How to Study the Bible

An excellent and essential follow-up to Jeff’s previous blog post. I strongly recommend that you go to the complete article on Jeff’s blog via the link at the end of the excerpt below.

According to the viewing stats, yesterday’s post has had 26 views and yet only 3 of those viewers actually clicked on the link to read the full article.

I wrote about similar topics in the following two articles:
Spirit, Scripture and Sholarship

Don’t Study the Bible



anti-itch meditation

Here are some tips for studying the Bible on your own.

–Read the Bible a lot. Over and over. Cover to cover. Try at least once to read it as quickly as possible, like under a month.

–Question everything. Write down questions as you read it, then when you read it again, see how many more questions you get and how many old ones you can now answer. Don’t be afraid to question anything and everything.

–Ignore formal theology. Don’t read merely to find verses to back up or attack doctrines. Just read what it says. Otherwise you’ll miss half the message because your brain is arguing theology.

–Avoid dumb Bible study questions like, “what does this mean to me?” or “how can I apply this to my life today?” They tend to make the Bible all about you. One of the points of the Bible is that it’s about…

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You Don’t Need Church Tradition ( by Jeff Weddle)

If a Holy Spirit indwelt person were stranded on a desert island with nothing but the Bible for ten years, would he come off that island with sound doctrine?

I believe he would.

Church tradition, although a helpful thing at times, is not necessary for sound doctrine.

If you have the Holy Spirit and the Bible, you’re good to go.

complete article here:

Spirit, Scripture and Scholarship

When we turn to bible scholars we need to always keep in mind we’ll come across both good and bad, and if we rely ONLY on the work of those “scholars” we’ll never know the difference. We’ll merely adopt what we ourselves find most appealing and what tickles our own intellectual ears.

 I’ve seen far too many Christian bloggers who do little more than make reference to one man’s words after another; Quoting this teacher, then that writer – maybe throwing in an occasional verse of scripture to give everything “biblical legitimacy”, but no real indication that they’ve addressed scripture for themselves and come to terms with what it says.

 When we choose to read and listen to the teaching of others we need to be sure to search the scriptures to see whether their teaching REALLY conforms to scripture. And if it IS valid teaching, then pass on the understanding that has been gained by referring to SCRIPTURE rather than continually noting that Spurgeon said this or MacArthur said that, etc.

If it IS biblical truth, note it as such and not as the teaching of _ _ _ _ _ (fill in the gaps with name of any popular teacher).

Shouldn’t we be more excited about the discoveries we’ve made FROM SCRIPTURE as we checked their teaching rather than giving recognition to a man?


 The big danger is the lack of personal involvement with scripture and the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit. The danger is that people put ALL their trust in the scholarship of others instead of in the Spirit and scripture; reading commentaries and study bible notes and assuming they’ve been studying the Bible.

 Christians need to be freed from the idea that scripture is beyond their understanding and therefore they will need someone to interpret and explain it to them. That attitude is a major problem across the “church”, from the mainline traditional denominations through to Charismatic/Pentecostal groups. Man’s teaching is exalted and placed entirely in the hands of a “qualified” elite. Traditional churches promote a seminary education as the requirement for ministers, charismatics look to people they see as specially “anointed”.

 The poor average man-in-the pew is encouraged to be dependent upon the appointed or anointed “minister” instead of being encouraged and taught to search the scriptures for themselves, with the Holy Spirit being ignored altogether.

Don’t Study the Bible…

A few suggestions.

1) Don’t study the Bible until you’ve read it. Get a general overview of the overall picture given throughout scripture before trying to find deeper understanding of small parts of scripture.

2) Don’t study the Bible through commentaries and study-bible notes. Tackle scripture for yourself before you even think of looking for another person’s opinion. See what YOU can understand without referring to what others have to say. Trust the Holy Spirit to do the teaching job He came to do.

3) Don’t study the Bible with a predetermined agenda. Don’t use scripture as a tool to “prove” an opinion or a favoured doctrine. Let scripture speak with its own message, don’t try to speak your message through scripture.

4) Don’t study the Bible according to proof texts. Merely checking the verses quoted by a preacher isn’t bible study. Just because a verse is quoted in a sermon it doesn’t necessarily mean what the preacher says it means. Consider how each text relates to the whole chapter, the whole book and the overall message of the whole bible. (And that takes time and patience).

5) Don’t study the Bible in total isolation. Maintain fellowship with other believers, listen to sermons, read books – but NEVER make the word of others your primary authority on scripture and ALWAYS test everything with scripture. When hearing something new, if in doubt, DOUBT. And when something sounds right, doubt anyway. Be cautious. The Bible’s warnings about deceivers are there for a reason.
Accept nothing, no matter how appealing and right it may seem until your own study of scripture(refer again to point 2 above) gives YOU insight.

6) Don’t study the Bible expecting to know and understand everything NOW. Foundations need to be built. Basics need to be grasped.
Understanding of complex mathematics needs to start with a knowledge of basic arithmetic. Likewise some aspects of scripture will remain puzzling until the required background knowledge has been attained.

7) DO study the Bible with diligence and patience, knowing that the Holy Spirit will work with those who seek and trust His help.

Clearly Some Don’t Want To Understand

There are many who are so caught up in tradition and their reliance on men’s teaching that it can be discouraging to read some of the responses to what I’ve said about trusting the Holy Spirit.
Here is one example of a reply I received on another blog:

Prior to closing comments on a topic on his blog, Derek Leman said on 12 June, 2014 at 4:54 pm:

Can I email you to ask the Holy Spirit’s opinion on issues? It’s wonderful that I found you. Can’t wait for the greater clarity I will get now on issues. It’s like meeting Isaiah in person. Thanks for introducing yourself.

(See the full thread

As flippant as that comment was intended, it just shows how much he missed the point.
Despite what I said about the Holy Spirit being given to teach ALL believers and for ALL believers to trust the Spirit, he still expressed (albeit cynically) his desire to rely on other men to be a go-between, to seek and reveal God’s revelation for him.

Further examples of the above mindset can be found in the comments section associated with this post.