The Bible

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”  Ronald Reagan

"Sin will keep you from this Book or this Book will keep you from sin"   D.L. Moody

"A thorough understanding of the BIBLE is better than a college education"   Theodore Roosevelt

"Here then, is the real problem of our negligence.  We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work.  Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy."   R.C. Sproul

The most important resource you will ever have as a Christian is the Bible. With the numerous evidences indicated earlier, It truly has proven to be  the Inspired Word of God.  Nothing else is inspired of God.  All of the information and websites included in this guide and all of the reasoning and arguments indicated here are provided to increase your confidence in the Bible and the God of the Bible, and to be enable you to respond to challenges you encounter.  While all of these resources are helpful, only the verses listed throughout the guide are the actual Inspired Word of God. 

 

The information in this guide is important for that purpose and for the purpose of us helping to break down the barriers others have to accepting the truths of Christianity, accepting the Bible, and making the decision to accept Christ’s payment for their sin.  This guide and other resources are not the Bible and they should not replace your time in God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Notice, it doesn’t say, “All Christian Websites and Apologetics Guides”, etc. are God-breathed, but “All Scripture.” You will also notice the emphasis on "every good work".  Not many or most good works, but every good work.

This link will take you to additional verses about the importance of Scripture in each our lives.

All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial

www.allabouttruth.org/all-scripture-is-inspired-of-god-and-beneficial-faq.htm

 

The Bible is God’s love letter to us.  He wants us to know Him and to know how much He loves us.  Since the Bible is the only work that has come to us specifically from God, it is the primary source of information about Him.  If we are to know him, we need to go to where the most accurate information about Him can be found, and that has been, is, and always will be the Bible.

Bible Study Tools: Where to Start

https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/bible-study/bible-study-tools/

I bring up the importance of keeping the Bible as your primary authority, because when we are learning evidences and arguments, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of discovering the information, and it is exciting when we get a glimpse into the glory of God, as when first finding out about the immensity of the Universe through seeing something like the Hubble Deep Field picture.  We realize that God is far greater then we can possibly imagine!

It is easy to find the search for apologetic information or similar endeavor becoming our priority.  In the case of apologetics the primary desire becomes wanting to learn more evidences and arguments, and not spending time in God’s Word.  I know this can happen because it happened to me.  Learning evidences and arguments is important, but don’t let it replace your time in the Word. 

 

Related to the 2 Timothy passage above indicating "so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" , part of the "good work" is that we will sin less.  The great quote above from Dwight L. Moody, a great evangelist of the 1800's, illustrates this: 

"The Bible will keep you from sin,

or sin will keep you from the Bible".

 

The links to the tools below should enable you to improve your reading and study of God’s Word.  In addition to these tools, there are many apps you can download for your phone.

As 2 Timothy 2:15 indicates below, studying the Bible needs to be your primary source for Bible truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."

 

The importance of reading and studying the Bible cannot be overstated!  The Study component to our learning the accurate meaning is critically important!  There are some who will read without studying, and completely misunderstand a passage.  This Is usually due to taking a single passage and not considering all the information in the paragraph and chapter the verse is found.  The impact of taking a verse out of context can be significant.

Surveys are finding that there is a crisis of illiteracy of the Bible, not only in our country at large, but even in the churches as well, as indicated by the 2 links below.  The teacher of a Bible class I took made the following comments.

"If we don't read the Bible, we can't truly know the Bible. 

If we don't know the Bible, we won't know correct doctrine. 

If we don’t know correct doctrine, we won’t recognize bad doctrine and teaching when we hear it."

 

Biblical Illiteracy in US at Crisis Point, Says Bible Expert

www.christianpost.com/news/biblical-illiteracy-in-us-at-crisis-point-says-bible-expert-121626/

The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches

www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/july/epidemic-of-bible-illiteracy-in-our-churches.html

 

Illiteracy when dealing with the Bible will cause us to have misconceptions as to what the Bible says and teaches.  Unfortunately with the epidemic of illiteracy, even in the church, there are many misconceptions as to what the Bible says and teaches, even by Christians.  One saying that illustrates this is a saying that has been repeated for over 200 years, is attributed to Benjamin Franklin and is incorrectly believed to be a teaching in the Bible.  You might have even heard it yourself.  The saying is:

“God helps those who help themselves”

 

The following is a link that gives the history of this saying as well as the actual teaching of the Bible on this misunderstanding.

God helps those who help themselves - is it in the Bible?

www.gotquestions.org/God-help-themselves.html

 

Here are a few additional links showing “verses” many people have thought are in the Bible:

5 Verses You Thought Were in the Bible… but Aren't

www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/inside-bst/5-verses-you-thought-were-in-the-bible-but-aren-t.html

10 Popular Bible 'Verses' That Aren't Actually in the Bible

www.christianpost.com/buzzvine/10-popular-bible-verses-that-arent-actually-in-the-bible-104088/#gfyLWuX6b1ZYMOPe.99

 

The following links show many of the misconceptions about the Bible and what it teaches which are held by people.  Again, if you are not familiar with the accurate teachings of the Bible, you are potentially open to believe teachings you are told are of the Bible but in actuality are not.  

 

Common Misconceptions about Christianity

www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/misconceptions-about-christianity

Common Misconceptions About the Christian Life

http://christianity.about.com/od/newchristians/a/misconceptions.htm

Bible Misconceptions: Test Your Knowledge

http://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/bible-misconceptions-test-your-knowledge/

The Eight Biggest Myths About The Bible

http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/06/the-eight-biggest-myths-about-the-bible/

Top 10 Misconceptions About The Bible

http://listverse.com/2008/04/20/top-10-misconceptions-about-the-bible/

6 Myths About The Bible That Hinder Our Relationship With God

http://frankpowell.me/myths-bible-hinder-relationship-god

 

 

The above links primarily infer that the misconceptions indicated are held by many non-Christians.  The truth is, many Christians believe many of these misconceptions as well.  As indicated above, misconceptions come about through reading just a single verse and not the surrounding verses.  This leads to reading the verse out of context and misunderstanding the meaning.

I was privileged to hear Greg Koukl speak on this topic.  His presentation is called, Never Read a Bible Verse, and he indicated some of the verses that Christians usually have misconceptions about.  He indicated that if he could only give one message to a person or group, Never Read a Bible Verse is the most important message he could give.  Once you read Greg’s article, you will appreciate the wording Greg chose for the title.

Never Read a Bible Verse – Greg Koukl

www.str.org/articles/never-read-a-bible-verse

Never Read a Bible Verse! By Greg Koukl

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpuUId7VU1U

Never Read a Bible Verse

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz7bXfOPcO4

A full length teaching by the YouTube channel ClearThinkingChristianity,using Greg Koukl’s study on the topic.

Never Read a Bible Verse - 25 page booklet by Greg Koukl

http://storage.cloversites.com/fellowshipbaptistchurch2/documents/Never%20Read%20a%20Bible%20Verse.pdf

Greg gives an example in his Never Read a Bible Verse presentation and same titled article which illustrates this.  At a church he was giving a presentation at, Greg was told about a woman in the congregation who was looking for a justification to leave her husband and start a relationship with another man she was now interested in.  She happened upon Ephesians 4:24 in her King James Version Bible and claimed it as her answer:

Ephesians 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man" (KJV)

This woman chose to take this single verse as the answer from God, that she divorce or leave her husband and partner with this other man.  Do you think she might have dismissed some other verses speaking on the subject?  What about Exodus 20:14?  Could this be a verse she chose to ignore?

Exodus 20:14 "Thou shall not commit adultery" (KJV)

So, what does the Ephesians passage mean?  What are tools we can use to give us a high confidence that we are understanding the correct meaning of this passage, as well as other passages?

One basic tool is which Bible translation we use.  How does the Ephesians passage read in the King James Version (KJV) when compared to the English Standard Version (ESV)?

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man  (KJV)

Ephesians 4:24  and to put on the new self  (ESV)

With the KJV version, the impression could be that it is referring to a person other than ourselves, as was understood by the woman.  Reading the verse in the ESV, a more recent and more accurate translation, the strong impression is more clearly a new version of ourselves.

Greg’s principal of Never Read a Bible Verse resolves most misunderstandings about the meaning of a verse.  Greg’s emphasis is to never read A bible verse.  Always read a section of verses, the verses before and the verses after a verse in question.

When we see the Ephesians verse in the context of the verses around it, we see far more clearly the actual meaning.

Ephesians 4:21-25 (ESV) But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Greg uses the illustration of a conversation to illustrate how we should read the Bible.  When you walk by a group of friends and hear only a part of their conversation, and it sounds interesting, what do you do?  You ask “What are you talking about?”  You want to know the context so that the comment makes sense.  This is what we need to do with the Bible.  The usage of a single verse to justify a teaching is called proof-texting.  While some verses like Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." can be understood by itself, others like the King James version of Ephesians 4:24 "Put on the new man" are not.

The Perils of Proof-Texting and How to Avoid Them

www.str.org/Media/Default/Publications/October%201999%20-1.pdf

 

There are different methods we can use to read and study the Bible.  Reading does not go in depth like studying will, but is important to see the overall theme and importance of main sections.  While there are benefits to any reading or studying, the drawback is that to only read or only study misses some of the benefit of the other.  What is most important in reading and studying the Bible is not how much we can eventually know about the, but that we are changed by the Bible.  I heard a saying that illustrates this:  

"God is interested in getting the Bible through you more than He is in you getting through the Bible"

It is important that our motivation to study and read be to be changed by God, not just to know more.

One method of reading the Bible I heard John MacArthur mention, that I didn't specifically see referenced in the links below, is to read one of the smaller books of the Bible in full every day for 30 days.  If a larger book, break it into 8-10 chapter sections and read one of the sections every day for 30 days. This will give a great understanding of the theme and details of that book. 

 

A good way to start with a new book and to get the overall theme of that book is to use the videos from the Bible Project.

The Bible Project

www.youtube.com/user/jointhebibleproject

Overview series of the Bible with creative and very effective animations.

 

In studying the Bible, there are two popular methods.  The first is to study through a passage and/or chapter and the second is to study a topic.  The benefit of studying through an entire section is that you gain a better understanding of the culture and time of that section so that you gain a more accurate understanding of the passage and what God wants us to learn.  The benefits of topical study is that you learn that topic in a much more complete way.  Similar to the Salvation sections I included in this resource guide providing a much better understanding of Salvation than the individual  verses at different locations throughout the guide. 

Our church uses a combined method teaches this way, and our Pastor Chris Johnson is a real blessing to our understanding.  Go to the following link to access the sermons for 2018.  Links to other years and series are at the left of the page

www.gclancaster.com/media/180020553/dlyear/2018

 

The following links will provide you with great information toward reading and studying your Bible

Extensive Collection of links to Bibles, Bible Apps, and Audio Bibles

https://biblesfree.org

BIBLE READING

Bible Reading

www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan

www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=esv

Bible Reading Plans for 2019

www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans

Bible Reading Plans

www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans

Welcome to Bible Plan!

https://bibleplan.org

The Bible Project - Overview series of the Bible with creative and very effective animations.

www.youtube.com/user/jointhebibleproject

 

Chuck Missler Learn the Bible in 24 hours

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ3hESj__M8&list=PLmn_om4zPdL9LCw8lvyDfApEEqSheenkm

ONLINE BIBLES AND STUDY TOOLS

Blue Letter Bible

www.blueletterbible.org

Olive Tree Bible

www.olivetree.com

Net Bible

https://netbible.org

 

BIBLE MEMORIZATION

The Challenge to Bible Memory

www.pursuinglife.com/biblememory.php

Scripture Memorization

www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/tips/scripture-memorization-11634857.html

MemVerse.com

www.memverse.com

BIBLE STUDY

Grace Chapel Bible Institute – Grace Chapel’s excellent Bible Class!  This is a college level course meeting once a week over 2 years.  You don't need to go to college, and is the best Bible class I’ve ever taken!

This first link is and introduction to the course:

Grace Chapel Bible Institute

www.gclancaster.com/page/180020553/180106236/Grace-Chapel-Bible-Institute

This second link lists all the classes and provides links to download the audio and handout from each class:

Grace Chapel Bible Institute Class Resources

www.gclancaster.com/page/180020553/180111253/Grace-Chapel-Bible-Institute-Class-Resources

Understand How to Study the Bible

http://bibleresources.org/how-to-study-bible

Bible Study Tools: Where to Start

https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/bible-study/bible-study-tools/

31 Online Resources for Bible Research (Links)

www.credocourses.com/blog/2015/31-online-resources-for-bible-research-links/

Bible Study

www.biblestudy.org    

Bible Study Lessons    

http://biblestudylessons.com

Bible Study Tools

www.biblestudytools.com

The Open Bible - Topical

www.openbible.info/topics

Free-Bible-Studies

www.free-bible-study.org/bible-study-links.html

Got Questions - Over 500,000 questions about the Bible

www.gotquestions.org

FREE (or almost free) BIBLE STUDY SOFTWARE

Logos Bible Study

www.logos.com

E-Sword

https://e-sword.net

Olive Tree

www.olivetree.com

The Word

www.theword.net

Bible Ocean

www.bibleocean.com

​FREE ONLINE BIBLE/THEOLOGY Degee and Certificated

Biblical Training - Certificated of Biblical Studies

www.biblicaltraining.org - (some programs certificated)

"I cannot commend the venture too highly.”

Dr. J. I. Packer

Trinity Theological Seminary - Degree programs

http://thefishersofmenministries.com/Trinity%20Theological%20Seminary-Free%20Online%20Theological%20Seminary.htm

"Students fulfilling the undergraduate curriculum will graduate with Bachelor of  Biblical Studies and  receive Ordination"

Trinity School - Tuition Free Distance Bible School

www.trinitytheology.org

Free online courses: Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates

Additional Links

God’s Promises in the Bible

www.intouch.org/you/gods-promises

www.smilegodlovesyou.org/promises.html

www.365promises.com

www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/gods-promises.aspx

Devotionals

www.devotionalsforteens.blogspot.com

www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/

 

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