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2-Practical Considerations

Alistair Huong


Basic rules for Bible study distilled into 2 simple list of 3 things.  3 styles/methods of Bible study and 3 basic questions to ask.


Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse



  • April 25, 2015
    9:30 AM
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More than heaven we're so thankful for your word and we confess that often it is because of our own insufficiencies that we don't understand and our own lack of effort that we don't even try sometimes. And so we pray that you through your spirit might inspire us otherwise today and to help us to recognize what we can do to give you glory as we seek your face through your written word we pray now in Jesus name Amen. So what are we doing this weekend. Last night we talked about foundational principles list the ten principles that form our foundational presuppositions assumptions preconceived notions opinions what not before we come to the work we need to recognize that we come with a certain amount of baggage and we need to realize that that stuff creates a filter through which we understand the Bible and we need to know how to manage those things carefully before we impose our own reading into God's word and we concluded to come on this morning mentioned a bottom line really. Because we just need to read the word. There's no shortcut. We can listen to seminars listen to sermons on audio verse listen to the audio Bible but we just have to read the Bible. We just have to study for ourselves. There's no substitute for that. So this hour we're going to be looking at practical considerations and this is in many ways is sort of the hub of the messages four part series this weekend because we're going to go through a number of points by distilling them down into two sets of three things that I believe if we remember them they don't give us guidance in all of our study is basically all we need to remember. In other words. When we come to study the Bible and then the next hour I'm going to be giving a Bible study during the divine hour a Bible study that's on another subject in the Bible but nevertheless it applies principles for us to see them in action. And then this afternoon we're going to go back and take a look at that message and we're going to break it down. I'm going to look. OK How did those principles we talk about this hour apply and then when to go a little bit further and do some deeper analysis. So that's what we're doing today. So practical considerations. Let's start there. I've given this presentation a couple times and this is version two point zero which means it's been upgraded. And when I say upgraded it simply means I read through this. After going through this a few times I realize you know we could do a better job. I did I think we could distill this down into the bare essential nucleus simple ideas so that the easiest to remember. So do you want to know. The three are two sets of three things that we have to remember when we start the vibe. You want to simple framework to remember. That's what we're going to discuss. So what are these two sets of three things. Number one there are three styles or approaches of Bible study. We're going to discuss that and that's probably going to be the bulk of our time this morning. And then there are going to be three questions that we need to ask when we approach the text. That's it. So we're going to figure out OK Which three. Which of the three approaches are we taking in our Bible study we answer that question. And once we answer that question then when we actually look at the text we ask three questions and after asking those three questions we. We should have arrived at an understanding of the word. OK three styles three approaches followed by three questions. So what are the three styles and three approaches. Let me before actually before we get there here's a little Here's a little note I need to mention I'm going to be referencing William Miller a couple of times in this presentation and there's a reason why William Miller the father of the Miller Right Movement who which happens to predate the advent movement which is where the seven day church came out of William Miller studied the Bible for himself and arrived at some very revolutionary understandings of prophecy and this is what Ellen White has to say about how he studied the Bible L.-Y. says and review and herald November twenty five eight hundred eighty four Paragraph twenty three and on. She says those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel's message are searching the scriptures upon the same plan that father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled views of the prophecies and prophetic chronology. So right there she cites where these rules are found. Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation and then in the next paragraph she actually lists a number of the rules but I strip them out because we're going to be looking at them a little later and she continues afterwards to say the above meaning the previous paragraph is a portion of these rules that in our study of the Bible we shall do well to heed the principle set forth. So what does what does al Y. have to say about William Miller's method of Biblical interpretation. That should give it a thumbs up or thumbs down from what she says is a good plan. She has some good rules that would. Would all do well to pay attention to. So that's why I took the liberty to quote from some of these rules later on. OK I just want to give you a basis because Bill Miller is not a prophet he wasn't inspired. But we do have a reason to listen to what he has to say and in addition to that I do. I contemplated printing out his rules as like thirteen points and handing them out. But I realize you know what. Let's just save some trees. I'm posting them on audio verse. OK So when you find his message on audio verse will be an additional P.D.F. that have the the rules will in Miller's rules of interpretation appended to it and then you can look through them yourself. OK. So now three approaches having got that disclaimer side three major approaches or three styles of Bible study and I think all Bible study types can be grouped into one of these three styles. There's exegetical Bible study topical Bible study and allegorical Bible study. Now you like it is too early for you to be using these big words can you. Can you speak English please. OK Your wish is granted. Let me put it in other words what is actually exegetical study. It simply is a verse by verse study which means exegetical is you are reading the words and getting the meaning out of them. All of the theology majors probably are tired of hearing this but exegetical It simply means you are reading the manuscript as it was originally written. You are trying to identify the author's intent to his original audience. So Paul wrote a letter to the physicians you are reading the letter to the Ephesians to understand what Paul was saying to the. Visions verse by verse makes sense right. And then we move on here to topical Bible study which to put in another words is just looking at a topic throughout the Bible throughout the Scriptures. So this is also a doctrinal study another type of study in this class is called biographical study so it's a doctrinal you know you go to the evangelistic series twenty one nights or twenty nine whatever and each night you hear a presentation on another doctrine. Those are topical Bible studies. What does the Bible have to say about the anti-Christ you read throughout the Bible what has to say what does the Bible have to say about salvation salvation as documented throughout the Bible or the Sabbath or what not doctrinal study is a type of topical study biographical study is saying hey listen I want to learn about a particular person what is the Bible to say about Abraham or Isaac or Jesus junk that you read through the Bible to understand what it has to say about those things and I want to pause here and say oftentimes topical Bible study is called The word study have you heard of the term word study. I want to review one point from last night and that is how our prophets inspired prophetess speired verbally. Did God call them to dictate exactly the words as you want them to say you know at what level was the prophet inspired the font the concepts the principles ideas right and so when we look at the study of the Bible we want to be careful not to place undue emphasis on the words individually and begin to do like cryptology almost like the words there's a word here the word there therefore these verses must be equal and always work that way. You want to see what the text actually says and are they talking about the same sub. Object mat case a word study it's useful the technique is useful to you can cordons and looking at all the words throughout the Bible that's a good technique. But we're looking at the words to understand the topic not just connecting the dots between the words so just because the word righteousness happens here in the word righteousness happened there in those two verses a must equal be all the time we need to understand what it actually has to say underneath all right and then allegorical Bible study allegorical What does the word allegory mean. Anybody heard of the term allegory is simply like a parable it's a metaphor. It's a word or a description of something that has a symbolic meaning. So when we look at allegorical Bibles they were talking about symbols prophecies types and anti types parables and things of that sort. So we're looking at symbols so when Jesus says you know I'm going to curse the fig tree he has a parable about the fig tree. Well he's not really talking about a fig tree because the fig tree was simply a figure of something else. When we talk about the Lamb of God we're going to talk about Lamb of God a little bit more later it might be a physical land right that slain and put on the altar but there is also land that is a symbolic and so we need to understand that there is there are symbolism in the Bible and that is a valid method of Bible study. However notice that this is on a continuum but the arrow only goes one direction. That's because the exegetical or the verse by verse method of Bible study is always the foundation and then from there you go to topical. Oh and from there you go to allegorical. In other words the reading is more literal on this side of the continuum and it becomes more figurative as you come to the side that makes sense what I'm trying to say. Because for example for example if I were to look at the Bible and there is a symbol in the Book of Revelation there is a woman right. How do I know what the woman represents. What should I do to understand what the woman represents in order to do this I need to take a step back. Right and I need to go through the Bible to see what does the rest of the Bible say about this topic of a woman in whatever contact with looking at a woman dressed in red a woman and why with this crime it will start standing on a moon called the sun. Right so to understand the prophecies we have to go back to do a topical study through the Scripture to identify the symbols. But then there are lots of women in the Bible and not all women. Explain the symbols in Revelation. So how do we know which of the verses have to do with what we talk about in Revelation what each of those passages we need to go back and do as a literal study look at it in context what was the author actually saying within this discourse be it in a pistol or historical narrative or something else. Does it apply right does that make sense. That's why it's got to go in order because if you start here we can pull symbols out of thin air and symbols can be anything unless we have some sort of basis for interpretation and so it's got to go in this order. We'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute but this is how I think about it. OK this is how I think about it. It's a Jetta Cole reading is like a two D. analysis so you have your manuscript be it on the pistol or the Gospels or some document and you're reading it from start to finish it's like X. and Y. are two dimensional. And then after you read through a number of passages you take those passages and you overlay them together and all of a sudden you've got an X. axis and now you're studying in three dimensions. So you've got all of your two dimensional understanding of each passage and then you stack them together and you see the train of thought through the three dimensional picture. Maybe I'm too nerdy to think that way but it helps me to contemplate it this way. That's not inspired but that's just how I think about it. So let's talk about this some more. So exegetical study or verse by verse study what I have to say this is found in the book Education Page one eighty nine paragraph four says in daily study the verse by verse method is often what most helpful. Let the student take one verse and concentrate the mind on ascertaining the thought that God has put into that verse for him and then or her and then dwell upon the thought until it becomes a zone. One passage that I studied until a significance that's clear is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. So yes she says it is better to read a passage and just see to understand what that passage sets and then apply it rather than just read tons of chapter and read tons of books and I might even say getting a round with no definite purpose in view. So foundationally we need to get into the habit of actually reading the Bible as it reads. You remember last night we had a number of quote this to take the by. Well as it reads well how does the Bible read the Bible is not just the dictionary that you just pick and choose the Bible is written as a narrative often or letters or Gospels where we ought to read it as it was written. All right we're going to talk about that a little bit more. But here's an example. So what's an example of exegetical study or verse by verse. I go to the Book of Romans chapter one and I read that passage and I meditate on that passage to understand what Paul had to say about righteousness by faith. So we're just sticking with a verse. He starts here with his argument he lays out his points he makes a conclusion. Xa Jesus exegetical study. But this kind of Bible study exegetical verse by verse literal reading whatever you want to call it can textual study is another term I've heard there's a pitfall there are pitfalls to all of these different methods of Bible study. One of the major pitfalls of doing a satirical study is that it becomes merely a dry historical study like of any other ME ancient manuscript. So let's say you have an old manuscript from the Middle Ages and you're reading it you're trying to decipher what it says. A lot of people treat the Bible the same way. It's nothing more than a dry historical document that doesn't have application today that it doesn't have a wider connection to the rest of Scripture. That's the problem because that's not the ultimate purpose of scripture. Yes it is an ancient manuscript. Yes there is historical study involved. Yes there are all those things but it's also more than those things. And so it's important for us to also study using other methods as well. So topical or doctrinal study what does William Miller have to say this is from Miller's rules of interpretation too. I understand doctor and bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know. Then let every word have its proper influence and if you can form a theory without a contradiction you cannot be in error. Ellen White corroborates with this education page one ninety paragraph two the Bible is its own explanatory Scripture is to be compared with scripture for students should learn to view the word as a whole and to see the relation of its parts. So let me give you an example here. I guess I have it on the next line. The doctrine of the SAT the doctrine of the Sabbath is a is a doctrine it's a teaching of Scripture. How do we arrive at the understanding of the sack. Well here we're here just a few examples. We look at Eden. OK What does the Bible say about the Sabbath in the Garden of Eden Genesis chapter two. What does the Bible have to say about Jesus and the Sabbath in his life as well as in his death. It gives us some more information. What about the Sabbath and days of Paul how the Paul keep the Sabbath. Look at all these verses and will go back and then I even tells than our new Worth is going to sap so when you take all of these verses together and you create a cohesive consistent picture what you then get is a doctrine of the sap. An exegetical study would be looking at Genesis chapter two and actually saying what is God trying to say or Moses the author of Genesis What is he actually saying in Genesis chapter two. What is the Sabbath the Sabbath just happens to be one component of a longer narrative in that chapter and we have to look at that context in order to say whether that verse legitimately informs us in our tracks in our composition of a doctrine. So here's the pitfall. What's the pitfall of doctrinal. Or topical Bible study. Well the pitfall is that we can easily slip down the slope into proof texting or what's proof text. I've heard of been said once that a text without its context is a pretext. And when you use it in that way you are proof texting that makes sense. So meaning I can pull a word out of thin air in a scripture. Like last night we read a verse in Isaiah Chapter thirty that talk about Towers and towers that fell. So therefore I must have to do with nine eleven. That's called a proof text because I'm misusing the verse it's going against the original intent of the verse of the author and it has no relation to what the original point was that the author had. We had intended and I might say that this right here this pitfall is one of the largest pitfalls to us as actors. You know why because when you go to evangelise to meetings and this is how many of us a lot of us came into the faith. We go to evangelistic meetings and we assume that proper Bible study simply means stringing a series of verses together willy nilly and making us say whatever we want. And in fact I will even venture to say that sometimes I don't want to put anyone on the spot because I've done it myself. OK sometimes I go through the verses that are used in our evangelist at meetings and I review them and I actually realized later wait a minute that actually wasn't saying what we were trying to make it say and we need to be careful not to use inappropriate methods in order to accomplish the means that we think God wants us to do the ends do not justify the means the Word of God is too sacred. For us to treat with and you know sanctified ambition and intentions are. So that leads us to the allegorical or typological or symbolic or figurative metaphorical prophetic what have you method of Bible study and the great controversy here says Page five ninety eight paragraph three. The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning unless a similar figure is employed. So this goes back to confirm what I was saying earlier you don't start with symbolism. You end with symbolism meaning you do not go to symbols or figures unless unless the obvious meaning doesn't make sense. So when we read the Bible remember the Hopi principle last night the most simplest clearest most obvious reading is usually the most correct but if it does not make sense then we have to say maybe there is a symbol here being used in fact that's what will really Miller says he and his rules of interpretation. How to know when a word is used figurative way if it makes good sense as it stands and does no violence to the simple laws of nature. That's an interesting way of saying use your common sense. That's literally what he said. Read something and use your common sense. If it doesn't make sense logically then probably there's a similar thing here. He said then it must be understood literally if not figurative when he says don't treat this like rocket science just take the word as it reads if it doesn't make sense. Reading a straight like that then maybe there's a simple he continues this is all William Miller to learn the true meaning of figures trace your figurative worth through the Bible and where you find explained put it on your figure and if it makes good sense you need to look no further if not look again. So Trace your finger worth of the Bible what kind of metal a Bible study is he referring to now back in the three styles. I will study which one is tracing your worth through the Bible. So topical Bible study. So he's saying if you have a symbol that you don't understand go back and do a topical study All right. Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate a subject and must be explained in the same way as figures by the subject and the Bible and it's interesting because you know when you look at symbolism sometimes you don't have to look very far. This is one of the things I like to teach my tell my students I taught Daniel revelation in high school two years ago I said you always start with a book of Daniel because if you look at the Book of Daniel is like algebra and revelation is like calculus. You get out the foundation. When you look at Daniel like Indiana chapter two chapters seven and eight for example there are figures there's a statue a metal man Darby there's all these tight horns and these kind of things but if you just read the chapter it explains what the symbols are it just tells you the head of gold or the king head of gold King evidence and after you come another kingdom. OK. I don't need to guess. It tells me but when you get the revelation it's not so obvious. So once you study and Daniel you get the hang of how do I actually interpret these things you get to Revelation and you apply what you learn from them and by the way a lot of the symbols in Daniel transfer over into Revelation and so allegorical typological symbolic study is is something that we don't want to treat lightly. Meaning if we haven't done our proper Bible study exegetical the topic will be when we get the symbolism we have to go back and do a lot of groundwork to prepare ourselves to do it properly because nobody's going to do calculus unless they don't. Algebra it's the same same thing. Here are some examples we've already talked about than the symbols of Daniel revelation also the sanctuary type ology the century where we all understand what the Lamb of God represents because we've heard the sermons we've heard the bible studies. That is a type of allegorical study and of course the parables of Jesus as well. When you talk about the law she the last coin they represent something came the wedding garment those kinds of things. So I want to talk about the pitfalls of the allegorical method of Bible study because it is very easy to get a little out of control. It's easy to spiritualize truth away or stretch the truth beyond what the text says. It can also destroy the objectiveness of biblical truth. It could actually lead us to the return of the Dark Ages. Let me explain. I need to give you a little history here because this actually happened. This actually happened. I shared an example with you last night about an individual who took a lot of clean meat and said that doesn't apply to clean animals that's just talking about living sacrifice I was talking about Christians who chew the cud study the Word the poor cloven footed. These are Christians who are actually living up to the light what not well there actually happened to be a period of time before the middle ages when there was unrest in the church and maybe I need to take a step back. Greek philosophy was making inroads into the Christian movement in the early church history and Greek thinking had this thing called Greek dualism which meant that there are two realities. There is a spiritual reality which is unseen. It's in your mind and that's the perfect ideal. World and then there is the carnal or the physical manifestation of the reality that we live in now which is by definition imperfect so one illustration of this is that if you are a furniture maker you're a carpenter and you make furniture. The perfect chair making a chair the perfect chair exists only in the mind of the creator in his thinking and his mental eye and his imagination that is the true reality of the spiritual realm and whatever physical manifestation of that image is always going to be inferior because it's imperfect. It's karma sort of understand how they're thinking about this and so this kind of thinking came into the church and people started applying that to the Bible and so they said the Bible has a literal sense yes but the literal sense is unimportant. It's the higher metaphorical allegorical symbolic sense that is most important. And what started out as just there some simple ism in the Bible that we need to interpret it became everything in the Bible has a secondary or tertiary or four five six seven different interpretations and the physical the literal reading of the word is the least important and this is what happened. The church fathers the early church fathers who kept the faith they started dying off and then these new type of philosophy came in and then before long the common people would say oh I can't understand the Bible anymore because how could I possibly know which of the seven interpretations is correct. I better let the professors the priests the scholars study the Bible for me and we sort of have this idea that the Dark Ages write the Bibles. Chained to the monastery walls that did happen eventually but didn't start that way it was a lie all of a sudden one day people said OK everyone give up your Bibles were taken it was like that it was a work in the mind. People began to have their faith and scripture eroded by this kind of or not this kind of study but taking this kind of study to to an extreme where now the common person said I can't understand the Bible for myself. Someone else got to thirty for me so I don't have to interpret it and so they themselves gave up the Bible and after that the Bible is taken away because nobody reading them anyway and then they got locked away in the monasteries and so the great Protestant Reformation we think Awilda Miller with his nine five pieces and he he he nailed to the wall of like he was attacking the papacy and indulgences and he's doing all these things right like. He's bringing back justification by faith. That's what we think but that's actually not the greatest contribution of the Protestant Reformation the greatest benefit of the Protestant Reformation was reviving a literal reading of the word sola scriptura by the word alone and not Miller sorry. Martin Luther actually wrote or translated the Bible into the common language and he gave it to the people. I daresay that was the greatest contribution of the process of reformation to give the bible back to the people to say look you can read it for yourself you can understand it for yourself you do not need to understand seven or nine our own team spiritualized interpretation of the text just take the Bible as it reads. And so yes we do have symbols in the Bible. There are types. Yes but we don't want to return to the Dark Ages. And I will say this. We might not have we might not have the same issue necessarily with overly spiritualize meanings of the text as big of a problem although perhaps some of us do slip into that extreme but that's the mentality of oh I can't understand the Bible for myself. I don't know Greek and Hebrew better let the professors work those things out. That kind of thinking is just as dangerous as the period leading up to the Dark Ages. Please remember we can study the Bible for ourselves. The Bible was written for the common man practical purposes it was intended to give to give to was God's word in a form that the common person can understand. So don't be fearful. I have faith that the Lord will try to teach us as we trust in him and so I added this little thing here. Down here the great Red Dragon is just a cute little illustration I was I remember where I was I might have been in China when this happened but someone was talking to me and they said you know what the great Red Dragon is well we know what the great Red Dragon is because it explains in Revelation Chapter twelve of the old serpent Satan the Devil the accuser the brother and what not but he said you know what the great Red Dragon must be China because that's what the Chinese people call themselves the dragon. And so this is this is just a modern day illustration of what can happen if we do not follow the process of studying the Bible literally and then letting it interpret its symbols for us all right. So here I also want to give a actually what will come back to come back to it. So let's let's continue so. When we look at the Bible as a whole we realize it's composed of sixty six books and not all the books are written in the same method or the same form and so by really knowing the John of the writing it helps us identify how best to read it. OK so like Genesis Exodus yesterday in my gospels act etc and other books in the Bible there are historical narratives in other words historical stories stories I have a plot have characters actual events and I am so thankful most of the Bible is a great deal of the Bible are written in story form helps us remember God understand the frailty of the human mind and then there's the law. The numbers Deuteronomy the law and then epistles the Pauline epistles general Kissel's actually a lot of the Gospels are actually written as letters right. Restating the book of Luke and our lesson study written a letter written to three off the list right. So the pistols are just letters and then there is poetry and wisdom literature and in the prophecy major minor problem of Daniel revelation. So I want to think with you for a minute let's just take epistles as an example. Most of the New Testament written in the pistol form. Imagine if you got a letter from your sweetheart my wife or you got a letter from your boyfriend girlfriend mom dad grandma whoever got a letter how would you read it. Just read it. What are you telling me you're not going to open the letter and say I can't believe what he said in verse or chapter paragraph paragraph three and all paragraph fifteen is so beautiful man I wonder what he says in paragraph twenty. Is there anyone who would have a letter in the mail addressed to him in handwriting from someone you care about. You rip it open and you jump around. That make any sense Pauline epistles were letters. Do you think the church is Colossians Philippians affiliations Corinthians. They get a letter from from Paul and he's like Oh man let's just number all of these lines and let's just jump around and let's see what we can find out what they not actually just sit down and read to my beloved Church of Corinthians at Corinth grace the N.T. and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He just goes down did it or didn't you just read the letter. So why do we treat the Bible sometimes as like a crossword puzzle. We should read the word the word as it's written to us. Here's another example to show how the topical Bible study and the literal reading or exegetical study work together. So using this letter example again imagine that you are doing like a massive anniversary party for your parents. Let's say they have a fiftieth anniversary coming up and you as a child with your siblings want to do a very special event to commemorate fifty years of marriage for your parents and your parents allow you into their archive of their love letters that they wrote to each other all the way back through the years. How would you read those letters. You would read the letters from start to finish. At least that's how they were originally intended. But there is a place for using those historical records to identify certain elements that you want to accomplish for them. In this special anniversary party I say what is my what was a very special thing that mom loved to do with dad and you had this record of their courtship and their relationship. And you can read through topically right through the letters that identify. They did this when they were twenty five and then they did it again when they were thirty five and then forty five they say let's do this whatever activity that they really enjoy that makes sense how we ought to read the Bible do not discard the plain reading of the word and just jump straight to you know the mix and match topical stuff we want to understand the context and then overlay all of the different passages together to understand better what we're trying to accomplish so we can do that with you know a lot of the various genres of the Bible in and in the poetry a poet intends for you to read the poem in order. A poem is not chop suey where you can just pick one line out in another. We got to read it in context and read it together. All right I think that makes my point. And so let's do a couple of examples a couple of examples here. So the exegetical Bible study Genesis Chapter four four and five let's actually look there. I picked this example because Pastor Kurt actually did do the sermon last week so hopefully we still remember. Genesis Chapter four verses four and five so the exegetical study we would take a look at this passage and it says this and able. He also brought of the first things of his flock and of the fat thereof and the Lord have respect and Abel and he was offering but into Cain and he was offering he had not respecting Cain was very raw and his countenance fell. So here if we were doing an exegetical study we were simply focusing on the story. Abel brought a lamp the first things of his flock he was the keeper of the sheep. Cain did not he brought the food. The ground and then this is the sermon that Kurt priest last week. Why did God obey or why did God accept Abel's offering and not Keynes. They were both took effort right and then we answer the question by looking. Previously God had sacrificed animals to make skins with them and then the animal represented the obedience of Abel Abel obeyed Cain did not. So this exegetical study you just looking at that passage. OK And there's a lot more that we can study but that's just an example. If we move to topical study we'll say OK there was a sacrificial lamb in Genesis Genesis Chapter four vs four or five. What else does the Bible have to say about the land in X. If we have the Passover lamb and then you read the story about the passage and then landed a century service throughout the Old Testament. Religious numbers Deuteronomy and then in after you and John rather John chapter one John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. So you're tracing this topic through the Bible to find what Y. will have to teach about the doctrine of the Lamb of God and then allegorical then we go to Revelation Chapter five or six let's go there. Revelation Chapter five and verse six. Or Lucian five or six and it says and I beheld and lo in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as it had been slain. Having seven heads of stars seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. So here we see there is a lamb that spanned the lamb is standing but it looks as though it had been slain. So how does the lamb stand if it's been slain. OK that's questionable one. Having seven horns seven horns and seven eyes seven eyes this is the land for the land a seven hundred seven eyes and it looks like it's been slain but are standing up going back to what William Miller said. Does this do violence to the simple laws of nature. Have you ever seen a lamb like this must be a G.M.O. of some sort right. But the simple laws of nature. So clearly Revelation Chapter Five didn't land it got to be symbolic. It must be symbolic. So how do we know what it represents. Well guess what. Fortunately we have just done a tumble study on the lamb of God throughout the Bible and so we go to Revelation Chapter five or six. We can say oh yes I remember what the Bible had to say about the Lamb of God and the land that was slain. And then of course you have to do further topical study what the Warrens represent what the winds represent what's the. It's of seven right. That's how you do your symbolic Bible study is just one example here's another example. Let's go to Hebrews chapter eleven. He was Chapter eleven this is a little bit of ground work because this will we're going back to Hebrews in the next two sessions. But Hebrews chapter eleven verse seventeen to nineteen this is actually one of my most favorite passages of Scripture. It is it's really powerful. He was eleven verse seventeen says by faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac and he that received the promises offered up his only begotten son of whom it was said that in Isaac shall they still be called accounting that God was able to raise them up even from the dead from whence he also received him in a figure so we are doing a literal verse by verse exegetical study of this passage we will look at the rest of the book of Hebrews. The rest of the Chapter eleven of Hebrews and what. Chapter eleven if he was about. It's about faith of the stop of the things hoped for the evidence of things not seen that's verse one and then we continue on recounting the fable heroes for us scripture so exegetical e he was eleven seventeen to nineteen is simply an exposition on Abraham's faith test within the context of Paul's discourse on faith and so this is one piece of the argument is that what is faith. Let me illustrate and one of the illustrations is Abraham by faith offered up I think it's only be guns and then you can really break this down you can read through the verse and one of the most amazing things is that this is a passage in Bible which explains the thinking process of Abraham as he was sacrificing Isaac because God said Isaac is a promise on but the gods and you got to kill Isaac. So if you kill Isaac How is either going to be a problem son because he's dead. You see that you see the dilemma for Abraham you know what Abraham says in verse nineteen he simply accounted a God is able to raise up. From the day and by the way previous to this there is no record of any human resurrections. So Abraham by faith all men now understand what faith is all about when God seems to contradict himself. We just assume God is powerful enough to do the impossible to make his word come true in men as well. That's just in a nutshell exegetical study of he was eleven seventeen to nineteen. But if we do a topical study then we say we take this passage and it becomes just a component of a wider study. Let's stay on the topic of faith right. Abraham demonstrate a faith and then the Roman centurion demonstrated faith for SAR Phoenician women demonstrate a faith in the disciples Jesus says oh ye of little faith. Right you take all of these topics on faith and you can string them together to create a doctrine. OK What about obedience. This is also a component to a study on obedience. Right we can look at what obedience has the Bible to teach about obedience throughout the Bible. What about the importance of God's word. This is another component that we can include in that study and then we can do a biographical study on the life of Abraham in the life of Isaac. I want to understand what I can learn from the story of the life of Abraham or Isaac. This chapter most certainly is going to play a part in that study. These are all topical studies and of course the great controversy as a whole why did God have to permit this to happen. Why did God have to put Abraham through a test. Why did he have to ask Abraham to offer up a human sacrifice when that's what all the pagans are doing. That's another interesting point to study. An allegorical study we see here that God this is a symbol of God giving his only begotten Son that Abraham Isaac sacrificed story is an illustration because now we can relate particularly for those who are parents can relate to the heart of a father who had to sacrifice his only son. We have a better glimpse at the character of God It also illustrates how Christ took Isaac's place at the ranch on the thick of the land the ram was there. Isaac was spared. Jesus takes our place. Right that's the symbol of course if you look in the pictures and problems with one fifty five this allegorical understanding or this metaphorical illustration figurative understanding is also confirmed L.-Y. actually uses that. And so these are some examples of the three different styles or methods of Bible study art. Now I'm moving on to the second set of three things. The second set of three things here are the three basic questions that we need to ask when we start the bike and I would dare say these are the only three questions because these questions will inform us what other questions asked. These are the ones we have to remember. OK this is correspond to correspond with the three steps of Bible study and I will mention that this particularly applies to exegetical study or the literal study of the word. Because once you get that down topical study allegorical study it should come more easily. So first is sorry go back to the first question is what does this passage say what does it say and this is what I call observation. We just want to go to the text and we want to say what are the facts what is actually stated what is said what is not said how is it said To whom was the said what does this say. OK We're not trying to understand the meaning yet is just saying what are the hard what's the hard data that I can work with observation. Second step then once you find out what it says it will automatically generate questions. It will create a framework. It will create a mental image and then you ask yourself what does this passage mean. Now that I know what it says what does it mean. And there are questions to ask for that. And after we figure out what the passage means and then we apply which is what does this passage mean to me. What does it mean to us. What does it mean to you write a personal application or a collective application of might be for family what does it mean to my family. What does it mean to our church the local church. What does it mean to us. Our Worldwide Church. What does it mean to us. Their human rights right. There are many levels of application. And which of these three steps do you suppose is the most well I'm going to say most important most require the most effort for the way in which one application who says application OK who says interpretation. Who says observation who is too scared to vote. Observation as most is most important. Here's a reason why because this is the foundation. If we don't observe it we don't really get what's going on. We're going to have a wrong interpretation and if we have the wrong interpretation doesn't matter what application is applying the wrong thing. Let me give you an example. Suppose I give you I have a piece of metal up here I'm just holding this piece of metal right. You don't know what it is. In order for you to determine the proper use with the application of this piece of metal What must you do. You've got to figure out what it is. Right that's interpretation. But all three to figure out what it is you've got. Observe the facts about it. Is it heavy. Is that light does it rust. Is it sharp is it. What color is it. And so you observe it and then all of a sudden you realize oh this is a nail. You just interpret it right and then once you figure out what the nail is then you can apply are going to brush your teeth with this thing. Comb your hair. Fluff. No because now you know what it is. Same principle when you're studying the Bible. If you want to observe what the text is saying. Gather the facts. What does it mean. And generally when we say what does it mean. It's what was the original meaning intended by the author. Meaning if he was if Paul was writing to the comedians about sexual immorality in the church we have to say what is he talking about within the context what is he actually saying to the church in Corinthians. And then we say OK Given what counts only gave to this particular situation in the church at Corinth How does that apply to us in the twenty first century in America in Tennessee College Taylor and Joanne really speaking and I say generally with a grain of salt. There's one interpretation generally but that one interpretation can lead to multiple application because it might be just a nail. If it's a nail can it be anything else but the nail will be also screw would be a tooth brush would be a kite It's a nail. Right but the nail have many applications you build a house you can put up a put on a roof you can build a toy build a train you can use a nail for many things. So usually there's one app and one interpretation the primary interpretation. OK so what I will also say is that if we spend the time. If we spend the time to get our observation right. If we spend the time to get an observation right the interpretation and application generally flows quite easily if you just spend the time to gather as many facts as you can. Interpretation. It'll be like oh yeah of course not always but often. And then once you get the facts down the application is actually the fun part. That's when you sit back and say bored now what now. How do I how does this affect me. What ought I to do now. The application so let's go quickly this afternoon we're actually going to go through a passage and go through these steps. Observe interpret app apply but let me just throw a bunch of things out. I'm running out of time so I'm going to go a little bit quick here and I wish I could give you a lot more illustration but we'll see how we how we go. So observation here are some of the ways to help us gather the facts. What does this say what does this passage say here are some of the questions that we can ask. So what the John is just a letter is the wisdom literature is this a poll is this a law that was written it informs us what is being written. Who is the author writing to and by the way we are we going to ask the question who the author is right who the author is Who is he writing to who is the audience and of course we'll talk about the historical context what led to him writing it if we can figure out that the kind of information and this is very important read it multiple times. When I was a Bible teacher teaching Daniel revelation before the first day of class I tell my students read the Book of Daniel seven times before you get the class read a four read a backward reading different versions read a fast way to slow be allowed me to silently three in the morning Midianite three to seven times. And the reason for that is that it gives us that mental picture because what you want is to have the big picture in your mind so when you're reading the details it within that context. OK And I think this next one is very fascinating if you can read in a different language especially if you can read Greek and Hebrew more power to you. But even if it's other languages Korean Spanish Chinese Japanese whatever you read it in different versions or languages because sometimes different language and a different version it brings out different things. In fact in the sermon this morning it's going to that it was. Two different versions of the Bible actually helps illuminate the concepts very helpful. I'll give you another example. I actually can't read Chinese very well but enough to be dangerous. You know in John chapter one verse one right. What does it say how does John chapter one verse one begin in the beginning was the word OK. What does Genesis one once say in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth in the English language. They say the same thing in the beginning in the beginning with the word in the beginning God in the Chinese Bible the different words in the beginning in Genesis is in the beginning is just at the beginning. In John one one it actually says before the beginning was the word. That's fascinating right because in John one. Later on it actually says by him was all things mean that were me so just reading it in a different language sometimes can just give you that extra insight as you're gathering the data in your observation. Next one read widely. It's helpful to have a big picture in your mind across multiple chapters books time periods. That's also why I say read the book multiple times. OK So you want to read widely if you are studying a certain passage say John Chapter three you want to read Japers one and two and three and then four five and six to study chapter three you want to look wide you want to look narrow big concepts and the details. So we want to not lose the forest for the trees. There are details certain concepts might hinge on a certain turn of freights Jesus says that but oh there's a contrast now. Right or did it therefore So he's concluding now so we want to remember those things but we aren't. Also take a step back and realize wait a minute he's dealing with his overarching concept in these three chapters and now this fits in or he's talking to the Jewish leaders now it's time to disciples. He's talking to the masses. He's talking to the Gentiles all of these big concepts you want to remember the forest while you're investigating the trees and again that's why I want to read it multiple times. You want to outline the chapter of the book that you were studying and this sounds scary because well what if I get it wrong. Well this is for personal study. You're not trying to become you know create a new commentary of the Bible or something. Just do something that will help you get the framework of what is being said in your mind. OK And then you want to stop at each word any trace. Now you don't want to do this too much but the idea is you want to stop and you want to ask questions and that's what we're talking about here. You stop at each word each phrase so that you can notice the tenses he is the past tense here and then the very next breath this time of the future tense. Why do you do that. Expressions he says Verily verily I say unto you every time I said that something happens every time it says follow me something happens. Right expressions. Numbers right we talked a seven point seven I asked What's the significance of the number seven and then the pronouns. Here he says he and then here he says we those kinds of con contrasts can make a big difference and then you ask the basic questions Who what when where why how. Now there's a big one because it depends on the verse. Who is he talking to. Why did he say that. How was this communicated with you standing on a mountaintop shouting it with you sitting in the fisherman's boat was he on the mountainside. Was it one on one at night. How when right. Same thing with a night light of day was it on Sabbath was it not. Where did it happen why did happen. All of these kinds of questions and then notice what's stated and what's not state ask you So what is the thing what is an answer. So even last night the key verse for this weekend second of the two fifteen study to show ourselves to the work when they're needed not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of Truth. It says rightly dividing. Therefore there also must be a wrongly divide that's what we're talking about what does it say what does and not say and here's a really good one and for our personal devotional reading particularly if you are like me and you're a little groggy in the morning and you're so like just trying to wake up and you want to say the Bible but you're not able to really hit it with full gusto this is a very useful technique and I want to pause here to really talk about this because I think you'll you'll find as helpful as you're reading through the stories which the Bible is full of stories. Imagine yourself put yourself in the story as each character. OK So imagine you were there when the woman caught in adultry was thrown at Jesus' feet. Imagine yourself in that story. Imagine if you were the woman just like in your sanctified imagination zooming into her and just think how must you feel what are you wearing or not wearing. Who are you just with what must you be thinking when you hear the Jewish leaders say. Moses says that we have to stay on this one and what do you see Jesus we should do. What would you be feeling. And then when Jesus stoops down to write in the sand how would you feel that and then when Jesus looks down as does one and where than accused How would you feel that you understand how this process works and then you flip the script and you say OK Imagine if I were in. The Jewish leaders shoes. Why am I saying these things to Jesus. What I feel how would I feel if Jesus started writing my sins in the same what would be my reaction right. And then I don't mean this to be sacrilegious but just for personal devotion. Imagine yourself in Jesus' position right. If you were in a position where people were putting you between a rock and a hard place to try to trap you in your words would you react the same way. Let me just give you one example one of the most powerful insights I gained from that story was doing just that I was imagining myself in Jesus' shoes and I now have an opportunity to actually be in a position of power over someone else. But my decision you know or and there are people like watching on and I realized something very interesting is that Jesus the way that he conducted himself in that instance he was not just trying to save the woman which is how we usually interpret the story but do you realize that Jesus could have stood there and just point his fingers at each and every one of those Jewish leaders and just told them to their face in public in front of everyone there since he could have done that. But he did it. He wrote it in the sand and we are told in the spirit of prophecy that the Holy Spirit convicted the minds of the Jewish leaders and one by one from the oldest to the youngest they left. But Jesus preserved their dignity because guess what. If you publicly humiliate that person one of the likelihood of that person coming back to repent to you later. But if you show mercy in preserving their dignity by but yet not compromising on sin. That's what Jesus teaches us is not powerful. It's not just the truth. The story that Jesus can forgive but how does he do it. Jesus amazing. So this is how you can do it imagine yourself in the story as each character personal Bible study personal devotional study powerful you ever wonder how can I spend possibly spend more than ten minutes reading the Bible while you do this a few times and you'll be like man I'm only down to like the third of the twelve disciples in the story how am I going to I'm going to finish in time before school starts or something. All right so continuing we want to get the historical context of the situation whenever possible we'll talk about context in just a minute we want to resist the urge to jump to conclusions we want to paraphrase a passage in your own words and then we want to be mindful in context all of these things are important. So two types of context because context I talk about a lot. We might as well throw this out there. Literary context the words the context within the text itself and then the cultural or historical context the circumstances of the culture history of of the surrounding event. So how do you get the context this is the concentric circles of context you want to start with the verses that are immediately surrounding the verse you're looking at and they move out to the surrounding chapters. OK After you move out the surrounding chapter you go to the related books now or later books may or may not be the books right next to that I give is the gospels Yes they're all related. But let's say it is the Book of Acts. The related books might be the fusions which is downwards because Paul wasn't a fusions or emphasis might be a book of Philippians really Philippians and you go back and you look at the story of what happened to Paul and Philip and you realize oh wait a minute he converted the Philippian jailer so when he was writing the book to the Philippi and the jailer was probably in the audience listening to what Paul wrote and so when he says Rejoice evermore you know. Circumstances rejoice all of a sudden and gives a new context to the flippin jailor remember that Paul was praying and singing hymns and midnight with his feet and started his back lacerated context historical context and then also the context of the Bible and after that he'd look at the spirit prophecy and then other writings other books and here I just summarize it nearby verses we don't have time but Isaiah twenty eight nine and ten is a common verse read verse ten but verse nine actually interprets what that verse means. Nearby chapters down eight or nine and Daniel Chapter nine we see seventy weeks are cut off with people so he was cut off from what you go back today in Chapter eight tells us it was twenty three hundred days seventy weeks are cut off of that and in the related books related books can be relayed by genre or by author or by history. So the book of Acts the book of Philippians related through history Pauline epistles Corinthians. Obviously first and second Corinthians but also fusions kolache and Romans were not related by author Jeremiah lamentations related by author Daniel revelation related by John wrote and then the book of John and the Book of Revelation. Very interesting related by the author of The Book of John actually was written after the book of Revelation was written by John of Patmos. If you tell the revelation he says wait a minute and you write another gospel to fill in some of the holes about this Jesus that I'm trying to write a revelation about interesting context. Other books of the Bible Speer prophecy in the non inspired sources like commentaries dictionaries to store books and so forth and so we're winding down here. So the interpretation of what we're trying to figure out the big question is what was author trying to communicate to his or her audience what does it mean. Alright so we take the facts that were gleaned from observation and we synthesize them together. If this then this then this then this. What does that mean. We seek to answer questions that arise from observation we want and we don't want to roam beyond the facts that are observed. I don't want to jump the application too quickly and also this is where the principles of interpretation by William Miller is very very helpful and no scriptures of any private interpretation this is second Peter one. So Enfin doubts the mid to broaden of experience so we end up with interpretation whereas I wote this is really far out there. Don't just think oh this must be true. There is a place for the church a community of believers. Goethe seek a brother of experience a pastor or an elder or someone who has studied the Bible before and say hey this is what I came up with. What do you think it's called humility. Very important ingredient in our Christian experience and then we come to application we want to look for universal principles to apply not some random detail right it's not like oh OK well since I read that little was maker of purple I must wear purple to church today. Right that's that's not that's a random detail right. Finding application for yourself a devotional study will be different than for others again this is why I'm saying application there can be multiple applications. But based on the same interpretation application can vary depending on your current experience this is the beauty of Bible study. When you're in college going to read the certain Bible stories and you're like wow that is exactly what I need and then later on when you're married with kids why not you come back and read that same passage you know I won't. It has a new application that I never thought of before. Right this is what I mean the Bible is a living the Living Word and remember that the Bible teaches not only the doctoral information but also the manner in which we portray present them so that just by what I explain about Jesus you know preserving the dignity of the Jewish leaders when they were accusing the woman so the summit today just two sets of three things freestyle The Bible study exegetical study topical study allegorical study and then the only three question we need. Ask what does it say what does it mean and what does it mean to me so this afternoon we will be coming back to these things to better understand how we can apply them to ourselves. So let's pray as we conclude now. Father in heaven we thank you for that you have given us your word that is sharper than any two edged sword and Lord may we be faithful in our interpretation may we not seek to place our own desires into your work. But to look for what you have to say to us may we be disciplined in our mind it would be humble. We have faith in me we obeyed that we came to be with us remember the Sabbath and guide the proceeding meetings in the next hour as well as this afternoon. We pray to Jesus this media was brought to you by Adil purse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about our universe or if you would like to listen to more servant leaders A W W W dot audio Verse dot org.


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