Bible Study Rules
This article offers principles and rules for Bible study that, if applied, will lead to much deeper studies and a proper grasp of Biblical doctrine.
The Bible boldly claims that all its words are directly inspired by an almighty God who created all things (2Timothy 3:16). Although some scriptures seem to contradict each other, on closer examination and study, the apparent discrepancies are explainable.
The New Testament scriptures are no more important nor do they have more authority than the Old Testament scriptures. Anyone who states that a person need only to live by PART of Scripture (e.g. just the New Testament) is WRONG. The doctrines supported by the New Testament simply cannot be understood unless they are firmly built upon what the Old Testament teaches.
Sound doctrine is line upon line
God's word is not like a topical book where all the information on a particular subject is in one place. Like a puzzle, a correct understanding of doctrine comes only when ALL the pieces related to the topic being studied are put together to form a whole (Isaiah 28:10). False teachings occur, in part, when only a few selected pieces of Scripture determine a conclusion. The apostle Paul encouraged his young evangelist friend Timothy to "rightly divide" the Scriptures in order to insure the truth is taught (2Timothy 2:15).
Personal opinions do not matter
Personal opinions, no matter how strongly held or emotionally supported, do not constitute divine truth (2Peter 1:20). Many false prophets rely on charisma, the authoritative way in which they speak and emotional reasoning to push their false teachings. It is almost as if they believe the adage "When in doubt, shout!" In order to come to the truth of God in our Bible studies, we must be aware of our own emotional biases and be honest enough to admit a belief is wrong when we discover its foundation comes more from opinion than facts.
The truth must be proven
The Bible calls on us to PROVE what is true (1Thessalonians 5:21). Proving what the word of God teaches is a lifelong endeavor. Like the Bereans, we must be willing to constantly search the Scriptures to either validate or refute what we believe (Acts 17:11). It is God's will that we PROVE what is his good, acceptable, and perfect will (Romans 12:2).