgrounds-ranging from fishermen and physicians to shepherds-it is foundational to Christian faith. The Bible is composed of the Old Testament and the New Testament, shaping religious practices and cultural perspectives through its extensive history and teachings. But there’s a golden thread throughout the scriptures that makes it undeniable that God Himself was and is intricately involved. We believe the Bible is divinely inspired by God, and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. We believe that in it are principles by which we are to live, and the measure for our faith and doctrine. 

16 All Scripture is God-Breated [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publically and privately-behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 

17 So that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Some Basics…

 

Old Testament: 

The Old Testament is largely synonymous with the Hebrew Bible, which is sacred to Judaism. It contains a series of books that include historical narratives, poetry, prophecies, and laws that trace the origins of the universe, the history of the Israelites, and their covenant relationship with God. These texts were written and compiled over a period of many centuries, starting from around 1200 BCE, and they reflect the religious, social, and political conditions of the ancient Near East. 

New Testament

The New Testament, distinct to Christianity, emerged in the context of the 1st century CE, focusing on the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is considered the Messiah in the Christian belief. It includes the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), which narrate Jesus’ life and work; the Acts of the Apostles, which describes the early days of the Christian community; the Epistles (letters) written by early Christian leaders like Paul to various congregations; and the Book of Revelation, a prophetic text about the end times. We believe that salvation involves the redemption and transformation of the total man, and is available freely to all who believe in Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.  

The Books of the Bible

Some History…

Canonical Formation: 

Canonical formation means to how the books of the Bible were chosen and agreed upon as the official scriptures for Christians. This process was complicated and took several hundred years to develop. Different groups of church leaders and official church meetings, called “councils”, discussed and decided which books should be included. By around the 4th century (the 300s AD), most of the books in the New Testament were generally accepted by Christian communities as part of the Bible. However, it took even longer for all branches of Christianity to agree on the exact list of books that make up the Bible as we know it today. 

Translation and Transmission: 

The Bible was initially written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It has been translated into numerous languages over the centuries, starting with the Latin Vulgate by Jerome in the 4th century CE. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century significantly influenced the dissemination and standardization of the Bible. This accessibility allowed for greater literacy and interpretation among laypeople, contributing to significant religious movements such as the Protestant Reformation. 

Global Impact: 

The Christian Bible has had a profound influence on Western Culture and history, affecting literature, art, law, and ethics. Its themes and narratives are deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of many societies, making it one of the most studied, quoted, and respected texts in the world. 

Make It Personal...God Did!

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trust in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life” 

It can be a bit overwhelming when you’re a brand new believer, or even if you’ve been a believer for a while, but have a refreshed and renewed desire to learn more about God, His Word, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. The Bible is our roadmap for life…Here are a few tips on how to approach it. 

Respect: 

Approach the throne of Heaven each day, with reverence and respect. Set an appointment with God – honor Him with the first of your time each day. We set appointments for the dentist and the dog sitter- how much more should we commit to an appointment with an Almighty God. 

Ready your heart…/Repent…

“Lord, shine the searchlight of heaven into the deepest crevices of my heart, light up anything that I need to repent of, let everything that you have not planted be uprooted in Jesus Name and may the seeds of your word take deep root in my heart as I read and study and spend time with you”. Spend time in prayer of repentance and thanksgiving. Ask the loving Father to speak to you through His Word. 

READ: 

  1. Cover to Cover
  2. Chronological 
  3. Reading for Personal Growth. Read the Gospel in 40 days. 

Topical: 

  1. Money
  2. Marriage
  3. Self-Improvement
  4. Love
  5. Being Alone
  6. The Life of Jesus
  7. New Testament Letters
  8. The Early Church
  9. By Character
  10. By Bible Story
  11. Pastor Paula’s Sermons

Reflect: 

Use your journal to write down what God is telling you, write down your thoughts, your questions, your hurts, the things that you want to tell Him about. Be still, and know that He is God, let Him talk to you. Give Him room to speak. 

Respond:

Take time to worship & Pray. Ask God for His strategy on how you should respond to the Scripture. 

James 1:22-25

22. But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens [a] without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets [b] what he looked like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [c]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience]. 

Remember: 

Scripture Memorization is a powerful tool and weapon. Set a goal to memorize a new verse each week, or each day.

Pslam 119:11  “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You”

 

Repeat! 

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